For the past eight years, the 21,000–square- feet former SunMart grocery store in northeast Norfolk (pop. 24,210) has been vacant; a symbol of unfulfilled potential in the community. However, Premier Senior Marketing, Inc., recognized this site as a perfect location on which to expand their Norfolk-based business and began to look for ways to fund their project. The project’s funding came from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $505,000 that was awarded in November 2011, to the City of Norfolk, coupled with financing from Midwest Bank.
Premier Senior Marketing, Inc., owned by SWAMT, LLC, is an insurance wholesaler with locations in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. The company bridges the gap between agents and insurance companies with superior products and exceptional service. During the past seven years the Norfolk location has grown from 30 to 73 employees, resulting in multiple renovations of their original 7,500- square- feet building.
The new and improved Premier Senior Marketing location is projected to create 20 new full-time jobs in the clerical and sales categories. The new building allows for future expansion, as well as rental space. Company owners A. Mike Wingate and Thomas A. Schueth have designated the west side of the building as area to lease to different businesses. There is room for 2,000 to 6,000 “white box” office spaces in which future tenants can tailor space to suit their specific office needs. Funding also allowed for construction of nearby Java Pointe coffee shop and café.
The CDBG funding through DED was critical to Premier Senior Marketing and the Norfolk community. The healthy growth this company has experienced is leading to increased employment and stability for many Norfolk citizens. The successful business environment also is expected to attract other businesses and investors, inspiring economic development throughout the community.