Housing Authority spearheads loan program for minority businesses

Tieraney McFadden, shown preparing salads for her “Chopped by T” small business in 2020, is one of the first recipients of a loan through the People’s Opportunity Program for Underserved Populations that was started by the Housing Authority of Bowling Green.

Formerly home to a branch of the Warren County Public Library, a Housing Authority of Bowling Green-owned building at 305 Graham Drive can now move forward with plans to house two businesses.

The Warren County Board of Adjustments, in a meeting held via Zoom video conference Feb. 11, approved the Housing Authority’s application for a conditional-use permit to operate retail businesses on the property that is zoned multi-family residential.

Plans call for Tieraney McFadden to move her home-based “Chopped by T” salad-making business to the site, along with the “A Taste of Sunshine” bakery enterprise owned by Kira Bolling.

McFadden and Bolling were the first two recipients of low-interest business loans awarded through a new Housing Authority initiative called People’s Opportunity Program for Underserved Populations (POP-UP).

The entrepreneurs have each received $10,000 loans at 2 percent interest through the POP-UP program, and both hope to begin operations this spring.

Bolling’s business specializes in cupcakes of all flavors, cupcakes-in-a-jar that can be refrigerated and giant cupcakes that can feed a dozen or more people.

Created when the coronavirus pandemic limited McFadden’s work as a medical assistant, Chopped by T creates custom-made salads and delivers them throughout Bowling Green.

The Board of Adjustments also approved a waiver that will allow a Houchens Industries-owned property on Scottsville Road to advertise its unique mix of businesses with an outsized sign.

Houchens got the OK to put up a sign that will be 180.4 square feet, exceeding the maximum sign face area of 150 square feet, in order to bring more attention to what the company described in its application as “a combination of three distinct brands and businesses under one roof.”

The property at 1851 Scottsville Road will soon be home to a Crossroads Express convenience store that is under construction along with Bowling Green’s first Slim Chickens restaurant and a Shell gas station that will include two electric vehicle charging stations.

It will be among the first EV charging stations for Shell, which has announced plans to develop 500,000 electric vehicle charging locations by 2025.

The Slim Chickens restaurant will be the first in Bowling Green for the Arkansas-based fast-casual chain that specializes in chicken tenders and wings.

Russell Barton, fuel department director for Houchens, said the employee-owned company plans to open at least one more Slim Chickens in Bowling Green.

He defended the oversized sign, saying: “We’re trying to build a very presentable location, but we’re trying to let people know what we’re offering.”

Also approved at the Feb. 11 meeting was a conditional-use permit that will allow Smyrna Ready Mix Concrete to operate a concrete batch plant on a 4.94-acre site at 407 Plum Springs Loop.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.