Photo courtesy SureShade
It’s “one of the region’s fastest-growing firms,” according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. And now SureShade, a Seedcopa borrower, has been successfully sold.
Philadelphia-based SureShade makes retractable, telescoping sunshades for boats throughout North America and Europe. It has been acquired by Lippert Components Inc., an Indiana-based manufacturer of systems and components for the RV, boating and cargo trailer industries. SureShade will retain its brand name and new headquarters in Philadelphia, as well as its 25 staff members.
When Seedcopa first met SureShade not long after the company launched, a tough economic environment offered little disposable income for the boating industry. SureShade was facing a funding challenge that could make or break its business.
“Capital was hard to come by, and we needed it to go from start-up to early growth,” says company co-founder Dana Russikoff. “Some people we talked to didn’t understand our story and what our business was about, and some looked at our needs only in terms of a conventional loan.”
Through research, Russikoff says she found out about SBA loans but still didn’t have the time to devote to the process or figure out how to package a successful loan application. That’s when she was introduced to Seedcopa, which works with lenders to help small to mid-sized businesses in Pennsylvania obtain government loans.
Says Russikoff, “Overnight, I went from being told ‘no,’ to working toward getting our loan approved. Seedcopa was a game changer for the business.”
“The first question every small business should be asking itself is, ‘How do lenders see me?’” says Sherwood Robbins, Managing Director of Seedcopa. “We specialize in taking the time to listen to businesses as they tell their stories. Then we translate those stories into financial terms common to the commercial lending arena.”
For SureShade, the SBA 7A loan was an ideal fit.
“It’s a bank loan with a government guarantee behind it,” says Robbins. “It’s a great way for growing businesses to get the money they need to expand, from banks that might be unwilling to take the risk otherwise.”
SureShade used much of the $325,000 in loan money to build customized castings and molds that would enable volume production of its parts and components. Previously, they machined each component one by one. Now they could go from one-off production to high-volume. Soon their staff of four employees grew to more than 20.
“Part of the funds also went to capital, taking care of open payables, and paying off a bank line of credit. The loan really solidified our financial foundation,” says Russikoff.