FREMONT — A mom-and-pop hardware store will begin expanding this year with a little help from Uncle Sam.
Dale Hardware on Tuesday became the first Fremont retailer to benefit from a federal stimulus program designed to help regions severely affected by the economic downturn.
The store will use $8 million from the issuance of tax-exempt bonds to finance an expansion project that will more than double its 40,000-square-foot store in the Centerville district.
"We're very appreciative," store owner Garth Smith said of the program, which is being administered by officials from both Alameda County and the city of Fremont.
Dale Hardware, which has operated in Fremont since 1955, last year proposed a 56,000-square-foot expansion that would include two new garden centers, offices, retail space and an enclosed, drive-through lumber center at its store at 37100 Post St.
The project, which will require the relocation of Bogies Discount Pet Food, is seen as a big shot in the arm for the Centerville business district, where the city also is planning an apartment and retail center along Fremont Boulevard, across from Dale.
The expansion is slated to begin in September and take about 10 months to complete, Smith said. When the work is finished, Smith expects to add 55 employees to its work force of 104.
The tax-exempt bonds are part of the federal stimulus package Congress enacted last year.
With bank loans harder to obtain, the bonds provide a different way for businesses to finance expansions, said Angela Tsui, Fremont's economic development coordinator.
And because the bonds are tax free, investors are willing to accept a lower yield, allowing Smith to pay lower interest rates than he would have with a regular bank loan.
Fremont allocated its entire $4.4 million tax-exempt bond allocation to Dale and Alameda County added about $3.6 million of its nearly $13 allocation from the federal government.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002. For more Fremont news, read his blog: www.ibabuzz.com/tricitybeat.