SBA-backed loan helps basketball player build facility to train the next generation of athletes
Matt Miller, a native of Aurora, Ill., played basketball in college and later professionally in the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Germany, and Rwanda.
He always enjoyed coaching children and leading training camps. When he came home and started to offer private instruction, he saw his classes grow from one to 30, to hundreds of students, and he knew he had a successful business model.
After about eight years in business, M14 Hoops was running out of space. Miller had been renting three gyms and the logistics of not having a central business location were challenging. He felt at the mercy of someone else’s business – if they needed their own gym, they couldn’t rent it out to him. He was also eager to develop his own marketing and brand image that wasn’t tied to another business.
In 2014, Miller started working with the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center and a bookkeeper to get his financials in order.
The process of securing a loan was a long one, but Miller ultimately secured a $1.9 million SBA-guaranteed 504 loan through Wessex 504, a Certified Development Company, and Chase Bank.
Miller also sought assistance from the Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora.
“SBDC is a great resource and gave me the guidance and knowledge on how to do the things I didn’t know about building a new facility for my business,” Miller said in a news article. “They truly care about your success and give you the confidence that you’re doing it right.”
The funds allowed Miller to open a nearly 40,000-square-foot training facility in Aurora that includes four courts, a weight room, a parent lounge, and offices. M14 Hoops offers private instruction, team training, and camps and clinics for kids of all ages. The center trains more than 2,000 athletes annually.
M14 Hoops has grown from six employees in 2014 to 15 employees in 2018. Sales also grew from $765,000 in 2014 to more than $900,000 in 2016.
Miller was a nominee for Illinois Small Business Person of the Year in 2018.