ELKIN, N.C. -- Brendle's Inc. said it had made an advance payment of $3 million on a loan from three North Carolina banks.

The $56.9 million loan was from First Union National Bank, NationsBank, and First Citizens Bank.

Under an agreement reached in May, the southeastern retailer was required to make the payment by Sept. 30.

Brendle's is abandoning its discount-catalogue strategy to become a specialty retailer of gifts, jewelry, leisure living products, and home accessories.

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