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October 11, 2013, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli, NYBDC Announce $50,000 Loan to 5th Avenue Chocolatiere

$4 Million Available in Small Business Loans for Military Veterans

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York Business Development Corp. (NYBDC) CEO Pat MacKrell today announced a $50,000 loan to 5th Avenue Chocolatiere, a fine chocolate distributor owned by an Iraq War Veteran. The funding comes from a small business loan program for military veterans supported by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund).

“When small business owners are in the military and are called to active duty, their businesses often face obstacles,” DiNapoli said. “The veteran loan program helps ease the financial hardships resulting from deployment and provides veteran-owned businesses the capital to expand and thrive. Military families have sacrificed much for our country. This is the least we can do to show our appreciation.”

In 2007, DiNapoli and NYBDC announced the availability of $5 million in competitively priced fixed-rate small business loans for returning military veterans. New York business owners who serve in the Guard or Reserve, or honorably discharged former active duty members may apply, through the NYBDC, for small business loans up to $150,000. Loans may be used for existing businesses or start-ups.

The program has made 14 loans totaling $1,092,500 to small businesses owned by veterans in Erie, Onondaga, Ontario, Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess and Albany counties.

5th Avenue Chocolatiere, a 40-year-old family-run business with more than 20 employees, has been in operation since 1973 and has locations in New York City and on Long Island. The company’s chocolates are also sold in Japan.

Since receiving the NYBDC loan, 5th Avenue Chocolatiere has opened Chocolate Works, a 10,000 square foot interactive chocolate factory and retail shop located in the village of Valley Stream in Nassau County that hosts private parties and workshops.

“The loan from the New York State Common Retirement Fund and NYBDC made it possible for my company to purchase a state-of-the-art production facility, which serves as command center for our
12 franchise locations," said Joseph Whaley, Iraq War veteran and West Point graduate, and CEO of Chocolate Works and 5th Avenue Chocolatiere. “In the coming months, we anticipate adding hundreds of jobs as we increase our exports and continue to make Chocolate Works a household name.”

“Access to capital drives the growth of small business which in turn creates economic opportunity across New York,” said NYBDC CEO Pat MacKrell. “Our veterans have served our country under difficult and often life-threatening circumstances. We are proud to recognize their contributions and express the gratitude of our member banks by offering this loan program. This would not be possible without the strong support of the Common Retirement Fund and the insightful leadership of Comptroller DiNapoli.”

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has allocated $400 million to be used for loans for New York State-based small businesses through NYBDC since 1987. NYBDC makes loans to small businesses for working capital, equipment or real property. NYBDC has made $324 million in loans to more than 1,000 small businesses around the state.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has increased the total amount of funds available to NYBDC by $100 million. The program has granted loans to small businesses in all 62 counties and helped businesses across the state retain or create more than 20,000 jobs.

About the Common Retirement Fund
The $160.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from state and local governments. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.

About New York Business Development Corporation
NYBDC’s mission is to promote economic activity and opportunity within New York state by providing innovative loans to credit-worthy small businesses that are unable to access capital at reasonable rates and terms from conventional sources; and, particularly, to assist minority and women-owned businesses by offering credit opportunities not otherwise available to them.


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