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Fast Track How one company's unique way of raising money is getting them the capital they need to grow their business

By C.J. Prince

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Name and age: Mark McCain, 36
Company and description:Three Lakes Winery is a fruit and berry wineryin Three Lakes, Wisconsin.
2000 sales: $700,000
No. of employees: Six full-timers, six part-timers
Amount of capital raised: $160,000 projected

We'll drink to that: It isn't every company thatcan sell bonds and pay interest with inventory. But when MarkMcCain figured out he could do just that with his winery-payinterest in bottles of wine on $1,000 bonds-he seized theopportunity to raise capital to pay down debt and expand thebusiness. "We're just not big enough for our stock to bereally attractive to serious investors at this point," hesays. By paying out of inventory, McCain's effective interestrate is about one-quarter of the standard.

Risk or benefit? "If we raised the maximum $975,000[$1 million is the limit for the type of offering McCain wants], itcould diminish our retail base because we'd be convertingcustomers into investors," says McCain. "They'd becollecting their interest in wine that they normally would havepurchased." On the other hand, a 10-year bond pays out 15bottles each year. "Most people are likely to give at leastsome of this wine away as gifts, which could generate morecustomers for us."

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