Ben Peoples Industries, LLC
It was insanely easy and it was really, really open. Whenever I’ve had to deal with loans and credit going through banks, I always feel there’s a ton that I don’t know happening…(The Progress Fund) was able to sort of walk me through what was happening, and walk me through why things were the way they were.
Ben Peoples cut his teeth in theatrical lighting, but he’d never worked with this kind of performance space. “There was a stage,” he says. “There was either carpet or mirrors on all of the walls.” The building he was eyeing, it turned out, had been a strip club. He wanted to turn it into an electronics assembly line. Problem: It didn’t cost enough. “Our acquisition and renovation of this building was actually so small that we wouldn’t have made sense to a big bank.”
One of those banks referred Ben to The Progress Fund, which loan $67,900. That was most of what Ben needed to buy and renovate the building–including carpet and mirror removal.
Ben’s firm builds control and monitoring systems for lighting and other electronic functions, often working on public art projects, theatrical and corporate events, or buildings with playful “architainment” features. “We are pretty actively competing in a very small niche of an insanely large market,” he says. He grew out of his rented space on South Side, and North Braddock offered him room to expand. And what did he offer the community? He renovated a property that was “overgrown and dilapidated,” says Ben. “My neighbor across the street came out and applauded when we took the strip club sign down.”View Story as PDF