The JP UP Date: Buena Vista National Bank Invests $250K

Andrew BarnesThe JP UP date

Number 219                         April 22, 2023                                St. Louis

Buena Vista National Bank Invests $250K Into JP’s Emerging Markets Fund

Justine PETERSEN is proud to continue their partnership with Buena Vista Nation Bank (BVNB) as part of our Emerging Markets Loan Fund. BVNB recently renewed their initial $250K investment, advancing JP’s work in Decatur and Mason County, Illinois. JP deployed over $400K to small businesses in the Decatur marketplace in 2022. JP remains grateful to BVNB for their continued commitment to deploy funds to Central Illinois small businesses in need.

The Emerging Markets Loan Fund is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) investment opportunity for financial institutions, philanthropic foundations and private wealth that ultimately builds equity for Justine PETERSEN’s CDFI (community development financial institution) while providing access to safe and affordable capital to small businesses at various stages of development.


Client Profile: Dennis Stotler of GrandMa Rose Homemade Italian Sauces

Justine PETERSEN client Dennis Stotler found his inspiration in a most unlikely place: from a random stranger in an aisle at the grocery store. The woman he was in the aisle with was discussing how she could never find diabetic-friendly products that actually tasted good. As a chef, but not completely familiar with diabetic dietary restrictions, Dennis prodded the woman about what her typical food preferences were and how she wasn’t finding them in the products available given her restrictions. He immediately felt he could make a product that both tasted great and fit her needs, to which she informed him that if true he would have customers lining up. So Dennis got to work, spending months researching both about the disease and buying other diabetic products out there to taste for himself. With a number of family recipes on hand from his Italian side, he knew he had to combine his dream of sharing those with others to also help diabetic patients, because not only did he agree with the woman he met at the grocery store – the products did not taste great – but he wanted to help patients suffering with this terrible disease.

Most familiar with being in the kitchen, making delicious and healthy sauces was the easy part. The unexpected difficulties came in the way of working [and waiting] for FDA approval, and navigating getting his product on shelves through a pandemic. Dennis lived by his four key words though: “Determination. Persistence. Commitment. Desire.” After being turned down by banks, Dennis secured a small business microloan from JP in late February. His FDA approved products, under the brand GrandMa Rose Homemade Italian Sauces, are currently in locations throughout the Greater St. Louis Area: DiGregorio’s on The Hill, Vitale’s on The Hill, Viviano’s in Fenton, AG Market in Cedar Hill, Maw Maw’s in Warrenton, Hanny’s in Wright City, with plans in the work for deals with a major hospital group, national retailers, and other local favorite sto refronts. The only thing Dennis is missing: a few words of gratitude he would like to make in-person. “I wish my parents were still here to see the success I’m experiencing with this. My stepdad is who inspired me to get into cooking in the first place. I know he and my mom were responsible in helping me persevere through this experience. And I hope one day I run into that woman from the grocery store and thank her for inspiring me.”

Dennis’s sauces have quickly become a favorite with our team, and we hope everyone will give it a try. Look for the label pictured at any of the locations mentioned! Dennis is also looking to grow his team; if interested in learning more about those opportunities or his products you can contact him at

JP Housing Team Participates in Housing Resource Fair

  On Saturday, April 15th Justine PETER SEN Chief Partnerships Officer Shawna Collier and Housing Associate Nour Mohamed (pictured) attended Better Family Life’s Housing Resource Fair. They were able to connect with a number of prospective homebuyers, helping them to learn how to best navigate what can so often be a complicated journey. As a HUD certified counselor Nour, along with JP Housing Manager Randen Click, and Asset Building Counselor Tyler Janssen (both also HUD certified counselors) meet with clients to provide a number of housing related counsel in order for dreams of homeownership to become a reality. If interested in meeting with their team, reach out to

Happy Birthday, Barbara and Yolanda!

The past week ushered in the celebrations of two true queens around the Justine PETERSEN office: Asset Building Counselor Barbara Ewing and Business Assistance Associate Yolanda Nelson! Barbara and Yolanda are both thoughtful and vibrant, so we hope they were celebrated with the same amount of care and style they bring to others.

Mortgage Assistance for Illinois Homeowners

As a HUD certified counseling agency, Justine PETERSEN is here to support. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about mortgage assistance and the application process to contact us by emailing More information can also be found here.

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Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation · 1023 N Grand Blvd · Saint Louis, MO 63106-1641 · USA