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This story appears in the November 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The way O. David Dickson had it figured, his five-vehicle ambulance company needed a new headquarters station in Warrenton, Oregon, if he was going to cover his corner of the state properly. So when the right facility hit the market in late 1996, Dickson jumped at the opportunity to buy it. Not only did the available facility offer space for a sixth ambulance and crew, but it also had ample room for a dispatch center and training facility.

There was just one hitch: money. The price of the facility was $200,000, and when Dickson put everything he had on the line, his bank would only lend him $140,000. "If I couldn't get the other $60,000, I'd lose the deal," Dickson, 53, recalls. "There were two other buyers behind me."

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