A loan of $5,000 helped buy the beginning inventory of bags, labels, and boxes to begin shipping my tuna jerky.

Jerry's story

My birth mother was a 16-year-old Mexican immigrant. My birth father was a married high school teacher with three children in Oakland, California. I was born in the state hospital and left at an orphanage for 10 months as my birth mother returned to Mexico and my father did not claim my existence.

At 10 months old, I was adopted into the Crawford family as an only child. I went to school in California. I met and married my wife, Linda. We have been married for 29 years and have two wonderful children, Amanda and Blake.

I might be considered the story of “what happened to the American Dream." My wife and I built a very successful land development and home building company in Washington State from December 2000 through September 2010. We had an office in Western Washington and another office in Eastern Washington. We developed large plats of land and then built subdivisions of homes on those finished plats. We employed 10 full time employees and more than 40 subcontractors. We were one of the engines that made the American economy healthy. We bought products from sewer pipes to roofs. We kept manufacturers busy, delivery people working, and subcontractors feeding their families.

In the summer of 2007, the big banks knew there was trouble with their mortgage loans and said nothing. In September of 2008, TARP silently happened. In 2010, every builder in America was out of business, banks were no longer lending to homebuyers and acquisition and development loans were a thing of the past. I was forced to claim business bankruptcy.

I had one child in out-of-state college, one child in high school and a wife I love. I applied for job after job. I was told I was "over qualified”. We lived by depleting our savings and retirement money. I sent out more than 200 resumes. Finally, I made a difficult decision and decided to leave the USA to look for work. I left my family in Seattle from May 2010 until March 2011 (eleven months), went to Guam with a suitcase, my lifetime of knowledge and skills, and my resume.

Why Guam? I had never been there and didn’t even know where it was. My next-door neighbor was the Regional Director for the US Economic Development Agency. He told me of a "big military build-up happening on Guam" and they needed experienced, smart people like me. The Marine Base in Okinawa Japan was being moved to Guam which would bring 60,000 new people to an island with a population of 176,000. My wife did not blink an eye and said, get on an airplane and go. I flew halfway around the world (just 4 hours S.E. of Japan) and started a great new adventure. I knew no one on Guam when I landed. I had nowhere to live, no vehicle, and $200 in my pocket. Those first few months were tough as I looked for work.

Unfortunately, it became clear that the big military build-up was not going to happen as the U.S.A.'s economy continued to plunge. Cutbacks in defense spending stopped the build-up. I had to reinvent myself with the job skills I possessed. I knew how to run a big complicated company really well. I had great negotiating skills. What could I do on Guam?

I landed a job with the University of Guam working for the Small Business Development Center with a mandate to create manufacturing jobs and export revenues on Guam. I became the first, and only, Federally Certified Export Counselor in our Pacific Island Chain (30 islands). I began consulting with companies who wanted to export products from Guam. I was paid by the Federal Government with Obama's Small Business Mandate to get the U.S. economy back on its feet. I learned everything you could imagine about running a business on Guam from GovGuam's unique set of Rules, Regulations, and Laws to Federal Government Rules, Regulations, and Laws as they pertain to the U.S. Territory of Guam. I have also learned all about export and import into many Asian countries from Guam including Hong Kong/China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines. I wrote the 186 page "Guam Export Resource Guide" for the University of Guam Small Business Development Center.

I moved my whole family to Guam.My 19-year-old son works here on Guam as a plumber's apprentice. Our lovely daughter graduated from San Diego State with honors and now lives on Guam and works with the mentally challenged community. My wife loves Guam and has been busy working on the opening of our tuna business. We are ready to revive our American Dream.

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About Simple Export, Inc.

Industry: Food
Years in operation: New Business
Website: simple-export.com

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Loan details