Frustrated with routinely joining two uneven picnic tables as a pseudo poker table when entertaining his friends and family, Eric decided to take his construction experience and create a custom poker table for himself, eventually creating M’s Custom Poker Tables.
He shares his experiences on his company website: “I built my very first table by trial and error, and it turned out well. Then, I started building table after table and I got better at it. I quickly progressed and everyone noticed,” he writes. “I began to receive calls and drop-ins at my house by people who had heard about the tables and wanted to see them. I looked to see if there was anybody else building poker tables in the Valley, and I found out there was no one local to buy from. So, I got the idea to start building and selling my own custom tables.”
Now 32-year-old Eric creates handmade custom poker tables to sell to discerning customers. Options include any color of cloth, accompanied by dropped-in or swivel brass, bronze, chrome or aluminum cup holders, a variety of wooden or chrome table legs, armrests and wood stains. Eric will also deliver and set up the tables he creates.
“Other companies may "cut and paste" their work,” Eric says, “But I’m professional. My tables are nice, the designs are nice, and compared to competitors, mine are something that attracts friends to play. I have more than eight different designs for different needs.” One of his designs even doubles as a dining room table, featuring a removable cover so it can easily convert for an after-dinner card game!
Currently, Eric works with Texas Poker Supplies in Austin to obtain his accessories, but he hopes to one day cut the costs of that middleman, purchase accessories at wholesale prices, and keep them in stock at his home where he works alone. He also occasionally hires helpers when he receives large orders and he will eventually hire a permanent part-time employee. But he needed a small business loan to lay the groundwork for such growth – including paying for a strong advertising campaign via online “poker realms.”
Thanks to a good friend who knows several previous Accion Texas clients, he was able to successfully apply for and obtain a loan.
Eric is grateful for Accion’s assistance. “I wouldn’t be struggling, but now I can put money towards ads and that’s how you make money. Accion has helped me as far as being able to do that again.”
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.