A Cache County convenience store owner is upset at the Small Business Administration for helping finance a second store near his, but his new competitor says there's room for both businesses.

Tom Duce, owner of the existing Canyon View Market, said the new In-A-Minute-Mart immediately south of his own store on U-101 and U-165 at the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon "threatens to put one of us out of business."Duce said he recently spent about $100,000 remodeling the store, one of four convenience stores he operates in the county.

However, Reed Conger, owner and developer of the new store, said he decided to build next to the store because "I feel there is adequate opportunity for both of us to be profitable. I do not intend to cut prices to try to put Mr. Duce out of business."

Conger, who also owns Hyrum Drug & Hardware and two video rental stores in the county, said the business will cost about $350,000. Both stores will sell gasoline and other merchandise normally sold in convenience stores.

Duce called the action of the SBA in approving loans for both ventures "questionable."

He registered a complaint with the SBA, saying "it is not reasonable to believe there is enough potential business" for two stores.

Kent Moon, SBA district director, said both stores were granted loans after a thorough review and he believes both businesses can turn a profit.

"The success or failure of the two stores, however, is at the will of the free market system and the management skills of the owners," he said. "It is not the government's role to determine who can enter the free market system."