Council to restructure Ellumilite DCA loan

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ellumilite is back.

The lighted screen printing business has turned the corner on its finances and is forming new business opportunities with contractors and investors. To that end, the business is ready to help pay back part of the $100,000 loan Ellumilite took from the Development Corporation of Austin in 2012 when it first came to town.

The Austin City Council decided Monday to reschedule Ellumilite’s loan repayment plan so the business would have a better chance of paying it back. Ellumilite must pay about $1,100 a month starting in May on its $96,839 balance.

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Ellumilite first came to Austin in 2012 as one of the first tenants of the 25,000-square-foot Robinson building, at 1805 14th St. NE, owned by the Austin Port Authority and the Development Corporation of Austin. Ellumilite received a $100,000 loan from the DCA to start operations, along with a $100,000 from the city of Austin through state and federal funds, and a $50,000 loan from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

Yet the business, which produces electroluminescent lamps among other things, had troubles getting off the ground and fell behind in its loan repayments, as well as its rent.

The port authority voted in June 2013 to evict Ellumilite unless it could keep up with its rent — then about $19,745 over a six month period — but city officials have worked with the business since then.

Steve Comer, executive vice president for Ellumilite, said Monday the business had heavy interest from investors and was in the production phase for its lamp products. The business also hoped to expand into Latin America through distributors and could potentially expand into Europe. Ellumilite is also working on an alternative to neon sign lighting used by businesses.

“We’ve turned the corner and weathered the storm,” Comer said. “Hopefully we’re here to stay now.”