A cornerstone of CCNY’s mission and philosophy is to make small businesses bankable and to provide an on-ramp to the main stream financial system. To that effect, we partner with banks and financial institutions throughout the Hudson Valley who refer businesses to us that just miss the qualifiers of ‘traditional’ bank loans. CCNY provides the business an opportunity to prove themselves by establishing and growing their operations so that eventually they DO meet the criteria of a financial institution who will at that point be able to extend capital and help the business grow even further. Last month, this exact and “ideal” scenario played itself out, and CCNY could not be happier!!! Mission 100% accomplished. Here is the story – including “happily ever after” from the beginning:
In May 2012, Mike Hoffmann established and started Empire Medical Transportation, a taxi and non-emergency medical transportation business in Pleasant Valley, NY investing his own capital. In June, Mike approached the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU) with a loan request to increase the business’ fleet of cars from 9 to 18. The credit union (like the vast majority of financial institutions) was unable to entertain a loan request since the business had not yet been operating for two years, but branch manager Jean-Marie Gillette referred Mike to Community Capital. Mike applied for a startup loan and, after the typical underwriting and vetting process, CCNY’s loan committee approved the request. The capital infusion allowed Mike to double his fleet of cars and to increase the business’ employees from 16 drivers to 32 as well as adding a mechanic and two office workers.
The business kept growing steadily and in April 2013 Mike was presented with the opportunity to increase his fleet by adding fuel efficient Toyota Camrys. Mike had negotiated a financing package with Toyota, but was in need of capital for the down payment on three vehicles as well as four additional pre-owned vehicles. Still not meeting the “two years in business” benchmark, Mike approached CCNY with another loan request and after again being thoroughly vetted, was granted additional funds that were vital in the continued growth of the business.
“Empire Medical Transportation had all the crucial elements of becoming a successful business: an experienced, driven owner, demonstrable market opportunity and cash flow as well as a great location; all that was needed was an infusion of capital to help the business get established and grow and CCNY was able to fill that need” says Fernando Ahumada, Loan Associate at CCNY. Simone assisted the business through the application process, provided guidance and business development services throughout the life of the loan and continues to do so even beyond the loan pay-off, since we strongly believe that access to knowledge is as essential as access to capital.
In March 2014, Mike proudly filed the second year of tax returns for his still young and explosively growing business, which in 2013 almost doubled gross sales over the previous year. Equipped with this 2-year history, and news that one of Empire’s major competitors was being shut down (leaving the market wide open for even further growth for the business), Mike circled back to the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union to request a larger loan that would enable the business to repay CCNY and add additional vehicles to support the company’s incredible growth. The credit union, taking into account the business’ history and track record of on-time loan repayments as well as the potential for continued growth, approved the request and offered a term loan as well as line of credit which now enable Mike to add 13 additional vehicles.
According to Domenic Baiocco, Business Loan Officer at HVFCU, “The strong relationship between Mike and HVFCU Branch Manager Jean-Marie Gillette was instrumental in allowing me to identify how HVFCU could help Mike achieve his goals. After meeting with Mike, it was clear to me how dedicated and capable he was in being ready to manage significant growth. I spoke to an HVFCU business underwriter and within minutes we knew we could help Mike with his financing needs. ”
CCNY was crucial to getting Empire Medical Transportation off the ground, and establishing a track record, both from an operational and growth perspective as well as a repayment history. CCNY enabled Empire Medical to grow from nine cars with 16 drivers to a fleet of 42 cars with a pool of 70 drivers, and in addition increase the total number of full-time employees from 4 to 16 over two years. The business tripled the number of phone lines and will start to operate a second location at the train station in Beacon in May 2014. Mike’s next goal is to purchase a facility in Poughkeepsie and we are certain that he will succeed!
Mike states that “CCNY was instrumental in the success of Empire Transportation. I’m deeply appreciative that CCNY enabled us to achieve what we have today! A particular thanks to Simone, who worked so hard to facilitate all the aspects of this journey.”
Mission accomplished!!! We are immensely proud of Mike and Empire Medical Transportation and thank the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union for a wonderful partnership!