Empowering Veteran-Owned Businesses
Empowering Veteran-Owned Businesses
Teamwork. Risk management. Leadership. Problem solving.
Just a few of the many skills military personnel develop during their service. It is this same skillset that has traditionally made veterans who transition into small business ownership successful entrepreneurs.
According to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), veterans account for nearly 10% of the nation’s small business owners. In 2017, these veteran-owned businesses employed 5.03 million people, had an annual payroll of $195 billion and had $1.14 trillion in receipts.
Following the SBA’s lead, Coastal Community Capital — a community development lender based on Cape Cod — has been proactive in providing loans and mentoring to local veterans who are either venturing into entrepreneurship for the first time or trying to take their small business to the next level. In Fiscal Year 2018, eight percent of the Massachusetts small businesses who received 5+ hours of service from Coastal were owned by veterans.
“Veterans are an integral part of our small business community and we are committed to empowering them to succeed,” said Jeannine Marshall, President of Coastal Community Capital.
The Plum Porch
One of these businesses is The Plum Porch in Marstons Mills, owned by sisters Samantha Leonard and Corrie Mays. Building a business on Cape Cod was a mutual dream of the two sisters, but for Mays it was a challenge. She was still on active duty for the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed with her husband — a former captain in the Marine Corps — in Pensacola, Florida.
The first female Marine Blue Angel and an officer in the Marine Corps, Mays was due to move back to Cape Cod when her active duty ended. Like many veterans exploring options beyond their life in the military, she felt certain that entering the growing ranks of veteran-owned small businesses was the right move for her.
Fate stepped in when Mays and Leonard learned that Plum Porch, a boutique gift shop in Marstons Mills, was up for sale. While they knew this was the opportunity they had been waiting for, the two sisters had no experience in commercial lending. They were having difficulty finding a lender who was willing to provide business asset financing and guide them through the challenging loan process. Eventually, a residential lender referred Mays to Coastal Community Capital.
Coastal educated and coached Mays and Leonard on the complexities of commercial borrowing. In addition to education, Coastal provided structural options for purchasing the business and real estate at different times, which allowed Mays to open the store before the busy Christmas season. “We didn’t find that with any other lenders we had approached,” Mays said. “Coastal Community Capital understood our intent and our situation, and they wanted to get to know us. They personalized the experience for us, and the entire process felt very much like a true partnership,”
Less than eight weeks after the sisters approached Coastal Community Capital, the sisters opened the doors of the Plum Porch.
DJ’s Famous Wings
Dennis Carlin, who owns the two DJ’s Famous Wings locations on Cape Cod with his wife Eithne — said the time he served in the United States Army taught him discipline, honor and duty — all of which he believes helped contribute to his eventual success as a restaurant owner. “Those qualities helped me build, expand and maintain DJ’s Famous Wings for 30 years,” Dennis said.
First opened in Hyannis in 1989, DJ’s Wings has grown to be a staple on the Cape Cod dining scene for its award-winning wings, along with its reputation as a popular sports bar. The success of their Hyannis location led the Carlins to open a second location in Falmouth in 2013.
Their challenge came in 2017, when they were told that the building they’d been leasing for their Hyannis restaurant was going up for sale.
Faced with the prospect of potentially having to close their thriving Hyannis location, the Carlins approached Coastal Community Capital, who they credit as being the catalyst in their dream of purchasing the DJ’s Hyannis building. “Without them, I do not believe this wonderful opportunity could have happened,” Dennis said. “As a veteran, I appreciate Coastal Community Capital as champions of veteran business owners who served their country.”
Former U.S. Marine Corps Captain Luke Chapman’s military service had set him up for entrepreneurial success. During his years of service, he was responsible for the deployment training of 130 marines, supervised the operational completion of 350+ combat convoy security missions, and was awarded two Navy Achievement medals for leadership excellence.
Coupled with an MBA from Dartmouth college and a professional career that included business management and strategy, the Marine Corps veteran felt fully prepared in 2015 to take on his next challenge: owning and operating his own business. That business — Del Mar Vacations — helps vacation homeowners manage the often challenging task of renting out their property by providing 100% hands-off vacation home management.
Del Mar’s sales and profits grew steadily in the first few years and established a strong client retention rate. Chapman said the next natural step was to solidify the business with the purchase of the Orleans office building he had been leasing as the company’s headquarters.
But he faced a unique dilemma — how to capitalize the company to effectively minimize risk and costs. Working with the lending team at Cape Cod Five, Chapman connected with Coastal Community Capital to ensure an optimal loan to value ratio. Requiring only 10% down payment, it was determined the SBA 504 program was best suited Del Mar’s needs.
“As a small business owner, being able to take on capital projects like this — without needing to spend huge amounts of time on paperwork — is crucial,” Chapman said.
Chapman projects that 35 full-time equivalent jobs will be created in the next two years as the business continues to grow, and has already created an additional 10 full-time jobs in 2018. He further reflects he’s been able to support 5 of his year-round employees in purchasing and 3 in renting homes locally.
About Coastal Community Capital
The Centerville-based Coastal Community Capital is a community development lender providing capital statewide. Since inception, Coastal has supported Massachusetts businesses, providing many millions of dollars in loans and creating and retaining over 5,000 jobs. Coastal lends directly, and if necessary, partners with the SBA providing up to 25 year, low, fixed interest rates for real estate acquisition and debt refi. Loans range from $5,000 to $20,000,000. Coastal also provides business training through one-on-one mentoring and year-round workshops. Coastal is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution and by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Certified Development Corporation. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information, or to apply for a loan online, visit CoastalCommuityCapital.org.
To learn more about Coastal Community Capital and its loan programs and mentoring opportunities for veterans considering small business ownership, contact 508-362-3755.
Financial support provided by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.