Sustained Relationship Enables Auto Shop’s Success

By Matt Loehman, Development and Special Projects Director, The Loan Fund

Perez Collision in Albuquerque

Jordan Perez, left, and Aaron Perez

Aaron Perez isn’t sure how he heard about The Loan Fund, but he’s certainly glad he did. Twelve years ago, the Albuquerque entrepreneur needed about $16,000 for equipment and working capital for the auto shop he co-owns with his brother, Jordan Perez, but the two were having a hard time getting a bank loan because they didn’t have adequate collateral or a credit history that would help them qualify. Continue reading

Enrichment Program Prompts Greater Interest in Venture Acceleration Fund

By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico

Tall Foods co-founders Andrea Romero and Adam Wachtor

Co-founders Andrea Romero and Adam Wachtor of Tall Foods, a 2017 VAF recipient.

Every early stage business needs capital to grow, but a company that lacks collateral to procure traditional debt financing and is too immature to interest equity investment can idle for years in a financing limbo.

In Northern New Mexico, the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) helps promising early stage startups get back in gear. And the VAF Enhancement Project now offers additional technical assistance to current and aspiring VAF recipients. Continue reading

Pilot Program Allows Accion Greater Flexibility in Business Lending

By Sandy Nelson and Taura Costidis for Finance New Mexico

Reduced risk for lenders

Nonprofit lender Accion is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration to offer a type of business loan — the Community Advantage loan — that allows more entrepreneurs to have their loan requests approved.

Accion is the only Community Development Financial Institution in the state to participate in this pilot SBA program that began in 2012. And Accion offers the loan in all five states where it does business: New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Texas. Continue reading

Supplier Financing Leverages Trusted Relationships

Desert Blends of Taos; photo courtesy of the company

By Finance New Mexico

Vendors who supply products to retailers don’t always have the capital needed to fill a large order. If the vendor can’t get the money — or can’t spend all its capital delivering a big order it has to wait 90 days to be paid for — it misses a chance to increase its profits and expand demand.

This is a common situation for many startups and small businesses that can’t borrow from traditional banks or even nonprofit community development loan institutions because the business principals have no track record, uneven credit histories, scant collateral or unclear citizenship status. Continue reading

Pinball Parts Maker Gets Boost From Manufacturing Makeover

By Claudia Infante, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

X-Men Pinball Wolverine Bracket made by the company on a 3-D printer; courtesy of Mezel Mods

It started three years ago with a 3-D printer and a lifelong passion for pinball. Former Intel engineer Tim Mezel now runs a small company that makes “mods,” 3-D printed plastic after-market parts installed in pinball machines to make the games more challenging or personalized.

There’s a niche market for these products, and Mezel Mods caters to it.

In 2015, Tim Mezel and his wife, Kristin, moved production from their home to a 1,500-square-foot manufacturing facility in Rio Rancho, where they and two employees design and fabricate novel add-ons and replacement parts for tricked-out pinball machines. Continue reading

Nonprofit Lender Helps Machine Shop Expand, Diversify Client Portfolio

Photo courtesy AMSD

By Finance New Mexico

When Robert Sanchez got a chance to buy the shop where he started his machining career, it was too good to pass up. That was 20 years ago, when Tremble Navigation purchased the Albuquerque machine shop of Terra Avionics and prepared to move the company to Austin.

The new buyer proposed to sell the machine shop to Sanchez and offered him a two-year contract to build parts for Tremble — mostly radios and transponders for small aircraft. That contract alone provided enough revenue for Sanchez to cover the purchase price.

Within four years, the renamed Advanced Machining and Sheetmetal Design (AMSD) had sold off that product line and ended its work with Tremble. By then the company had acquired new customers, and it needed more equipment. Continue reading

Early Assist From Accion Helps Business Owner Train Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Patrick Jenkins demonstration

Patrick Jenkins demonstration

By Finance New Mexico

In the early 2000s, Patrick Jenkins needed help meeting customer demand at his barbershop, A Better U, in Albuquerque’s Southeast Heights. But good barbers were hard to find, so Jenkins decided to cultivate a younger generation of ambitious hair-care entrepreneurs.

He opened A Better U Academy in 2007 on Lomas Boulevard between Carlisle and San Mateo boulevards and incorporated his original business into the school. Of Albuquerque’s 16 barber colleges, Jenkins said, it’s the only one that trains students not just how to cut, style and shave hair but also how to run a business built on those skills. “We’re committed to being the best,” he said. Continue reading

Tularosa Hat Maker Stays Put With USDA Loan

By Finance New Mexico

Bronco Sue Custom Hats gets lots of walk-in traffic. Situated at the crossroads of New Mexico State Highways 54 and 70 in Tularosa, the retail store is a must-stop for those visiting south-central New Mexico tourist attractions such as White Sands National Monument, the town of Ruidoso and Lincoln Historic Site — the most visited state monument in New Mexico.

So when Kenneth and Lu Lyn Brasher, the owners of Bronco Sue Custom Hats, had the opportunity to purchase the building that’s home to their antique hat-making equipment and retail store, they jumped at the opportunity. Like many rural residents, the Brashers didn’t finance the property through a bank. “The people that we bought it from were the ones carrying the paper,” said Lu Lyn.

Time passed, the business grew, and the Brashers built their credit history outside of the conventional banking system. When their private lender passed away, they needed an institutional lender to refinance the building. Continue reading

Use Caution When Lending Startup Money to Family

Happy family

By Finance New Mexico

It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to start even a small business, and raising that kind of startup capital is challenging to someone with little savings, a blemished or nonexistent credit history or a loan rejection from a bank. If that someone is a relative, there’s a good chance you’ll be approached for a loan.

If you have the means, it’s hard to refuse such a request — especially if you believe your family member has the potential to build a successful, profitable business.

The trick to lending money to a relative is to approach it as a business deal — with generosity and encouragement but also a sober, unemotional understanding of the financial and personal risks involved and a firm set of expectations. Continue reading

Air Force Veteran’s Business Growth Enabled by Accion

Firefighters training on extracting crash victims from a car wreck

By Finance New Mexico

Gary Peterson’s Albuquerque auto shop is a profit-generator with philanthropy at its heart.

Peterson, a 22-year Air Force veteran, started One Community Auto in Albuquerque to refurbish rundown vehicles and donate the sales proceeds to a variety of charities, from Assistance Dogs of the West to veteran suicide-prevention and domestic violence prevention programs. He calls this aspect of his business “social entrepreneurship.”

The company’s newest endeavor involves providing abandoned or wrecked cars to organizations that demolish them in training exercises. Continue reading