Marcela’s McAllen, Texas-based sporting accessory business, The Commander, grew slowly out of her and her husband’s dream of becoming self-sufficient entrepreneurs. Starting their careers as waiters, Marcela and her husband, Juan, began chasing their dream by selling sporting clothing and accessories at weekend flea markets. Recently, they made the largest business decision since they began pursuing their business goal: they moved to a permanent, fixed location.
Ten years ago, with strong encouragement from Juan, Marcela began selling military and hunting items at two McAllen flea markets. As the years passed, she began to envision a permanent location for her business, and she and Juan began to look at buildings with dimensions appropriate for their inventory. Six months ago, they found an affordable, central location and took a courageous leap of faith by signing a lease and moving their inventory.
At first, Marcela says, business seemed to flow smoothly enough; however, she soon started to see that her store needed more inventory. Customers demanded varied items that Marcela had never sold before, such as paintball gear and police suits. As she realized that her flea market inventory was not sufficient to fill the needs of the business’ permanent location, she began to search for ways to meet the demands of her new customers.
This loan was the solution to Marcela’s inventory problem. It was invested in new inventory, such as paintball products and police attire, to fill the unique demands of her new customers. After being denied a loan from a commercial bank, she came to Kiva partner, Accion Texas-Louisiana. Of this experience, she says “The loan helped our business a lot. Without it, with our lack of new inventory, I project that our business would have closed down in a short time.”
The Commander now supplies its customers with the sporting items they need. Some additions to her inventory include flashlights, caps, hats, bandanas, camouflage face paint, helmets, paintballs, facemasks, paintball guns, and boots. Marcela says that her business is successful in part because it offers more variety to her customers than her competitors. Without her loan, she says, none of this success would have been possible.
In the future, Marcela aims to continue her business’ success and growth by providing her customers with their sporting needs. She will continue running her business with the support and hard work of her husband and three daughters. Most of all, with the help of her new loan, she hopes to continue realizing her long-time dream of being a self-sufficient entrepreneur.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.