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Heritage Masonry – Gavin

Gavin owns and operates Peasant Gardener Landscaping. He started the business in May of 2011 with a borrowed truck and a few pieces of basic equipment. Gavin provides a range of services including stone masonry, yard cleanup and removal, lawn maintenance, and landscape design. He now owns a truck and in less than a year of operations, Gavin has managed to secure 13 regular customers for yard clean up, a significant lawn maintenance contract, and is in the process of negotiating three more similar contracts. He has also recently completed a large landscaping masonry project and is confident of securing more such projects in 2012.

Gavin says he ‘grew up gardening’. He also has a passion for stone masonry and has years of experience working with stone. He has managed to secure all his business thus far without doing any formal advertising. Gavin has demonstrated an ability to attract business in a relatively short space of time and appears to have established a good foundation on which to grow his business. He is applying for a loan of $4,970 to buy more equipment, buy a trailer to transport his equipment, and to purchase advertising and insurance.

Gavin’s former employer says Gavin was with them for about 3 years and worked mainly on high end masonry and concrete in the construction process. He says their company has ‘high expectations’ and he found Gavin to be ‘good all round’. Gavin’s current bookkeeper has known him for just over a year and describes Gavin as a ‘go-getter’ and as someone who is ‘going to go out and find the business…he’s not going to wait for it to come to him’.

Gavin’s credit file indicates that he has a relatively small amount of debt that he has accrued while getting his business off the ground. With an increased level of income from his business Gavin should be able to comfortably pay off his existing debt as well as make his monthly payments for the Community Micro Lending loan.

The loan will give Gavin the opportunity to be more productive and expand his client base which will then provide him with a higher income. In working with Gavin, we’ve been particularly impressed with how quickly he has been able to establish and grow his business with relatively few resources.

Loan term: 3 years

Loan star rating:

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Complete Maintenance Services – Bobby

Bobby was referred to us by the Cool Aid Society and has already started a business providing maintenance services for property management companies in the Capital Region District. Bobby got his start in the property maintenance business on a snowy day in November. Realizing that many homes and businesses would need their sidewalks and driveways shovelled, he printed off some flyers, posted them around town and bought a snow shovel. Over the next two days he made more than $500.

By mid-January, Bobby had signed a contract with a local property management company to provide property maintenance services for over 40 of the properties they manage. Bobby plans to secure more contracts with other property management companies and is hoping that he’ll eventually get enough work to begin employing people. Since November, Bobby has completed a number of professional certifications and has built an impressive inventory of tools he can use for property maintenance.

Bobby is applying for a $5,000 loan to buy a truck and a gas-powered pressure washer. He needs the truck to quickly travel between properties as well as to transport his tools. Currently Bobby gets rides from his girlfriend when she’s available and takes the bus when she’s not. He says having a gas-powered pressure washer is important for the type of work he does and will allow him to compete with other companies and individuals that provide property maintenance services.

Bobby started getting in trouble with the law at a young age. He turned his life around while in prison and since his release in July 2010 has continued to make positive changes. The committee recognizes the tremendous amount of progress Bobby has made since his release. To minimize the risk to the lender, this loan will have a one-year term.

An Employment Placement Caseworker who has been working with Bobby describes him as a ‘go-getter’ and has been impressed how willing Bobby is to accept advice and suggestions. ‘I can see him owning half of downtown Victoria in a few years’. An elder who Bobby works with at the Native Friendship Centre and with whom Bobby meets weekly to discuss his long term goals describes Bobby as a ‘very hard worker’ and as ‘one of the ones who’s going to make it’.

Bobby says that ‘this business is the only thing in my life I can call my own.’ ‘My objectives’, Bobby says, ‘are to be self-employed, have a good reputation, be a contributing member of the community, be a success story, be financially independent, build my credit, and help others less fortunate’. If granted for the loan ‘I know it’s not only my credibility on the line to repay, but it’s all the “Bobby’s” that come after me who my actions will affect’.

