Silver Maple Farm_NCIF Loan_photo (c)NCMMLS
Location: Columbus, North Carolina
Years in Business: < 1 year
Product/Service: Horse boarding and training
NCIFund Role: Working capital loan
Sector: Equestrian, outdoor recreation
Impact: Support outdoor recreation, woman-owned business

Laura Price grew up around horses. She first began riding in 1979, and has spent most of her adult life working with them in some capacity—whether riding, training or running a stable. It’s no surprise that Laura’s dream has been to own her own horse barn and boarding facility. In 2010, she and her husband Chris bought a 100-year old working farm in Polk County, near Laura’s hometown, to make that dream a reality. Thanks to the opening of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, the area has become a mecca for equine enthusiasts, creating a need for boarding and training facilities.

The Opportunity

The farm had an aging barn and a fenced pasture, but it needed upgrades to become a profitable equine boarding facility. It was difficult to find traditional financing to make the building and landscape upgrades for a facility of the caliber that Laura envisioned. This hurdle delayed their plans, but then Laura heard about NCIFund from Mountain BizWorks, a western North Carolina-based microenterprise lender.  

Laura’s project was a great fit for NCIFund—she had more than 30 years of experience working in and managing equine facilities, opportunities to create multiple revenue streams, and Silver Maple breathes life into an historic working farm. A working capital loan from NCIFund is enabling Laura to invest in the upgrades necessary for a state-of-the-art boarding and training facility: a new stable, covered riding ring, and improvements to the existing facility. She is also converting the second floor of the barn into lodging units, and has attracted world-class horse trainers—an important draw for boarding clientele. 

Tryon has a long-standing equestrian community that continues to grow, and there is a real need for more equestrian facilities in the area. But because it isn’t a traditional business, it was difficult to find financing. NCIFund was able to fill the gap where traditional lenders couldn’t, making it possible for me to pursue a worthwhile venture. It’s critical to have access to a lender that is willing to work with people in non-traditional sectors. 
- Laura Price, Owner, Silver Maple Farm

The Impact

Silver Maple Farm is projected to open in the spring of 2018 and will become an important part of Tryon’s growing equestrian recreation sector. By creating stable jobs, sourcing materials like hay and feed from local suppliers, and providing lodging for tourists, Silver Maple Farm is providing important contributions to a sustainable economy in Polk County.