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Fleece Performance Engineering triples manufacturing space with SBA 504 loan from Centier Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC
At 75-thousand square feet, Fleece Performance Engineering's new manufacturing plant in Pittsboro dwarfs the size of the company's previous locations in Brownsburg and North Salem. The new headquarters provides additional space for product development, production and work areas, assembly and testing, four engine dynamometers, a larger warehouse, and two-story office space.

Fleece Performance Engineering, Inc. designs and builds aftermarket parts for the automotive industry. Products include turbochargers, fuel pumps, and a large range of problem-solver parts. Its two sister companies, Freedom Racing Engines, Inc. and Fleece Performance, LLC, also occupy space in the new facility. In total, all three companies employ 50 people. With the added space in the 75-thousand square-foot building, they expect to add significantly more people and manufacturing equipment to handle continued production growth.

"This new plant is a giant step up from the 3,500 square-foot barn in North Salem where we started in 2008," says owner Brayden Fleece. A two-building site in Brownsburg helped Fleece grow between 2012 and late 2019 when the company moved into its Pittsboro plant.

A loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 program helped founders and owners Brayden and Chase Fleece buy the property they needed in Pittsboro and build and equip the new plant. The loan was provided by Centier 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.

Brayden Fleece says, "We may not have been able to do this project with a conventional business loan. In our early bank interviews we had always discussed the project in terms of using the SBA 504, so I don't recall if we would have had the option to do the project as a conventional loan. The 25 year fixed rate loan is one of the largest benefits to me."

Derek Phillips of Centier Bank says, "Performance Engineering is a fast-growing manufacturer that needed a new facility to fit their current and future expansion needs. This structure provided flexibility in retaining capital in the company without having to put a large equity injection into the project. The 504 program gave Fleece the additional flexibility to meet all their needs, while giving them a solid fixed rate for 25 years.

Background:

Indiana Statewide CDC has approved more than $690 million of financing for 1,500 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving more than 26,595 jobs, and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana. These projects represent more than $1.7 billion in expansion financing for Indiana businesses.

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 guarantee, we can offer more favorable loan rates than generally available to small businesses."

Centier Bank (www.centier.com) is a family owned bank with 900 employees and 62 bank branches in 11 Indiana counties. Centier has more than $7 billion in assets.

Fleece Performance Engineering (www.fleeceperformance.com) is a leading manufacturer of aftermarket automotive performance products. Fleece's aftermarket replacement and performance products are available from over 200 Authorized Dealers nationwide, through wholesale and online retail partners, as well as directly on Fleece Performance Engineering's website.

Freedom Racing Engines and Fleece Performance LLC are housed in the same facility. Freedom Racing Engines is focused on bringing superior engines and cylinder heads to the automotive aftermarket using its knowledge from the racing industry to improve upon the OEM offering. Fleece Performance, LLC is a full service shop for diesel pickup trucks and cars with services ranging from oil changes to full engine overhauls.


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