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Oregon District Office
601 SW Second Avenue Suite 950
Portland, OR 97204
United States
Phone: 503-326-2682
Fax: 503-326-2808
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Small Business Achieves Growth with 504 Loan

Drew acquired working knowledge and business savvy while attending high school and college working in his father's business, Eugene Tile Company. After college, he was asked by his father and brother to go into business with them, and they opened a tile distribution warehouse and retail store. He continued with the family owned business for another three years. After discussing the idea in-depth with his wife and other people, Drew decided to start his own business.

Drew established Intrepid International in 1993, operating from his home. For three years, Drew worked as a sole proprietor establishing a strong customer and supplier base. Drew's knowledge and experience in the industry allowed him to build an excellent reputation within his field. Drew has taken his small home based business to a company that had revenues in excess of $6,000,000 last year and is on target to reach $7,000,000 by this year-end. His profits have grown to an impressive $700,000 for the year ended 12/31/02. Intrepid has grown from a small two-employee company (Drew and his wife, Leslie) to a current staff of 20 in ten short years.
In 1996, Drew incorporated and established Intrepid International, Inc. d.b.a. Intrepid Marble & Granite. At that time, he established a banking relationship with Key Bank. He opened his company account with a check for $300,000, which represented his entire working capital fund. While working capital was limited his ideas, drive and love of his business were not. He immediately opened a small office, showroom and warehouse facility and Intrepid International, Inc. was well on its way. He turned his focus to natural stone at that time, discontinuing ceramic tile sales. He continued to promote the sale of slab material to the remodel and cabinet industries. Eventually the company moved into a larger facility, leasing a total of 17,000 square feet, which included warehouse space for his ever-increasing inventory of marble and natural stone products. Drew was unable to lease all the space he needed in one building and had to work around having two leased facilities. It soon became apparent that even this amount of space would not be large enough to meet the growing demand for marble and stone, and Drew began to look at building sites to purchase.
Between the fall of 2001 and the summer of 2002, yet another milestone was reached by Intrepid. They purchased and completed the remodeling of a 30,000 square foot building, located in inner Southeast Portland. The building houses both the offices and warehouse space. Key Bank provided the funding for both the purchase of the building and the refurbishing via a SBA 504 loan.
While growing and diversifying his company, Drew remains active in his community. During the past year, he assisted his local parish in the construction of a new church. He participates in Cancer Society of America, Doernbecher Children's Hospital and Kids Soccer programs. He is an active member of the Homebuilders Association, Remodelers of Oregon Association and National Association of Credit Manager. He is a very involved family man with his wife and four children.

Dry Cleaner's Prom Dress Bank Helps those in Need

Jodi and Dan Bittick purchased One Hour Martinizing in Medford in 1998. The operation does dry cleaning, repairs, alterations, preservation and laundry. Both Jodi and Dan worked for big business in Utah and wanted to own their own business. Dry-cleaning was a natural choice since Jodi's grandfather and her father owned and operated a dry cleaning business. Jodi and her siblings often helped with the family business.

In the four years as owners of the Medford store, the Bitticks had increased their market and wanted to expand by purchasing a new, larger capacity washer and dryer. The owners couldn't get a bank loan, because the loan request was too small. Roger Harding of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Grants Pass, and their instructor in the Rogue Community College Small Business Management Program, referred them to Dennis Davis, the Loan Fund Manager at Southern Oregon Women’s Access to Credit (SOWAC) Business Training and Lending in Medford, Oregon.
"Dennis Davis was very helpful... we really enjoyed working with him," said the Bitticks. Davis assisted them to update their Business Plan and worked with them to get approval for the loan. After they were funded for the equipment, Davis encouraged them to take part in the SOWAC Marketing Roundtable program with Kimberly Ward. For six months, they met with other entrepreneurs, exchanged ideas and worked out a Marketing Plan with one-on-one instruction.
The key to the new plan was to increase their customer base and maximize their new larger capacity washer and dryer. They chose to offer coupons to existing customers for a discount on dry cleaning larger items. The business is thriving. When they first opened in 1998, only Dan and Jodi worked full time. Now in 2003 they employ three full time people, plus themselves, a total of five full time and two part time. Yearly gross sales have more than tripled.
When asked about obstacles they had overcome, Jodi laughed, "There are obstacles every day! Either equipment or management issues keep us busy." Their business strength, Jodi thought, was their exceptional customer service.
They have recently made a unique addition to their business and contribution to the community with the "Prom Dress Bank." Jodi went to the school counselors and shared ideas about how to let students know about the stock of prom gowns that students could own by exchanging a can of food for the Food Bank. This stock of prom gowns, to be ready for distribution in March, is open to any student who is, for whatever reason, not able to afford a dress. Jodi felt that health issues, family issues, low income, etc. all qualified students to receive one of these dresses. Jodi initiated this project to give something back to the community that has helped their dry cleaning business thrive.

SBDC and Other Resource Partners Help Small Business Owner with Business Plan, Access to Funds

Allen Surgeon had a vision to run a mill efficiently and profitably. As owner of Rogue Valley Fuel, he has been in the wood products industry for 20 years and gotten used to rolling with the punches." When drastic changes hit the logging industry and Environmental concerns reshaped the industry, Allen had to diversify. He purchased used equipment from mills that closed, and began offering a wide range of products using small diameter logs. His products are wood blocks, chips, posts and poles, bark and sawdust. His success in business has been guided by extensive industry experience. He continually applies the lessons he learned about the most efficient ways to run a mill profitably.

This success story is a team effort, which includes the Grants Pass Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Oregon Department of Economic Development (OECDD), Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI) And Southern Oregon Womens Access to Credit (SOWAC). Roger Harding from the Grants Pass SBDC called SOWAC requesting help for one of his clients who needed to write a business plan in a hurry. Roger and Bruce Laird from OECDD went to visit Allen's business and recognized the possibilities. Allen owns and operates a mill that processes small diameter logs. He needed some new equipment in order to expand the business. The Oregon Department of Economic Development was encouraging him to expand in order to create new jobs and make use of the small logs, which are available for harvest. Bob Bueoy, Loan Fund Manager at SOREDI thought it sounded like a good loan prospect, but needed to see a written business plan before moving forward with the loan application. Roger's call to SOWAC resulted in Allen working with Ruth Painter, one of the business coaches at SOWAC. Working together they completed the plan in four weeks, presented it to SOREDI, followed up with a little more research and writing at the request of the lender, took it back again and got the loan.
Allens operation also qualifies for some grant funding because of its potential to add jobs to the local community. He was able to use the business plan to apply for a grant to fund a Dowelling Mill to add even greater efficiency and more employment.
Since the loan, he has brought power to the mill site, set up a web site, and cleared out semi-trailers of firewood. This product has to be phased out because his orders for wood blocks and post and poles have increased from the web site as well as from many new referrals within the industry. He has gone from two full time employees, plus himself, to four full time employees. One part time position has been increased to two part time slots. His monthly sales have doubled. His goal is to have the mill expanded, rebuilt equipment in place, and ready to supply his wood block contracts in January 2004. Allens business is a real plus to his rural community and continually works with and mentors other loggers in Southern Oregon.

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