County loan will assist gas station at Sawyer

MARQUETTE – The Marquette County Board recently approved a $32,000 working capital loan request that will help provide a gas station at the Sawyer Service Center at K.I. Sawyer.

In a memo to the county board, Marquette County’s Intermediary Relending Program Committee said Josh Bahrman is purchasing the service center from Brian Hutchens on land contract.

“He has been operating the business since February and plans to add convenience store items and sell gasoline at that location,” the memo stated.

Bahrman had requested the loan for inventory, tools, equipment and building improvements.

“It (a gas station) is something that’s very much needed in the community,” Marquette County Commissioner Paul Arsenault said.

Bahrman’s father, Barry, co-signed the loan. Barry Bahrman was the prior recipient of two IRP loans, which were repaid, according to the IRP committee.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program states the purpose of its IRP loans is “to alleviate poverty and increase economic activity and employment in rural areas.” Under the program, loans are provided to local organizations – intermediaries like the county – for establishing revolving loan funds.

The loans are used “to assist with financing business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.” Intermediaries are encouraged to work in concert with private and public agencies that can provide complimentary resources.

Bahrman provided a business financial plan developed with the assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s small business division.

The committee said the loan will be amortized over five years with fixed 5.5 percent interest rate. The loan will be secured by first position on two 1,000-gallon, above-ground fuel storage tanks. A supplier valued the tanks in excess of $18,000, with strong resale value.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is