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August 18, 2013

Loving it downtown

LeaderOne mortgage firm busy with First Fridays

Some know them as LeaderOne Financial Corp. More probably know them as The Two Mortgage Guys.

Ryan Minick and Steve DeLon aren’t particular, either way is fine. They’ve been in Kokomo, surviving and thriving as mortgage brokers, for the past nine years as a team, first at GMAC Mortgage, then at First Republic and now on their own as LeaderOne.

Their downtown offices, at 202 N. Main St., are at the center of what has become the First Friday movement in Kokomo, the after-hours mini-festivals downtown business owners put on once a month, on — you guessed it — the first Friday.

“It was almost like when you move houses, we just got the ‘welcome wagon’ feel from everyone downtown, it’s such a culture down here,” DeLon said. “When we were out on Hoffer Street I don’t know if we had one business owner stop by and say hi.”

That’s not an issue now, as Minick, DeLon and office staffers Carrie Hair, Laura Stiner and Katrina Hartz are part of the small business renaissance along Main and Walnut streets in downtown Kokomo.

In their space since January and fully settled for the past few months, the office becomes a bit of a party on First Fridays, with the local homebrew club a frequent visitor (with samples, of course) and the public invited to view Leader’s hallway full of old Kokomo photos.

Older Kokomo residents will remember the Hotel Francis (which burned down) and the Hill’s Snappy Service Hamburgers joint, near the old railroad lookout post which still stands along Buckeye Street.

Hair has taken over the social media functions for First Fridays, and Minick and DeLon have become ringleaders, along with the Youngs over at Main Street Café.

Have they gotten business from First Fridays? The answer from both of the mortgage guys is an unequivocal yes.

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