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Tom

Sue's Garden

North Little Rock, AR

[Image]
Personal Story

My name is Tom Gillihan. My wife, Sue, and I were raised in Newport Arkansas (Sue 10 miles north in Tuckerman) and we were married February 26th, 1965. I acquired a small sawmill and operated it until it was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1966. I then went to work for Missouri Pacific Rail Road until I retired in 1995, and Sue worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone until we had our two children. Our daughter, Susan, was born in 1972 and our son, Todd, followed in 1974. Susan is married now and we have a wonderful grandson, Sam, to spoil.

We bought and sold timber for several years and had an opportunity to buy a kiln and lumber business in 1999. I also began to supply customers in the archery industry with the specific hardwoods that their trade requires. We did very well until my son and I were in a car wreck and I ended up in and out of the hospital for about two years with complications from staph infection. Over that time the business suffered and we had to declare bankruptcy.

We love the area in Central Arkansas where we live. Not only has it been our home for over forty years, but our children also live here and we love being close to them. Our home is also an excellent area for Sue’s Garden to thrive because of the vibrant Farmers Markets and the demand for our produce at the grocery stores and restaurants.

Sue and I are extremely happy to have our home, our children and grandson close to home, and a very fulfilling business in Sue’s Garden.

Business Description

Our interest in gardening started on a small scale at the Pulaski County garden center in 2005 in Little Rock. We rented a 50’-50’ plot and planted mostly tomatoes. I researched tomatoes and decided the carbon heirloom tomatoes had a superb taste. For the next two years we doubled our plots each year and were selling at area farmers markets. Our bigger customers were owners of the top restaurants in the area.

We rented two acres from a gentleman we were acquainted with and filled that area with carbon tomatoes and vegetables. We expanded our operation into larger grocery stores and restaurants. They were excited to get the carbon heirlooms and fresh vegetables. The area we live in supports the heirlooms vegetables that we are growing very well.

In 2010, our garden was sprayed with a chemical drifting from a neighbor's pasture spraying Grazon P+D. We had 5000 heirloom tomato plants planted and it destroyed everything. Then in 2011, we replanted our garden and the area had a 100 year flood on May 3rd that destroyed everything. After the water receded we replanted again and realized that our tomatoes would not grow in the soil because Grazon P+D was residual in the soil.

We now grow our tomatoes at other locations, as well as peppers and other fruits and vegetables. We have steadily increased our customer base since the flood, finding additional acreage as we have needed it. For the coming season we have received increased orders from our existing customers and have commitments from a new large grocery customer.

We do not use chemicals in our operation, only organic sprays and organic fertilizers. This has always been very important to us not only for ourselves and our grandson’s health but ultimately the customer’s health as well. Hopefully, the farmers in the United States will realize the damage chemicals can do to our health and put more emphasis on not using chemicals and also on better soil balance.

What is the purpose of this loan?

Seeds $500
Fertilizer $2,000
Plastic mulch $3,000
Drip tape $2,000
Fuel $1,500
Labor $1,000

We expect to double our sales, with new customers that have already committed to us. It will enable us to stop using the credit card debt that we have used to finance our operations in previous years.

Tom's loan is endorsed by Central Arkansas New Agrarian Society (CANAS). The information below explains why his trustee thinks Tom is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

1 year - 3 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Tom has been a market farmer in several local markets for many years. He has recently attempted to scale up production to sell at retail markets throughout the city such as Whole Foods. We've helped Tom several ways in the past by helping to find berry pickers as well as by streamlining orders from retail operations like Whole Foods, which have been heavy purchasers of Tom's quality produce.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Tom is one of the savviest farmers we've ever come across. He's sharp as a tack and an extremely good salesman. He's got strong business skills and his growth is the best example of his abilities to produce and deliver. That being said, Tom has had trouble securing capital to grow his business to meet his sales potential. The market is hungry for more berries, tomatoes, row crops, and anything else Tom can produce. He needs Kiva to achieve these goals and prove highly profitable!

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Sharp accounting and invoicing practices, Tom is a tech-savvy farmer who's business is run off his handy iPhone. He has a proven record and established customer base that yearns for more produce; a loan to Tom could really help him meet that potential.

106 Total
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PAYING BACK

A loan of $10,000 helps me to plant a larger crop to satisfy the demand of our expanding customer base.

Disbursed Apr 11, 2013
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Mar 14, 2013
Disbursed:
Apr 11, 2013
Paying Back:
Apr 12, 2013

About Sue's Garden

Industry:
Agriculture
Years in Operation:
More than 5 years
Badges:
Badge_connectedness_bronze_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Location:
Little Rock, AR
Badges:
Badge_repayment_silver_small
On Zip Since:
Mar 14, 2013
(13 months)
Loans Endorsed:
5
Total Value:
$40,000
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
5
Paying Back Late:
0
Repaid in Full:
0
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
100%
Why are you endorsing Tom?

Tom is one of the savviest farmers we've ever come across. He's sharp as a tack and an extremely good salesman. He's got strong business skills and his growth is the best example of his abilities to produce and deliver. That being said, Tom has had trouble securing capital to grow his business to...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.
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