Be The Light Boutique Owners Receive E-Community Loan

HBCAT partners with Chamber to help small business owners apply for loan and grant funding


For five years, Susan and Eddie Townley sold antiques, vintage finds, and home decor in booths at markets in Louisburg and Overland Park. This year, they were ready to open their own business in a historic building in downtown Fort Scott.

They just needed a bit of capital to seal the deal. And to get that capital, they had to prepare paperwork.

For help, they turned to The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team’s Center for Economic Growth. And on Nov. 2, their dreams were realized when the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon on Be the Light Boutique at 12 N. Main, just across the street from the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

The boutique, which is open Thursday through Sunday, provides shoppers in Fort Scott as well as visitors to the area with a choice of unique clothing, home decor, antiques, and vintage finds.

“We are so excited for them because we have been with them step by step since the beginning of their business endeavor,” said HBCAT Executive Director Rachel Carpenter.

As a result of assistance from the HBCAT’s Center for Economic Growth, the Townleys were able to apply to the Fort Scott Chamber for an e-community loan, an initiative started by Network Kansas in 2019.

“Network Kansas provides us funding that we can then loan out to businesses for start-up, expansion, or any other type of needs they have,” explained Lindsay Madison, Chamber president. “A business will work with the staff at The HBCAT and another of their partners, the Pittsburg State University Small Business Development Center, to determine cash flow projections, market research reports, and other documents.”


The applicant then makes a brief presentation to the loan committee and awaits approval or a request to go back to the drawing board. If approved, the applicant might receive anywhere from $5,000 to $45,000 at 4 percent interest for 10 years.


For Be the Light Boutique, it was a critical piece of new business ownership.

“We needed funds to purchase some final inventory and provide a cash flow to continue with improvements to a building built in 1895,” Susan said. “My husband and I have done all the work on it to date.”

“The HBCAT helped us develop a business plan and loan documents that would serve as a basis for all of these grants,” she said. “We gave them our information, and they assisted with the creation of it. It was a beautiful thing.”

For more information on e-community loans, visit

About The HBCAT

The mission of The HBCAT is to increase access to healthy food and physical activity, promote commercial tobacco cessation, enhance quality of life and encourage economic growth. The problems of health inequity and social injustice are complex in nature and inextricably linked to key economic indicators. A healthy workforce is a prerequisite for economic success in any industry and in all cities.

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