SchoolFoodies: Going Green
SchoolFoodies is a certified Bay Area green business that provides fresh, healthy meals to local school kids. In partnership with CBB, they used an SBA loan and a Line of Credit, to green their business as they cornered a growing niche market.
Using an SBA Loan to Evolve and Grow
SchoolFoodies has been a family-owned and operated catering business since 1946, when they bought their first delivery truck. What started out as Upton’s Restaurant in San Francisco’s Financial District, has evolved into a green commissary serving private schools in the Bay Area.
Although they saw an immense opportunity in providing healthy school lunches, the growth and profitability of the business was a challenge. For some years they were forced to use credit cards and high-interest cash advance loans to survive.
Year after year, SchoolFoodies applied to the major banks for help, only to be rejected. When they contacted Community Bank of the Bay, they finally found the right banking partner and were able to make the changes that the business needed to grow, evolve and succeed.
The SBA Advantage Loan
Community Bank of the Bay recommended the 7a (Advantage) SBA Loan to consolidate their multiple, small high-interest loans and to upgrade their production line. At the time SchoolFoodies was assembling and packaging meals manually, but an SBA loan for Capital Equipment enabled production line automation and the development of innovative, environment-friendly meal trays.
The Line of Credit
CBB also provided a Line of Credit to cover the seasonal gap between June and September. This allowed the business to retain staff in lean months and pay off their loan in high season. The Line of Credit improved cash flow, which freed up capital to grow the business further. It also allowed them to service their debts and pay vendors promptly, which improves their chances of securing financing for further growth.
In 2006, when Dennis King took over the family business, he embraced the changes necessary for the business to succeed. Although it was essentially a new business, SchoolFoodies identified an opportunity and we were impressed by how open they were to learn and grow, in partnership with the expertise, experience and resources within the CBB team.
We have two beautiful new delivery vans, and our meals look so much more appetizing in our innovative, new, compostable containers. Our quality, consistency and production speed have all improved, thanks to our new production equipment, and the credit line has stabilized cash flow, reducing stress and allowing us to stay focused on delighting children every day at lunchtime.
Dennis King, Client
The CBB Difference
As an SBA Direct Lender, Community Bank of the Bay was able to approve and process the SBA loan and Line of Credit for SchoolFoodies in just 45 days. With our preferred status as an SBA lender, and our quick in-house decision-making process, we delivered an effective financing solution when it was needed most.
RM Wilbur Hobbs, Jr.
As CBB’s Chief Lending Officer, Wil Hobbs understands the special needs of multi-generational businesses. He took time to fully understand SchoolFoodies’ business model and pitched their case to our experienced bankers. The CBB team mobilized their expertise and their local networks to deliver comprehensive support, quick financing and practical cost-saving solutions.
“Where all the bigger banks had failed SchoolFoodies, we spent time learning about their business. Our decision was not based solely on financials – they had the experience, products, processes, people and vision to succeed. We helped a business that helps growing children and the environment, which is great for us, them and the wider community.”
Beyond our considerable lending capacity, which SchoolFoodies can continue to use as they grow, we found food industry experts and business consultants to advise and assist them. We knew which local experts could help because of our deep local ties and extensive experience across all sectors of the local business community.
Our collaboration with SchoolFoodies proves that we have the range of tools and the depth of experience, to meet the challenges facing local businesses as they change and expand. We plan to keep backing their success, as SchoolFoodies grows now, and as the family business evolves with all the future generations to come.