The odds weren't in Robbie and Paula Vallejos' favor. But after months of diligence, the couple secured a $165,000 bank loan to buy a Steak-Out franchise.
After 13 years with the U.S. Marine Corps, Robbie, 38, moved with his wife, Paula, 37, back to her native South Carolina with the intention of buying a franchise.
To prepare himself, Robbie worked in a relative's Steak-Out restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama, for three months. But Atlanta-based Steak-Out Franchising Inc. was reluctant to award a franchise to a couple who had no business background and probably couldn't raise the $217,000 in start-up costs.
But the Vallejoses did their homework. "Paula and I researched the Rock Hill area, collecting information on the local economy, demographics, population growth and industry," Robbie recalls. "We got a lot of direction and help with our business plan from the chamber of commerce and the SBA."
By the end of 1995, the couple had raised $52,000, and asked the Bank of York for the balance. "We presented an impressive proposal supported with lots of documentation from Steak-Out," says Robbie. Three months later, they got the money, and by December of 1996, they were open for business.
Steak-Out was so impressed, in fact, the company drafted Robbie to help other franchisees prepare their loan packages.
Now, two years later, the Vallejoses' full-meal delivery franchise is grossing $11,500 a week. Guess they were a good risk after all.
Business Capital Resources, (800) 572-8398, firstname.lastname@example.org
Precision Auto Care Inc. (headquarters), (800) 438-8863, http://www.precisionac.com
Primrose School, (813) 641-9555, email@example.com
Steak-Out, 990 W. Main St., Rock Hill, SC 29730, (803) 329-8611