PERSONAL FINANCE MANAGEMENT

New Two-Story Retail Space to Be Built in Ghent, West Virginia

Blue Flame Credit Union Charlotte North Carolina is a closed corporation that provides its members with a credit card for services such as gas purchases. The corporation was founded in 1998 by Bill Lively and Mark Sargent. The couple’s son, Austin, serves as the president of the association. Blue Flame Credit Union has about 3,000 members, who pay annual dues.

Blue Flame provides two different membership levels: blue (prepaid) and gold (with a twelve-month membership). Membership is limited to residents of the United States and it has a one hundred and ten percent match program for cash back and purchases on approved credit unions. The company does not have an online presence and the member base is in effect approximately seven thousand-square-foot space. Blue Flame does not provide customer service or payroll. It bills itself as “a community resource for energy-efficient living and green building”.

The company has roughly twenty-three thousand square feet of retail space located at Yancey road and Blairsville road. The interior of the building is approximately seven thousand square feet. It also has a two-story atrium at the top of the building with an adjoining nine-story atrium on the bottom. There are approximately seven thousand-square-feet of office space inside the retail shop on Blairsville road.

Blue Flame’s business strategy is based upon its affiliation with the Charlotte Development Authority (CDA). In return, the CDA owns a ninety-one percent interest in the company. The company plans to expand its retail locations to encompass Charlotte’s east coast. The company has contracted with the Le Ridge Restaurant Group for the opening of its new two-story brick and mortar storefront at Yancey road and Blairsville Road. The project is expected to begin in the spring of 2021.

The credit unions are also expected to launch a mobile banking service in the near future. The companies will share revenue from this venture and the credit union members will receive a percentage of the funds. This sharing system between the companies is becoming increasingly popular among other small retail groups.

The business plans indicate that the company will continue to expand as more stores open. Retailers anticipate significant increases in customer traffic and profitability as the credit union’s partner with other local retailers to expand their presence in the Carolinas’ eastern area. They currently have four full-service branches, located in Charlotte’s metropolitan areas: southwest NC, near the airport, on Belmont Park Drive in Pemberton, north of uptown Charlotte and west of Asheville. The credit unions will begin operating all of North Carolina’s counties, which include Carrboro, Buncombe, Person, and Wilson. The expansion will generate significant new customer base for the credit unions as more people move to the eastern part of the state to seek employment or to study. The member base will continue to grow as the employers add jobs in the area.

The company plans to utilize the existing retail space and build a new two-story, brick-and-mortar storefront at the corner of Blairsville Road and Yancey Road. Construction will include the addition of new lighting, new signage, and upgraded flooring. Approximately seven thousand square feet of retail space will be added to the property. Approximately seven thousand square feet of food service space is also planned to be added to the one-story building. Approximately seven thousand square feet of employee work space will also be added.

The company currently has two full-service branches in Charlotte, with additional locations in Raleigh Cary and Wilmington. Approximately fifteen credit unions are represented by the Blue Flame Credit Union in North Carolina. The credit unions serve members in fifteen counties in the state. Blue Flame Credit Union’s membership is currently active in thirty-two counties. If you live in any of the counties listed or are a credit union member, please visit the organization at blue flame credit union dot com.

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