HUD Cooking

Friday, July 21, 2006

Maybe HUD ought to publish a book of recipes. It could start with sweet potato biscuits, the kind served fresh every morning by the Yellow Duck Bakery Caf� in Exmore, a town on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

[Photo 1: Yellow Duck Bakery Caf�]
Yellow Duck Bakery Caf� in Exmore

The Yellow Duck opened in November 2004 in a building previously scheduled to be demolished. It is one of five new businesses � including an antique shop, a pizza parlor and a mosaic manufacturer - in Exmore that have received loans and grants from a $100,000, CDBG-funded revolving loan program created by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

It's all part of the town's economic revitalization strategy that also includes plans for a youth center, farmers market, playground and, possibly, a depot for a proposed rail service that would permit tourists to enjoy the beauties of the Virginia shoreline.

"We wouldn't be here without it," Yellow Duck co-owner Annie Hess told the Eastern Shore News. Business is so good, in fact, she and co-owner Beth Kelly already are in the early stages of developing expansion plans.

"It doesn't work for us just to come in and pay for improvements," DHCD Deputy Director Shea Hollifield who helped design the program said. "It really takes the involvement of the community."

And involvement is precisely what Exmore has provided. Another 15 businesses have received CDBG assistance to renovate their facades. DHCD's investment of CDBG funds in Exmore has generated an additional $572,000 in private investments. Sixteen new jobs have been created with, town officials promise, many more to come.

And, by the way, if you don't like sweet potato biscuits, try the Yellow Duck's chocolate pecan cake.

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