LAKEWOOD-AgriAmerica Owner Eric Huddy’s interest in restoring the County’s grape market paid dividends as the County IDA authorized an Al Tech Loan Revolving Loan Fund and a Chautauqua Revolving Loan for the company with a 5-0 vote Tuesday morning during a meeting at Classman Brass on Stoneman Circle.
A revolving loan fund (RLF) is a gap financing measure primarily used for development and expansion of small businesses. It is a self-replenishing pool of money, utilizing interest and principal payments on old loans to issue new ones.
The Al Tech Loan is worth $440,000 over 20 years, with annual payments to be made at 4% interest. Huddy said his company plans on purchasing and recommissioning a recently closed down grape juice factory in Fredonia, and many will reap the benefits.
AgriAmerica’s Chautauqua Revolving Loan is worth $75,000.
“This will certainly help several farmers,” Huddy said. “We project that 50-75 farmers in Chautauqua County would feel the benefits of this project.”
AgriAmerica is also budgeted to receive over $700,000 in funds from the WNY Redevelopment Economic Council per Huddy.
The president said the company does not intend to compete with other Chautauqua County juice manufacturing businesses.
“No, this isn’t going to compete with (other juice manufacturing businesses),” Huddy said. “We are going after a high-level kosier market, which represents just three percent of the entire grape juice market.
Jamestown Community College President and CCIDA Board Member Cory Duckworth asked how Huddy believes the kosier market will grow.
“Based on what our customers are telling us, they’ve been growing throughout the years,” Huddy said. “They’re at the point now, however, that they can’t produce.”
“It’s also a promising sign that they’ve (the customers) committed to long-term contracts.”
Huddy said he’s received report from various groups region wide.
“We do have significant support with this project,” Huddy said. “We’ve had local farmers. We’ve had support from organizations like the NY Farm Net. We’ve also had support from various town council members, county legislators, State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator Cathy Young.”
AgriAmerica, LLC is a company located on Rt. 20 in Silver Creek. Huddy is a founding partner & Managing Member of AgriAmerica, LLC . He worked as an intern, developing and operating experimental vineyard equipment for Cornell University’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program.
Huddy received a degree in Agricultural Engineering with a minor emphasis in Agricultural Business from Alfred State College in 1990. He’s also served as President of the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau and Chairman of Farm Bureau’s Grape Committee.
Huddy and Richard Jozwiak formed the present partnership in 2004, and both men moved the business into its current location in 2013.
NOTE: For more information regarding the company’s history, please visit its website, agriamericallc.com