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.

Good Connections

Robert’s wife, Diana, had met Norma Valdez, a loan officer with The Loan Fund, through her work as an escrow officer at Fidelity National Title of New Mexico. In 2012, Diana approached The Loan Fund, New Mexico’s oldest nonprofit community lending organization, for the first time as a client.

The purpose of the first loan was to buy an additional computer numerical control unit that would allow AMSD to keep up with demand and continue building its client base beyond the aviation and electronics industries. Because the machine wasn’t new, the company had problems finding a bank that would lend the money to buy it.

“Norma and The Loan Fund were excited to do business with us because they hadn’t been in this market before,” Robert said. “They financed a piece of equipment for roughly $100,000 … for the sheet-metal side of the shop.”

The new machine added capacity to the shop, allowing AMSD to serve its growing list of clients with both their fabrication and machine processing needs in one place — at significant savings — rather than having some of the work contracted out. It also allowed the company to expand and provide jobs for four full-time workers.

AMSD’s diversified portfolio includes private and government clients in the transportation, medical supply, lighting and electronics industries.

The second loan secured by AMSD is a line of credit that helps the company with cash flow and occasional small purchases.

Good Partners

“The Loan Fund is a great place,” Robert said, “and more people should know about them. They made a loan possible for our growing business during a time when credit was becoming less available.”

Diana said she was pleasantly surprised to realize how invested and supportive the organization is in its clients’ success. “The Loan Fund has been an extension of support and guidance for us,” she said. “As small-business owners, everything has been a learning curve. It’s nice to have an entity like The Loan Fund to help us navigate some of the things that arise as we move forward.”

The Loan Fund’s investments support more than 1,200 New Mexican jobs at businesses that generate more than $100 million in annual revenues. About 60 percent of the organization’s clients are people of color and 45 percent of borrowers are women, and most qualify as low or moderate income borrowers.

To learn more about AMSD, visit For more information about The Loan Fund, go to

Download 492_Nonprofit Lender Helps Machine Shop Expand Diversify Client Portfolio PDF

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. 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. 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.” Continue reading

Economic Development Mandates Drive State’s Nonprofit Lenders

By Russ Cummins, Executive Director and Investment Advisor, New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation

Economic development is what motivates New Mexico’s nonprofit lenders: The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST. All three organizations promote grassroots economic development by lending money to businesses that need cash to get started or to expand.

Designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as certified community development organizations (CDFIs), they support economically disadvantaged communities and provide loans to small businesses that lack access to traditional funding. Funding for these loans is provided by the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (NMSBIC). The Legislature created NMSBIC 15 years ago to generate new job opportunities and support new or expanding businesses in New Mexico. Continue reading

Relationship Figures Big in Six-Year Journey to Start Pet-Care Business

Photo courtesy Pet Planet Hotel and Day Camp

Photo courtesy Pet Planet Hotel and Day Camp

By Finance New Mexico

By the time they had adopted seven dogs from friends and neighbors, David and Juliana Garcia concluded that Las Cruces sorely needed a business that served animals and the people who love them.

The couple bought a van with their savings to start a mobile grooming business for large pets. By the time they were ready to buy a second van to accommodate their growing client base, the Garcias were thinking about opening a hotel and day camp, with spa services on the side, for dogs and cats. Continue reading

Woodworking Business Gets Startup Help from Accion

By Metta Smith, Vice President of Lending and Client Services, Accion

Ohel Chillon

Ohel Chillon; photos courtesy Antigua Woodwork

It’s a common conundrum for startups: The business needs money to grow, but it’s too new and untested to qualify for a loan from many traditional lenders.

But, as Regina Baca and Ohel Chillon of Antigua Woodwork discovered three months after starting their business in 2014, Accion is willing to take a chance on fledgling enterprises like theirs. The Albuquerque couple took out a loan in December of that year to purchase equipment critical to their operation. Continue reading