The Italian word Amica means good friends, and the store of the same name was a favorite of pals Annie Urban and Mamie Caldwell Garver. When they learned that its owner sought to sell, the two jumped at the chance. The store’s financials were good. Anne, a marketing pro, and Mamie, a teacher, had great credit scores. “It was like, ‘We want it, and we are going to buy it,’” said Anne.
Not so fast. When the two approached banks for financing, they found a problem. The 15-year-old well established store operated in rented space, lacking a deed with which to collateralize a loan. “The banks didn’t want to touch us,” says Annie. “Thank goodness for The Progress Fund.” The Progress Fund loaned them $55,000.
Amica, with its mix of home accents, women’s accessories, bath goods and unique gifts, has been a steady draw for Ligonier’s compact and close-knit shopping and dining district. Attrition of longtime store owners has hurt some towns, but transfers like the sale of Amica to Annie and Mamie bode well for Ligonier. “I can’t tell you,” says Mamie, “how many people have come in here and said, ‘We’re so happy that you girls bought the store. We would have hated to see it leave the community.’”View Story as PDF »