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This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

By 1997, the former car dealership that housed Sandy and TomHood's commercial door and hardware distribution business wasbulging at the seams. Besides being cramped, it wasn't theirideal site. "We were growing and needed a building that wasconducive to business," recalls Sandy, who purchased thecompany with husband Tom, 49, in 1989. "And our rent was goingup. I thought 'For the amount we pay, it seems silly that wecan't own.'"

And so began the search for commercial property on which tobuild a custom facility for their less-than-$4-million firm, HCHoodCo Inc. in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandy, 49, recalls thatfinding a suitable location was only half the battle: "Thenext question was, Where were we going to get thefunding?"

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