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3 Steps for Turning Customers Into Investors

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Zak Cassady-Dorion wanted to aggressively expand Pure Mountain Olive Oil, his gourmet olive oil business. When the bank denied the loan he needed to open a second shop, he found a better backer: loyal customer Wolfgang Foust.

Foust, who grew up in Spain with olive trees in the backyard, routinely traveled 70 miles to shop at Pure Mountain's inaugural Rhinebeck, N.Y., store, which opened in May 2012. Foust invested $10,000 in Pure Mountain in exchange for a small piece of equity. That August, Cassady-Dorion was able to open his second shop in Tarrytown, just miles from Foust's home.

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