SBA Helps E-Commerce Business Keep Clicking
(Des Moines, IOWA) -- Clickstop Inc., an E-commerce retailer, in Urbana, Iowa continues to expand and the company credits the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for help in making that growth possible.
The growth of Clickstop and its flagship brand, US Cargo Control.com, has once again fueled the need for expansion of the company's facilities. A new 42,750 foot warehouse addition was just completed in December of 2012, marking the second major building project in less than two years. The company had built a new 35,000 square foot headquarters building in Urbana in March of 2011, construction of which was made possible in part by the SBA’s 504 loan program. The 504 program provides small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing, that, in addition to other uses of proceeds, allows them to modernize or expand facilities or machinery. When it came time to build the new warehouse addition, the 504 loan program was again utilized.
Clickstop CEO Tim Guenther started the company in 2005 by selling tie down straps, moving supplies, and other cargo control products on its USCargoControl.com website. In addition to utilizing the SBA’s 504 program to help expand the business, Clickstop has also used SBA’s 7(a) loan program to help finance working capital. It’s the 504 program though, that Tim credits the most for helping his company grow.
Tim says the SBA 504 loan program has been so helpful in his company’s continued expansion, that he wanted to share information about the program with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. To that end, Clickstop has put together an 12 part video series to inform other small businesses about the 504 program and help guide them through the process in applying for the program.
“We’re often asked about how we used the SBA 504 program, so we thought creating a series of videos would be a great way to share what we’ve learned about the program,” Tim says. “We really hope it can help other small businesses learn about the program and navigate the process from beginning to end.”
Business interested in viewing the video series can go to:
Since the company first started with one employee in 2005, Clickstop’s annual sales have increased an average of 61 percent each year and the company currently has more than 50 full- and part-time employees on staff. Clickstop now operates 13 different websites selling a variety of merchandise to diverse markets that include the moving and cargo control industry, energy efficient insulation products, home organizing solutions, and personal fashion and styling. For more information on Clickstop, visit the company’s website at:
(DES MOINES, Iowa) – In recognition of the small business community’s contributions to the American economy and society, the President of the United States designates one week each year as National Small Business Week. Scheduled for the week of May 20th of this year, Small Business Week 2012 will honor the more than 26 million small businesses in America. Since its establishment in 1963, the highlight of this annual tradition is the presentation of awards which focus on the outstanding contributions of small business persons and champions at the district, state and national levels. The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Tim Greene, of Quality Machine of Iowa in Audubon, Iowa as its 2012 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year.
Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc. grew out of a company started by Tim Greene’s father, Bill. He started Quality Machine, Inc. in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tim worked at the company while growing up. The company survived through hard times but needed to diversify, so Bill persuaded Tim to start managing part of the business in 1983. When Bill died suddenly one year later, Tim took over the company at the age of 25.
In 1994, skilled labor was scarce in Minneapolis, plus the city's zoning laws wouldn't allow the company to increase its facilities. Tim started looking for an alternate location, and with the help of a friend, found a 45,000 square foot facility with room to grow in Audubon, Iowa. Most of the workforce relocated to Audubon but Tim retained the smaller production division in Minnesota for support. In 2004, Quality Machine, Inc. became Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc. by merging companies and making the Iowa Division the company's parent location.
Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc. is an advanced manufacturing business that does precision machining of metal parts. Its products include oxygen conversion devices, military munitions for tanks and flares for helicopters, components for OEM parts, hydraulic valves, service tools used for both agriculture and automotive equipment, and more. Some of the well-known brands that have parts made by Quality Machine of Iowa are Polaris, Toro, Arctic Cat, American Crane, Bobcat, Eaton, Owatonna Tool Co., Phillips Plastics, Fastenal, Chemring Ordnance, Day & Zimmerman and Kilgore Flares. The company indirectly exports because many of the finished products are purchased by other countries.
Tim purchased additional equipment and expanded company services in order to maintain strength within the industry. The company added over three million dollars of equipment at the Audubon plant, and redesigned the production layout to be more efficient and more competitive globally. However, all of this was costly and Tim was soon looking for a solution.
Tim found the help he needed at the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Regional Center Director Lisa Shimkat helped Tim restructure his existing debt and determine his debt service going forward. Tim has also used several SBA guaranteed loans to help put his business in a position for future success.
Currently, Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc. has 55 full-time employees with an average weekly wage of $784 and annual sales of $7,000,000. The company has a diverse set of jobs that offer great working conditions and skills advancement opportunities. Tim and his employees have had a considerable economic impact on the area's schools, businesses, and communities, plus the company pays thousands of dollars in local property taxes each year. Tim and his wife, Deda, have built a company with a positive work culture and a strong commitment to excellence.
As the 2012 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year, Tim will represent Iowa at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C. May 20-26, 2011 where he will compete for the National Award. Tim was nominated for this award by Lisa Shimkat, regional director of the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center in Fort Dodge.
For more information on Small Business Week 2012, visit www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com
Lu Spaine, an African-American business owner of the widely-known business, Zumi Collections LLC, in Des Moines, Iowa, turned her love of fabrics and vibrant colors into a shop at 42nd and University, which she fills with imported merchandise from around the world. Lu Spaine grew up in Des Moines. Her West Coast career in computers came to an end due to corporate downsizing so she started a business in Los Angeles. When her mother fell ill back home, she moved her business home, too. She sells women’s clothing, accessories, home decor and Fair Trade products from Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. Spaine was one of the 20 “ready for growth” small business owners chosen to participate in the 2011 SBA E-200 program through the Des Moines District SBA office. The program allowed her to take an in-depth, long term look at her business in order to navigate both temporary challenges and rapid growth.
Entrepreneur Lu Spaine and Region 7 SBA Administrator talk about her experience with the SBA’s E-200 Program earlier this year in Des Moines.
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