A sixteen percent profit margin increase is an impressive figure for any small business in today’s economy. What makes this figure even more impressive is that it took Richard Van Bortel, owner of Amazing Event Rentals, only six months to accomplish this feat.
Van Bortel, a 22-year veteran and former Marine Corps First Sergeant, purchased the event rental store in June 2018 from its former owner and founder Andy Burris who decided to sell the company after a three-year period of steadily declining profits. Van Bortel had been the company’s general manager since its inception nine years earlier overseeing day-to-day activities. “I had the first-hand knowledge to run the company, the only thing standing in my way was finding the money to make the purchase,” Van Bortel said.
So after being turned down by two banks, Van Bortel contacted Martin Goodman, a consultant with the Beaufort Area SBDC. “I had worked with Martin for a brief time in 2002 and my impression was that he had the knowledge, contacts and determination to help make things happen for me,” said Van Bortel.
“I helped Richard with his business plan, financial projections and details of various loan programs available to him based on the scope of his business need. I suggested he apply for an SBA loan as part of his dealings with his banker. We had many conversations about requests from the bank as the loan progressed through the approval process,” Goodman said.
Their diligence paid-off when Van Bortel was awarded an SBA loan for $2.5 million through Ameris Bank. This left a $160,000 shortfall which Van Bortel was able to raise through combining personal savings with generous gifts of family and friends. Van Bortel is grateful for Goodman’s assistance. “If not for Martin, I probably would still be tangling with banks trying to find a lender. Instead, I run a dynamic company that employees 44 local residents and is targeted to post a 24 percent increase in profits by the end of 2019.”