Dejected and disappointed, Hill spoke to the owner’s son. Turns out the family had been trying to get their father to get rid of the property for years. They made a deal for Hill to buy the place.
But getting a loan to secure the property was impossible. It was the height of the Great Recession and banks were simply not handing out loans. So what happened next?
“I wrote a letter to Gov. Christie and told him we were a profitable business that had been around for more than 10 years and that we were gonna be out of business because we couldn’t get a loan. I told him basically that he was about to get about 20 people who would become wards of the state.”
He had almost given up hope when he got aÂ call from Lt. Gov.Â Kim Guadagno.
“She asked me what can we do for you and I said well, here’s my situation. I can’t get a loan. I have excellent credit, a profitable business, Â but I can’t get a loan. So they introduced us to the N.J. Economic Development Authority.Â They stepped in and essentially helped us secure a $225,000 loan under the Small Business Fund because they guaranteed half the loan and for the first time the N.J. EconomicÂ Development Authority and the Small Business Administration partnered to do a loan and I was the test case.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
He also caught another lucky break.
“I was doing business with a major theme park for almost 10 years until they discovered I was a minority. They told me I qualified as a minority-owned business which gave a special rate and place within their organization because they were looking to have minority-owned businesses as suppliers. So I registered as a minority-owned business.”
So what advice does Hill have for others trying to get into this space?
“You’ve got to be ready for hard work. Get your ducks in a row and take that step. You don’t have to have everything planned out because oftentimes you’re operating on faith. It helps to do your research, to know your competition and the industry.”
He also tells BE, “Be willing to put in those long hours. My son was basically born about the time I started my business. I was working 18 hours a day and I would go months without seeing him other than on the weekend. That’s what makes the difference between success and failure. Oftentimes people quit and success is right around the corner.”
So we had to ask if he would do anything differently.
“No. Even the difficult situations served a purpose. Had I not had those difficult situations I can’t say that we would have been as successful as we are.”