For 25 years a Montpelier shop on River Street and its owner have been fulfilling the paint needs of its local residents.
Being in business for 25 years is significant for a man who said he did not have the drive to open his own business and was happy working at a paint store in Massachusetts.
“I promised myself I would never start my own business or subject my family to the stress of owning business,” said Bill McQuiggan, True Colors owner. “But as I became more comfortable about managing, I came to the realization that with enough capital and the right situation I could start my own home decorating business.”
McQuiggan decided to attend a small business round table offered by Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration to see how they could assist him.
“The program encouraged entrepreneurs to submit prepared business plans for review before the round table,” he said. “The board consisted of local bankers, insurance agents and other local business people. The board members asked questions about my business plan. Questions were asked about liabilities, financing, etc. Some questions were very hard. After three meetings with these business professionals, I was ready to present my package to the banks for financing.”
McQuiggan secured an SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan to start True Colors in 1989 and an additional SBA loan in 1991 to further expand his business. A 7(a) loan is the most basic and most commonly used type of SBA loan. The financing can be used for a variety of general business purposes, such as real estate, working capital, inventory, machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures.
The 25 years have not always been rosy and McQuiggan was not always sure True Colors was going to succeed.
“The first five years were very touch and go, even the best laid plans can go bad. I think moving to my present location definitely helped True Colors to grow. Buying the building we are in definitely helped us to establish future security. True Colors has survived many obstacles through its 25 years. Tight cash flow, moving to the current location, road construction, two recessions, and issues with major suppliers opening up new competition are just a few of the obstacles we had to overcome. I think diversity is the key for small business survival today.”
In the fall of 2014, True Colors celebrated its 25th anniversary. McQuiggan invited friends, families, politicians and past associates who assisted him along the way, including the Small Business Administration.
The SBA Vermont District Deputy Director, Vallerie Morse attended the celebration. Morse was the lender relations specialist who assisted McQuiggan with his loan in 1989.
“The SBA has had a long relationship with True Colors. It was very thoughtful of Bill to invite us to his 25th anniversary celebration. I’m glad I played a small role in his business’ success,” said Morse.
McQuiggan believes his relationship with Montpelier, is True Colors’ greatest achievement.
“True Colors has become a viable part of life in Montpelier. We have donated to many local nonprofits and events. I get great pleasure giving back to the community. It is really cool to see repeat customers that have been coming to True Colors for many years.”