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From Unemployment to Entrepreneurship
Michael Baher found himself in a situation we are all too familiar with these days… unemployment. He constantly searched the classifieds and interviewed with local companies, but wasn’t satisfied with the available positions. He then decided to put fate in his own hands and become a small business owner.
Michael and his wife Cheryl saw a need for a packing and shipping store that would be open for extended hours and allow customers the capability to compare shipping rates. The duo started researching franchise opportunities, but quickly realized the upfront cost just wouldn’t work for them. They decided to open an independent store where they had the flexibility to ship with all carriers instead of just one.
Michael and Cheryl emptied their 401k and embarked on a great adventure. In November of 2010, that adventure took on the West Virginia friendly name of Mountain State Pack & Ship, LLC.
Michael and Cheryl were able to open Mountain State Pack & Ship with no financial loans. In 2011, after having a successful first year, the owners were ready to grow the business and expand their services. After visiting multiple banks, the two found themselves in a difficult situation. They were being turned down for loans because the business, that had shown growth since the day it opened, had no credit history.
Michael and Cheryl, who have always banked locally, had a change in luck when they met with Shelby Cain and Mike White from Huntington Bank. They were able to get the husband-wife business team set up with a loan through the SBA 7(a) Fa$track loan guarantee program.
“Mountain State Pack & Ship was an ideal customer for Huntington Bank to introduce the SBA 7(a) loan guarantee program to,” said Mike White, Vice President of Huntington Bank. “They were a good customer and we were happy we could help them out in their early stage of growth.”
In just a couple of weeks, with the help of the loan guarantee from the SBA, Michael and Cheryl were able to purchase equipment they needed in order to expand their business. “The SBA was there and backed us when no one else would,” stated Michael. “The process was quick and painless and I only have good things to say about the SBA program. It just made sense for us!”
Mountain State Pack & Ship employs two part-time employees on a regular basis. During their busy season, around Christmas, they employ five full-time employees. The business started out as a packing and shipping company however, with the SBA loan guarantee program they have expanded and now offer even more services. With capital from the loan, the company was able to purchase a foam-in-place machine that allows them to ship fragile items safely and cost effectively, and a wide format printer to enlarge photographs and print banners.