Two years ago, a lonely gas station on Highway 5 through Belcourt, ND lay mostly empty of business activity. Rather than dwell on the sorrow of the situation, one local entrepreneur saw it as an opportunity. “I was raised with a ‘can do’ attitude that forced me to see the good instead of the bad,” says Richard McCloud, an American Indian entrepreneur in Belcourt, ND. “Opening up the Utter Stop [convenience store] after it was closed by a previous owner gave me a sense of pride that I was providing a needed service for our reservation.” In 2002, Richard received the keys to the Utter Stop from the American Legion – owners of the land where it is located. As a result of his hands on management skills, Richard quickly turned the operation into a staple store on the rural reservation, which is adjacent to the Canadian border in the northern part of North Dakota.
Working with NAB, Richard put together a loan sizable enough to embark on his new mission. The bank, with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs loan guaranty program, was able help make Richard’s dream come true.