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January 23, 2014

Boots to Business Grant awarded

GBC Economic Development Corporation presents money to veteran

Athens — The Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation presented its first check under the Boots to Business Grant Program to Tom Terrell, owner of Marine Landscaping of Gun Barrel City.

Jim Braswell, chairman of the GBCEDC’s Boots to Business Committee, which selected Terrell for the honor, presented him with a check for $8,775 during a reception held at the Gun Barrel City Hall Tuesday. 

The reception was attended by the mayor, city officials, the EDC board, friends, family and customers of Marine Landscaping, as well as representatives of veterans groups that are assisting the GBCEDC in getting the word out about their innovative grant program.

Marine Landscaping is a full-service landscape design and maintenance company that specializes in custom flower beds, garden design and landscape and garden installation for both residential and commercial customers.

Growth plans for the business include expansion into tree and lawn care and the hiring of other area veterans. 

In order to qualify for the grant, Terrell was required to complete a detailed application process that included submission of financial statements, business forecasts and a business plan that outlined how the grant money would be spent. 

The Small Business Development Center at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens assisted Terrell with the application process, and is working with other grant applicants.

According to Braswell, all applicants must show matching funds for every dollar they request, and recipients of the grant are required to meet with the Boots to Business Committee quarterly for one year to report on their business activity.  Because it is a grant, recipients are not required to pay back the EDC.

“We want to help this business succeed, not just by providing it with money, but helping out in any way we can.  Quarterly meetings between the business owner and ourselves will allow us to continue providing business management and marketing support,” Braswell said.

Linda Rankin, president of the Gun Barrel Economic Development Corporation, said, “We wanted to do our part to help our valued military personnel return to civilian life. We’re interested in helping those who dream of owning their own business and who can show us viable business plans.  We are ready to provide not only money, but support.  We want to help turn dreams into reality here in Gun Barrel City, and we are thrilled that Tom Terrell is our first Boots to Business Grant recipient.”

The GBCEDC announced the establishment of the Boots to Business Grant Program on Veteran’s Day in November 2012. The program earmarks $50,000 annually from the EDC budget for assisting veteran business owners.  

Terrell was selected by a committee made up of citizens, veterans, business people and EDC board members.  His application was approved by both the EDC Board and the Gun Barrel City Council.

Additional grants are available, and veterans interested in applying for the Boots to Business grant can read more about it on the EDC website at or call 903-887-1899. 

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