$7.8 Million SBA 504 Loan from Capital Access Group Allows Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. to Purchase Facility for New, State-of-the-Art, Artisanal Cheesemaking Operation

Capital Access Group recently helped Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company to secure $7,764,000 in total project financing through the SBA 504 commercial real estate loan program. Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, based in Point Reyes Station, CA, used the funds to purchase a property consisting of 1.92 acres of land and four buildings totaling 20,982 sq. ft. of space located at 454 Payran Street, Petaluma, CA.

Humble beginnings brought Tobias Giacomini from Italy to stake a claim in Northern California in 1904, with the sole intent of farming its fabled, fertile lands. Waldo, Tobias’ son, brought his family to West Marin County in 1938. Robert (Bob), Waldo’s oldest son, was raised on the family dairy farm and in 1959, along with his wife, Dean, purchased a 720-acre dairy farm three miles north, alongside Tomales Bay. Over the years they built a reputation for producing some of the highest quality milk in the Northbay. Today, the family business is co-owned and managed by three of Bob and Dean’s daughters, Diana Hagan, Lynn Stray, and Jill Basch. They lead as a hands-on executive team, with Diana as CFO, Lynn as COO, and Jill as CMO.

When the sisters joined the company in 2000, they recognized that the dairy had grown too big and was causing stress on the land, so they pivoted the dairy’s portfolio from milk production to environmentally sustainable, artisanal cheesemaking.

“We’re really focused on being land stewards and conservationists in how we farm because we realize that the cheese starts not just with healthy animals but with the pastures and the property,” said Jill Giacomini Basch, Chief Marketing Officer, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese. “Only through our sustainable farming practices can the land itself pay dividends to ensure the future success of our business. Fundamentally, if we do our job right, our cheese should taste like the milk our cows produce and we want our milk to taste like the region it came from. We strive to give our customers a sense of place with every wheel we produce.”

In addition to producing a top-quality product with a priority on food safety, taking care of their employees and treating them with respect, and attending to the customers’ needs, the sisters’ plans also include doubling the size of the business in three to five years, and the new cheesemaking, packaging and distribution facility makes that possible.

“We started making cheese in the new creamery in January, and we recently moved our distribution, warehousing, and receiving and shipping departments there as well,” said Jill. “It’s been a fairly quick-yet-intense process to put the business plan together, secure financing, and design and construct all of the specific improvements to the property. In the main building we basically built an entire new FDA-compliant food manufacturing facility within the walls of the original building. Because we’re still making cheese at the original creamery on the farm, we sourced all new equipment as well, greatly improving efficiencies and work flow.”

“We wouldn’t have embarked on this journey without the support of our employees. At the start of 2016 we presented our growth plan to the entire company and were thrilled with the positive response,” said Jill. “Since January, we moved a lot of staff from the farm location to Petaluma. It’s been a really exciting time for all of us.”

The company currently employs over 80 people and expects to add up to eight new hires in 2018.

First foray into financing

“When we started looking at borrowing funds for the project, that was really our first foray into financing,” said Diana Giacomini Hagan, Chief Financial Officer, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese. “Previously, we were fortunate to be able to do most things through cash flow. The benefit of the 504 loan was the 90 percent financing, which allowed us to get as many dollars as we could out of the project. At the end of the day, we’re ending up with a state-of-the-art cheesemaking facility that’s going to help us get to the next level.”

“I am so pleased that Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese was able to take advantage of the SBA 504 program’s low down payment and low, fixed interest rate to purchase a new facility to grow their business,” said Julie Clowes, U.S. Small Business Administration District Director, San Francisco District Office. “We know it’s not easy to run a business, so we are happy to offer resources, like the 504 program, to help support business growth and expansion.”

“The loan process was multifaceted, because we’re talking about a really specialized, commercial-use building,” said Diana. “The experience with Claudia (Cohen) and her team from Capital Access Group has been great. I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’ve been very easy to deal with and are very responsive.”

Capital Access Group Welcomes Jenny Tice to Business Development Team!

