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

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.

The NMSBIC lending program also provides funding to the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority for construction loans and to Rio Vista Growth Capital for mezzanine growth funding to enable communities and businesses to grow. 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

Community Banks Essential to Business Success

Las Trancas Restaurant

By Finance New Mexico

Ramiro Alcala learned the value of community banks in 2013 when he needed a loan to expand the parking lot at his Las Cruces restaurant, Las Trancas, and to add walk-in refrigerators to the kitchen.

Despite his long and successful track record with the business, which he opened with his mother in 1996, Alcala couldn’t find traditional financing until he approached the local office of Century Bank. It wasn’t the only financial institution in town, but it was the only one that would lend Alcala the money to continue the expansion he began in 2010 to meet ever-growing demand. Continue reading

USDA Microloans Aim to Encourage New Crop of Farmers

By Finance New Mexico; photo courtesy newfarmers.usda.gov

By Finance New Mexico; photo courtesy newfarmers.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making it easier for New Mexicans to take up — or continue — farming in a state that’s famous for its chile and other commercial crops but also produces specialty items derived from agricultural products.

Direct Farm Ownership Microloans, which help agricultural entrepreneurs buy and improve farmland and farm buildings and finance other related capital-intensive activities, are especially helpful to beginning and underserved farmers, veterans and those just embarking on a farming career. Continue reading

Loans Help Atrisco Continue Educational, Cultural Mission

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

When the Atrisco Heritage Foundation lost a significant annual contribution to its Legacy Fund in the 2008 recession, CEO Peter Sanchez was thankful his foundation had an existing relationship with the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit community lending organization.

“We had started to forge a business relationship with The Loan Fund,” he said, “so they got a chance to know us not in distress but in a building mode.”

That connection was critical when SunCal, a major real-estate developer, defaulted on the loan it secured with Barclays bank to purchase 57,000 acres of land from Atrisco’s earlier incarnation, Continue reading

New Markets Tax Credit Program Benefits Low-Income Communities

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Editor’s Note: This article was updated Sept. 1, 2017 to reflect 2017 application dates.

Business people who want to develop property in economically depressed New Mexico communities — or who want to purchase expensive commercial equipment or secure working capital  for use in those communities — often lack the funding they need for such ambitious and capital-intensive ventures.

That’s why the New Mexico Finance Authority created a community development entity, or CDE, in 2006 to raise capital and fill funding gaps for large projects expected to benefit low-income areas.

To be eligible for CDE funding, a project must be in a neighborhood or tract considered low-income in the most recent census. Continue reading