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Small Business Owner Receives Help from SBA Resource Partners, Receives Loans

A local firm specializing in custom wrought iron doors will soon open its doors in Jefferson County, Alabama. The new facility will create 30 new manufacturing jobs that were previously part of Mexican plant who custom manufactured the doors on a outsource basis.

“I agree it is a little strange in this day and age to return manufacturing from a lower wage foreign location back to the USA,” Eduardo Cuneo, the owner and local entrepreneuer of Old Iron Doors, LLC. “But the fact is for the custom work we do, Old Iron Doors wanted complete quality control on site here.”

“In this way, Cueno went on, “We could avoid having to re-work costly mistakes or simple changes from the foreign plant, not to mention eliminating the high transport costs for moving the semi-finished product from Mexico to Birmingham.”

Old Iron Doors is a custom design and manufacturing enterprise and one of two businesses owned by Cueno, who is originally from Lima, Peru. He moved to Alabama after marrying an Alabama girl. His other firm, which specializes in industrial and commercial security operations, actually owns the site for the new plant and the 504 SBA loan for its building. Old Iron Doors now employs 20 local workers.

Our new building houses a state-of-the-art machine that mechanizes the entire custom door manufacturing,” Cueno emphasized. “The new machine actually eliminates the need for welding in the manufacturing process, and thereby increases quality.”

In Cureno’s view, another important aspect to returning his product manufacturing to the USA was to improve the quality of life for his employees. “Many of my employees and I had to spend so much time on the road to produce our final product: this change now allows us to work from home – Alabama,” he said.

Old Iron Doors now can claim to produce a 100% American-made product. “We hope to move to making windows to complement our custom doors,” Eduardo said. The company uses a network of 14 distributors around the country. It has offices and showrooms in Atlanta, Birmingham, Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas.

The Alabama International Trade Center at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, assisted us greatly. Its counseling and packaging enabled us to make this change rapidly, and those move to a better quality product for our customers,” he added. Carol DeCastra at the AITC worked up a financial plan that eventually attracted a bank willing to work with AITC and Old Iron Doors to do the $770,000 loan.

Capital for new business investment. Higher quality products. And new jobs for Alabama – a great combination. Congratulations, Old Iron Doors. We salute you.