Finance Program Assists in Transition of Salina Business

This article was published on: 05/29/2020

design central staff working at desk

Suzanne Hokett (left) and Audrey George (right) have had an important role in Design Central’s business transition. (Courtesy Photo)

A loyal customer base and a desire to see the business continue were key motivators in Design Central’s succession planning.

Located in downtown Salina, Design Central provides commercial interior design services throughout Kansas. The business specializes in the design and furnishing of new and remodeled spaces such as libraries, schools, hospitals, clinics, community centers, offices, and more.

“Small, locally owned businesses are so important to our communities, but they can be challenging to transition,” Design Central’s former owner Suzanne Hokett said. “We have lots of loyal customers and I wanted there to still be local service and a local support system for them. Also, I knew that if Design Central stays in Salina, that money stays locally as well.”

The NCRPC Business Finance Program, through its NCKCN-Four Rivers Down Payment Assistance Loan Program, was one of the funding sources used for the transition to new ownership. Other funding came from First Bank Kansas, the seller, and investment by the new owners, Scott and Meghan Bird.

“Having funds available to an investor is invaluable for small business,” Hokett said. “First Bank Kansas was great to work with and they brought NCRPC Business Finance services to the table. The process was very seamless.”

Design Central President/Designer Audrey George now manages the day-to-day operations for the business.

“The whole transition has been a wonderful opportunity for our business,” George said. “The new owners have empowered the employees to keep doing what they know how to do — and that is providing quality design services and commercial furniture to businesses.”

To learn more, visit the NCRPC Business Finance Program or Design Central.

This article appeared in the May 2020 NCRPC Newsletter.