Hi, my name is Ricki McGuire. I am president of Optitek, Incorporated, and we are located in St. Louis, Missouri. We have taken advantage of the SBA loan program three times during our 20 years in existence. The first time that we took advantage was the SBA 7(a) loan program back in 1996, which allowed us to move out of my family room at my house and into the offices we are still in today.
The second instance in which we took advantage of an SBA program was the Disaster Recovery Loan that we had to acquire in September of 2009. That was an instance in which a creek backed up in the St. Louis area because we had a lot of rains. I remember trying to drive down a road and the police had it blocked off and I am thinking, Oh those poor businesses, because the floodwaters were up really high. It did not dawn on me until Sunday evening that I have boxes down there, what am I going to do. Monday morning we grabbed refrigerator trucks, we head to the locker storage and we put them in the trucks and freeze them and then I have to find a locker that will also accommodate these boxes so we can keep them frozen until we have time to dry them out and scan them and get them to the customers, which we did, so that program saved us.
My third and most recent instance with the SBA program was another 7(a) loan, which I acquired in May of last year. This program allowed us to hire additional salespeople, buy some new equipment, and just keep rolling with the business that we already had. It has benefited the St. Louis community, obviously, by keeping people employed and not having to have massive lay-offs.