When Cody Willenborg started CW Motorsports in December 2011, he took a larger risk than most fledgling businessmen might be willing to take.
“I was all by myself,” Willenborg said. “I sold almost everything I owned to start the business.”
From a one-man operation in a 2,000-square-foot shop, CW Motorsports has grown into a four-man operation in a 9,300-square foot building at 111 N. Henrietta St. in Effingham. On Monday, the Effingham County Board took action that Willenborg hopes will enable him to grow the business even more.
The board unanimously agreed to loan Willenborg $30,000 through the county’s new revolving loan program. Willenborg said the loan will enable him to grow the business in a variety of ways.
“This will allow us to buy more equipment and stocking inventory, as well as help with our cash flow,” he said.
Willenborg said he also plans to hire a parts employee, as well as another shop employee.
The county received seed money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development branch to start the loan program. Economic Development Committee Chairman David Campbell said the committee is glad to grant its first loan.
“We’re very excited,” Campbell said, adding the committee worked with Willenborg for more than two months to finalize the deal.
“I couldn’t have done it without the committee I have,” Campbell said. Other committee members include County Board members Jeff Simpson and Rob Arnold, Effingham City Economic Development Director Todd Hull, Altamont Mayor Larry Taylor, Jane Reinheimer and Ed Hoopingarner.
“Everybody on the committee brought a different point of view to the proposal,” Campbell said. “We all did a lot of hard work to get this first loan in place.”
Willenborg, a 2007 graduate of Teutopolis High School, graduated at the top of his class from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Fla. Upon returning to Illinois, he spent several years at Weber Bros. Honda in Teutopolis before striking out on his own.