This is a business owner who has reached out to Slow Money NC.
Business Owner: Mary and Jeff Miller
Business Name: The Market at Cedar Point
Location: 1046 Cedar Point Blvd, Cedar Point, NC 28584
How did you hear about Slow Money NC?: Slow Money emailed us information.
Tell us your story. What is your business idea? Tell us your plan.
We started in 2014 with $11.00 and some Christmas Trees after my only child, Hannah, was killed in a car accident. From Christmas trees we started selling produce from local farmers and added local dairy and eggs. We began selling local meats mainly from Rainbow Meadow Farms out of Snow Hill. In 2015 we moved from an outdoor building (that we were trying to stay open year round) into a building in Cedar Point. We have grown into a community market where our customers can come in and know that the products we sell come from farmers and growers that we know and trust. We also do a little growing ourselves where we can take our customers out to the garden and harvest fresh produce. There is nothing more satisfying than to let a child pull an onion or radish out of the ground and watch their face light up!
We are now at a point where we need capital to expand our Market to continue to grow and offer our customers the freshest and best products available.
Please briefly describe your commitment to sustainable food systems in North Carolina.: We pride ourselves on knowing our farmers and growers. We have relationships with everyone we buy from. We have been to their farms, we know their growing and farming practices. We can tell our customers a story behind each piece of produce we carry, where it came from and how it was grown. We promote and advertise these farmers and growers and take pride in selling their goods. We support their efforts first and foremost. We also help small farmers get their start by supporting them in many ways. Mostly by buying their products and letting people know what their farm practices are and educating our customers on the importance of buying Local.
What will your sales be? What do you anticipate your profits/your margins will look like? How will you make the money to pay this loan back?: Our sales have increased with each year. Currently we are on track to have our best year yet. In January this year we had a 61% increase over last January. We are looking at the same increase this year for February.
Our sales forecast for this year (2018) is $300,000.00
Our margins are 25 to 40% on most items we sell.
Our overhead runs 10 to 20%
We intend to invest in more refrigeration and inventory. We need a new sign and our building needs to be painted to make it more visible from the road. We want to remodel the inside of our market for better customer flow. This will involve construction, plumbing and electrical. We also need to build/dig a well in our garden for watering our garden to include irrigation. Eventually we want to build an addition to house a small kitchen that we can serve soups salads and sandwiches using the products we sell. With these improvements, we will increase our sales.
Have you borrowed money before? How much did you borrow? From where? How long was the term? Is there a balance still due on that loan?: We keep a loan with Square (our card merchant). Over the last 5 years we have borrowed about 50,000.00 from square at a high interest. Square takes a percentage of every transaction that we run with a card. We have always paid them back within a year. It is determined by how much volume we are doing on charge cards. We currently have a loan with Square and the balance as of 2-27-18 is 10,800.00
We also have a 2,900.00 loan with Coastal Finance Company. We just received that loan after paying off a previous loan of 2,000.00. This is also a high interest rate loan. This loan is for 2 years.
Do you have people who would vouch for your credit worthiness? Who are they?: Yes!
Sandra Garner – Rainbow Meadow Farms, Snow Hill, NC
Coastal Finance Company- Swansboro, NC
Land Lord: Dave Barefield- Emerald Isle, NC
Tell us about your business background. Have you been in business before?: After graduating college in 1986, I went into sales and stayed in sales until 2012 when my daughter passed from a car accident. I have never owned my own business until we started our Market.
How much money do you need to borrow to make your project work? How long do you think you would need to pay that back?: [Please contact Mary Miller to discuss this.]
Are there other lenders involved in your project or business?: None other than what I have listed above.
Square and Coastal Finance Company
What is your timeline for this project? Would you like it to start in a month? 6 months? A year?: We are currently in business. If we are extended credit we would begin using the capital immediately.
Is there anything else we forgot to ask you?: We are open at our Market year round. We are open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm. We usually get to work at least an hour before and stay an hour or two after we close. It is just my husband and I and one employee. This is not work to us. We work hard and have worked hard to establish our Market in our community.
We are involved in our community and we help many non-profits by allowing them to have fundraisers on our property. We also have our own Non Profit 501C-3 called Hannah’s Hope that is in memory of my daughter. Hannah’s Hope helps our local community’s children participate in extra curricular activities that their parents may not be able to afford.
Lastly, we lease the property. We do not own the property. We have a good relationship with our landlord who is the property owner.