Helping people achieve their dreams.
What are you passionate about? Pizza? Flowers? Pets?
First Mid Bank & Trust Decatur Community President, John West, is passionate about Small Business Administration loans and because of SBA lending he has been able to help people achieve their dreams of owning businesses.
“First Mid’s goal is to help people achieve their dreams, grow local employment and improve the local economy,” John said. He also noted that businesses can benefit from SBA’s more flexible loan terms, such as lower down payments and longer amortizations. And because of John’s familiarity with SBA lending, he has helped many local entrepreneurs navigate through the documentation process.
When John first became heavily involved with SBA loans in 2008-2010, the SBA had recently established the America’s Recovery Capital loan program and John concentrated on using this program to help over twenty clients. These loans helped ease cash flow for businesses through the recession.
John has utilized his experience to discuss SBA lending to local municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and accounting firms. This has led to many referrals from these sources which have helped cement First Mid’s reputation as a business bank. He has happily watched the success of several of his first SBA borrowers as they retired their SBA loans and continue to grow their businesses.
“These SBA loans allow us to help out entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional lending due to lack of collateral, the business being a start-up, or for other reasons,” said John. “The SBA lending programs provide the support to allow the bank to finance customers who have acceptable experience in the industry and personal financial history, and who dream of owning their own business.”
Jared Wilson, owner of HomeSpec Corp. in Decatur, said, “Getting a Small Business Administration loan from First Mid made the transition much smoother as my boss retired and I took over the business. The SBA loan made it possible for me to become the owner and to continue doing what we’ve done for years.”
What are some SBA success stories?
A wide variety of different businesses credit the SBA loans they obtained with the help of First Mid for helping them start or purchase their businesses.
Building up a business
Two long-term employees of Huff Lumber were able to purchase the business from the former owner, thanks to an SBA loan.
“Without First Mid, we wouldn’t have been able to keep this business locally owned. First Mid helped us obtain our dream of owning the business by utilizing the Small Business Administration loan program. The staff at First Mid have been wonderful throughout the whole process.” — Michael Couch, General Manager, and Shawn Spain, Assistant General Manager
On the road to success
The new business owner was able to purchase an existing automotive accessory business, The Truck Stop, and keep it locally owned with the help of an SBA loan.
“When I was ready to buy The Truck Stop, it was important for me to partner with a bank that is committed to developing local businesses. It’s a pleasure to work with the entire First Mid team. With their guidance and assistance from start to finish, I’ve obtained a Small Business Administration guaranteed loan to make my dream a reality.” — Adam Waller, owner
Coincidentally, the young man who started The Pizza Factory has a brother who also owns a pizza restaurant, which was also financed through First Mid, making this a family tradition.
“Working with First Mid has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The staff is always there to help answer any questions I have. They have helped make my first year in business a huge success!” — Josh Crawford, owner
A pet project
Ruff-Inn-It, a full-service pet day-care and grooming shop was started by a brother and sister who love animals and saw a need for this business.
“After we decided to build this family business from the ground up, First Mid made a big financial undertaking feel less intimidating. The process was seamless. John is very easy to work with and has helped us make our childhood dream come true!” – Shelley Phillips and Randy Doty, co-owners
A budding business
This floral shop, The Bloom Room, was already running when the new owners bought it using an SBA loan, thus keeping it open and locally owned.
“We are so thankful to have had First Mid on our side during the purchase of our business. They were helpful, insightful, and really helped walk us through the process. Our first year in business was less stressful knowing that we could ask questions and get advice.” — Kaylee and Alec Johnston, owners
What about the long-term success of business with SBA loans?
SBA loans have helped shape the business community. Some success stories from seven years ago include:
- University Dogs is a hot dog restaurant in Decatur. The bank was able to finance this startup thanks to the SBA loan program. Seven years later, the restaurant is thriving, and people love it!
- Wethington Flowers is another local business that needed the assistance of SBA financing to help purchase an existing business.
What’s the secret to helping businesses obtain SBA loans?
“Having a well laid out business plan and acceptable personal credit history,” West said. “We try and help customers who have a solid understanding of the industry and have maintained their personal finances. If you have this solid foundation, we will have a good chance to help you obtain financing.”
Is an SBA loan right for your business?
What’s your passion? Are you interested in turning it into a business with an SBA loan from First Mid? Watch customer testimonial videos and learn more here.
Talk to us to help you get started!