Local Business Reacts to Ashley Furniture Loans

By Ashley McNamee

December 15, 2010 Updated Dec 15, 2010 at 9:09 PM CDT

The city of Peoria voted to give Ashley Furniture a $150,000 loan Tuesday night, but that is only half the battle.

The store is hoping to receive an additional $150,000 in business development fund loans from Peoria County.

The county says it is not ready to vote on loaning Ashley furniture the money.

UFS Downtown Outlet received similar loans in 2002 to expand the store on Southwest Adams.

One of the owners says he understands using the loans to attract new businesses to Peoria, but thinks the city should be most concerned with making money right now and investing responsibly.

"We were making a $2 million investment in a community south of downtown that many would never make than kind of investment in. So, a loan like that for someone who has our track record of over 40 years of business in this one location, I think that is good," said Pierre Serfin. "Somebody coming in from out of town, I hope they have a good track record too."

UFS, like Ashley, has 10 years to pay off the loan. Serfin says they are pretty close to paying it off completely.

County Administrator Patrick Urich says they are still reviewing the documentation and it could be voted on as early as Jan. 13.

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