Borrower: Elijah Craig, LLC
Loan Amount: $500,000
Location: Florence, SC
Project Type: Healthy Food Retail


The North Dargan Street and Darlington Street corridor, a neighborhood in Florence, SC, is deemed “blighted” by city officials. It is also located in a food desert, meaning residents lack access to fresh and nutritious foods. Tim Waters, owner of Elijah Craig, LLC and a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, wanted to help his community by bringing a full-service grocery store to the area. However, Tim struggled to secure financing and lacked the specialized experience grocery store operators need to secure a franchise deal.


After unsuccessfully pursuing traditional financing options, Tim attended an SCCLF loan application workshop. Later, he enrolled in Feeding Innovation, an SCCLF program for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to increase healthy food access in their communities. “The lending team at SCCLF encouraged me, and so I surrounded myself with experts,” says Tim. “I wanted to be sure I knew the business, and I wanted to show that I’m willing to do the work.” Tim worked tirelessly to refine his business plan throughout the Feeding Innovation program.  His determination to bring the project to market gained support from the City of Florence, which provided Tim with a $300,000 incentive package as part of their downtown redevelopment strategy. With the city’s support and thanks to Tim’s efforts, he entered into a partnership with Save-A-Lot and secured the additional financing he needed to finish his project through SCCLF.


The Elijah Craig, LLC Save-A-Lot will initially create 20 new jobs for community members, 12 of which will be full time and the number of employees will increase to 30 as the store grows. Families in the North Dargan Street community will finally have the ability to purchase fresh, healthy food in their neighborhood. Further, a neighborhood currently defined by the city as blighted will have a revitalization effort led in part by a lifelong resident with a vision of community change. “I see the store as building up the community in a healthy way,” says Tim. “I want it to be a beacon for healthy change.”