OCONTO – A 22-year-old who repurposes wood, antiques and heirlooms into something useful has now also revived a vacant building.
Bryce Hearley opened Scrap Yard Industrial Works, 1010 Pecor St., with the aid of a $10,000 microloan from Oconto County Economic Development Corporation.
“It’s going to give me a spot to really grow my business,” he said.
Hearley said he plans to turn his establishment into a metal arts and carpentry shop.
Hearley is taking over a metal arts business, Iron Maiden Metal Art, that his mother, Lynn Hearley, previously operated.
Lynn and Todd Hearley now run a coffee shop, gift boutique and art gallery at The Shop on Main, 821 Main St., and Bryce Hearley helped his parents create its vintage industrial décor.
Hearley used the microloan to help cover the down payment, giving him a place to set down roots. Before purchasing the building, he worked mostly in clients’ homes or in an unheated shop located behind his parents’ business.
Among his recent projects, Hearley built five walls out of reclaimed wood for a local church, did a custom “man cave” project, and built bookshelves made of rustic wood and gas line-style black pipe.
“It’s just nice to see people happy,” he said, of seeing clients’ reactions upon seeing the finished projects.
Oconto County Economic Development Corporation provides micro business loans to entrepreneurs like Hearley who need extra capital to launch a business. Microloans also are available to small-business owners who want to expand their existing business, purchase equipment or pay for other expenses.
“Qualifying for a micro loan is slightly different than qualifying for a standard business loan,” said Samantha Boucher, OCEDC tourism director, “plus micro loans tend to cover smaller amounts and have shorter terms.”
Oconto County businesses with fewer than 25 employees and less than $1 million in annual sales may be eligible for a micro loan.
“A number of factors are considered for eligibility, so small-business owners are encouraged to contact our office to learn if they qualify for a micro loan or another type of economic assistance,” Boucher said.
Scrap Yard Industrial Works is open by appointment only by calling 920-544-3121 or emailing [email protected].
To learn more about the OCEDC micro loan program, contact their office at 1113 Main St., 920-834-6969, or [email protected]. More information is available at ocontocounty.org.