Capital Access Group (www.capitalaccess.com), a commercial real estate lender specializing in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans for growing businesses, announced that Jenny Tice has been hired to serve as Business Development Officer with responsibility for business development, sales, and client relationship activities throughout the Bay Area.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jenny to the Capital Access Group team,” said Jacklyn Jordan, President and CEO, Capital Access Group. “Along with her years of banking experience, she brings a passion for helping small business owners grow and succeed. Her skills complement our existing business development team.”

Ms. Tice possesses seven years of experience in the banking industry, most recently at First Republic Bank, as well as at City National Bank and Wells Fargo Bank prior to that.

“I joined the banking industry right out of college and immediately started working with small business owners,” said Tice. “I love working with businesses through the different phases of growth, because it is always an exciting time when the business is growing, adding new employees, or purchasing new equipment or a new facility. I enjoy hearing their stories—it always inspires me.”

“I was attracted to Capital Access Group because of their great reputation and the experienced staff members, many whom have a long tenure in the industry, and also because I love the work they do with growing businesses,” said Tice.

Read the press release online here.

Helen Russell, co-owner of Equator Coffees and Teas, was named one of NBC’s Pride30 entrepreneurs for mixing business with social responsibility

One of our favorite borrowers, Helen Russell, co-owner of Equator Coffees and Teas, was named one of NBC’s Pride30 entrepreneurs for mixing business with social responsibility. Helen and her partner, Brooke McDonnell, were named the SBA’s Small Business of the Year in 2016.

Capital Access provided the SBA 504 financing in 2003 for Equator to purchase its own, 5,500-square-foot roasting plant, which Helen calls “one of the best decisions that we’ve ever made,” and since that time, they’ve grown the company from a small roaster and wholesaler to a nationally recognized brand.

Helen encourages LGBTQ entrepreneurs to “stand in our knowledge and believe in our personal power to effect positive change, not only in our lives but in the lives we touch. Positive influence on others will follow suit.”

Capital Access Group helps owner of The Waffle Roost access $1.4M in SBA 504 financing to purchase his own commercial kitchen for his food truck and catering business

Capital Access Group (www.capitalaccess.com), a San Francisco-based commercial real estate lender specializing in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans for growing businesses, recently helped Justin Funamura, owner of The Waffle Roost, to secure $1.4 million in total project financing to purchase a 13,000-square-foot restaurant at 1633 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose, California. Funamura will improve the property and expand the kitchen to serve as a full-size commercial catering kitchen for his business, with the possibility of adding a take-out window in the future.

The Waffle Roost is a thriving food truck business for people who love chicken and waffles. The company currently owns five food trucks and provides catering to corporate events, weddings, private parties and Off the Grid street food events and festivals throughout the Bay Area. The company prides itself on its chicken and waffles that are made from scratch and prepared fresh for its customers. Approaching its fifth year, Funamura decided to purchase his own commercial kitchen to stabilize rents and expand the catering side of his business.

After working in the restaurant industry for several years, Funamura was “fixated on making the best fried chicken and the best waffles.”

“I worked on a scratch recipe for fried chicken, waffles and then some side dishes — mac and cheese, collard greens and other fresh options based on the customers’ demands,” he said.

Funamura soon came to realize that his entire business depended on renting. In the Bay Area, however, it’s very difficult to find affordable commercial kitchens to lease, especially ones that support growth.

“If I rent, I am completely restricted by commercial kitchen lease rates, and the rates are not conducive to growth,” said Funamura. “Landlords have all the power, which is scary when you get to the size that we are right now.”

Capital Access Group and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 commercial loan program made it possible for The Waffle Roost to expand with its own commercial kitchen. The loan’s 10-percent down payment opened up Funamura’s options.

“When I learned about the 504 program, the idea of owning my own commercial kitchen became more of a reality,” he said. “The 10-percent down payment is a major thing.”

“It was such a pleasure to help Justin purchase this property,” said Claudia Cohen, senior vice president, Capital Access Group. “Typically, food truck businesses aspire to open their own brick-and-mortar restaurants, but Justin had a different plan. He loves having food trucks and decided to adopt a business model based on owning his own commercial kitchen. Now, he controls his own future and doesn’t have to worry about rent increases that eat into his profit margin. We’re really proud him.”

“Claudia (Cohen) and the rest of the team were efficient and reliable. They took care of the paperwork and regularly checked in with me throughout the process,” said Funamura.

To read the press release online, click here.