FARMINGTON — Donna Hewett opened Sauce, a restaurant on the east side of Farmington, a year ago with the help of her uncle.

After living in Paris and New York City, Hewett wanted to bring foods she enjoyed in those places to Farmington, and her uncle said he would loan her money to open a restaurant.

She was expecting two installments, but when her uncle said he wasn't going to deliver the second loan, Hewett needed help.

She turned to Accion, a non-profit company that specializes in business loans, and received money she needed to help keep her business afloat. Accion, with a regional office in Albuquerque, had made business loans in amounts from $200 to $250,000.

T. Greg Merrion, with Merrion Oil and Gas listens, on Wednesday during a business luncheon at Sauce in Farmington.
T. Greg Merrion, with Merrion Oil and Gas listens, on Wednesday during a business luncheon at Sauce in Farmington. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

On Wednesday, Accion company representatives, board members from the Merrion Family Foundation and a representative from Vectra bank met at Hewett's restaurant.

Lynn Trojahn, Accion vice president of advancement, said the meeting was scheduled to recognize and express gratitude to Merrion and Vectra for donating to Accion.

According to Accion data, more than 70 jobs were created by 10 loans in southern Colorado and San Juan County. In all, more than a half-million dollars was loaned to companies in 2013.

This year, four companies in San Juan County received loans totaling $38,830, which helped create nine jobs, according to a spreadsheet Trojahn handed out.

T. Gregg Merrion, representing his family's foundation, said Accion has helped local businesses.


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"We like donating to an organization that helps people help themselves," he said.

Trojahn said some loans are for start-up companies or companies that need help. She says the group usually has clients that other banks couldn't help.

She told a story about Golden Crown Panaderia, a bakery in Albuquerque. The bakery was preparing to be featured in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, a show on the Food Network.

She said the company was ready for the exposure, but had to close shop for three days to prepare for the television production crew.

Scott Bird with Vectra Bank participates on Wednesday during a business luncheon at Sauce in Farmington.
Scott Bird with Vectra Bank participates on Wednesday during a business luncheon at Sauce in Farmington. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

The owner came to Accion for a loan to help with payroll because of the three-day closure.

"That afternoon they had a check," she said.

Scott Bird, Vectra Bank regional president, said he appreciates Accion's efforts to keep donors informed about how the money is being used.

"It's beyond professional," he said.

Hewett said she was thankful that the company was able to help her.

"I couldn't have done it without you all and with the help of my husband," she said. "I can't thank you enough, I really can't"

Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638. and ezah@daily-times.com. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.