First Financial Bank – Construction begins on new warehouse for JC’s Wildlife with SBA 504 loan from First Financial Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC

Construction workers are building a new warehouse for JC’s Wildlife. The Evansville company manufactures and distributes “all things birds” says Owner Christopher Briggs. The new warehouse is on property adjacent to JC’s Wildlife current location at 13644 SR 57 in northeast Evansville.

Briggs is financing his company’s expansion with a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program through First Financial Bank and Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation.

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local Indiana lenders to issue SBA 504 loans to help owners of expanding or startup small businesses buy real estate, buildings and equipment. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.

Briggs says the SBA 504 loan’s low fixed interest rate and long repayment schedule “make our growth affordable.” He says the new warehouse will open in 2020. It will be twice the size of the company’s existing site next door and will help JC’s Wildlife add to its existing 18-employee payroll and increase manufacturing and shipping to worldwide markets. 

JC’s Wildlife’s products include birdhouses, bird feeding stations, the patented Squirrel Stopper pole system, and Stryx Optics binoculars.

Darren Spainhoward of First Financial Bank says, “First Financial Bank is honored to work with Chris as his business continues to experience rapid growth. Growth that is the direct result of his hard work, commitment to excellence, and treating customers and suppliers with integrity and respect. The SBA 504 program allows Chris the opportunity to mitigate a substantial amount of future interest rate risk as well as retain capital due to the lower down payment requirement. Mr. Briggs is a modern day success story that is tailor-made for programs such as the SBA 504.”

Indiana Statewide CDC ( has provided more than $600 million to 1,280 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving more than 26,595 jobs, and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana. Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, “SBA 504 loans help small businesses grow because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 25 years.  The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan.  With the SBA guarantee, we can offer more favorable loan rates than generally available to small businesses.”

First Financial Bank ( is the oldest national bank in Indiana and the fifth oldest in the United States. It was chartered in 1834 and still holds the 47th bank charter granted in the U.S. Based in Terre Haute, First Financial grew into a strong group of community banks consisting of 84 banking centers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, more than 100 FirstPlus ATMs and more than 1,000 First Financial team members.