Loan term: 1 year

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ASAP Home Services – Tyler

Tyler has been approved for a loan to start ASAP Home Services, a business that combines two businesses he has previously owned.  He is in the process of closing Master Force Renovations, which provides handyman and renovation services in Victoria. He also co-founded Speedy Gopher, a tech start-up company that operated as a service network of odd jobs in Victoria, connecting clients with people (‘Gophers’) who did odd jobs. Speedy Gopher closed in July of 2014. 

With this new venture, ASAP Home Services, Tyler will offer a combination of the services provided by Master Force Renovations and those that were provided by Speedy Gopher. This will include anything from odd jobs like furniture assembly, hanging pictures, and drywall repairs to larger renovation projects. Tyler has built a small business in Master Force Renovations, while Speedy Gopher was able to connect over 500 clients with over 50 ‘Gophers’. 

Tyler will be able draw on his experience with both ventures as well as the network of clients and potential customers he has built. Tyler has been approved for an expansion loan of $8,000 to purchase a work van and trailer as well as build a website to market his business.

A local realtor who has known Tyler for a number of years refers his clients to Tyler whenever they need work done on their homes. As a realtor, he needs to be confident that his clients will be happy with the work Tyler does. He says “people really like Tyler. What you get is what you see. He’s full of energy and is very genuine and very responsible. Tyler is a hard worker”.

Tyler’s credit file indicates that he has accumulated a significant level of debt, most of which consists of student loans. He has kept his credit in good standing over the last 2 years. The size of Tyler’s student loans is comparable to most students who have a similar level of education.

The loan will give Tyler the opportunity to expand his business and combine areas in which he has significant experience. In working with Tyler, we’ve been particularly impressed with his willingness to learn from his experiences and build something new.

Loan term: 4 years

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Wildfang Jewelry and (Ag)+(Au) Clothing – Kaitlin

Kaitlin was the first graduate of our Launch! Youth program to receive a CML loan. She needed a $2,600 loan to help fully establish and grow her business, Wildfang Jewelry, making and selling handmade jewelry and scarves.
Kaitlin’s credit file indicated that she had limited credit, but always managed her credit well.
In March of 2015 Kaitlin fully repaid her loan, having successfully established Wildfang Jewelry. She had a perfect payment record with her CML loan. In September 2015 she launched (Ag)+(Au) Clothing that targets successful and modern businesswomen. Kaitlin was approved for a $10,000 loan to build inventory for (Ag)+(Au) Clothing in 2016 but ended up not needing to borrow it.
We have always been impressed by Kaitlin’s clarity of vision and her determination to succeed. Kaitlin is also a hard worker – she maintained almost full-time jobs while growing Wildfang Jewelry and (Ag)+(Au) Clothing. She does her designing and manufacturing on the island and we are impressed with her local and ethical clothing line!

Loan term: 4 years

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True Love Handles – Ben

Benjamin is in the process of starting a business, True Love Handles, selling luxury sterling silverware. He has done thorough research into the specialty silverware market and has an excellent understanding of how to enter the market and build a successful business. He has designed and created his first product, a unique custom designed spoon. The initial mold has been used to create a prototype. Once he has the design protected, he will focus on selling sets of spoons for the specialty market and then will expand to other products. He currently has a full-time job and works on his passion (this business) on the side. Ben has been approved for $3501.20 to protect his design, refine his design and production process and market his product.

Ben’s current employer is the co-owner of a local store. She describes him as ‘hardworking, reliable and conscientious’ and believes Ben has the ability and the right attitude to make his business a success.

Ben’s credit file indicates a relatively low credit balance with a relatively good payment history.

Ben is clearly passionate about his product and we’ve been impressed by how hard he has worked to create it.

Loan term: 3 years

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Deadbeetz Food Truck – Karrie

Karrie is the owner and operator of Deadbeetz Food Truck and received a $5,000 loan from CML in May of 2013 to complete the construction of her foodtruck. In the just under 3 years since she received the loan, Karrie has established a reputation for being one of the best food trucks in Victoria. Karrie has two full-time employees and plans to hire another full-time employee and perhaps two part-time employees. In addition Karrie has apprenticed 2 employees and helped them into BC Apprenticeship programs for cooking.

The Victoria Street Food App ranks her as #1 on its list of top ten food trucks in town. Having started by going to festivals, fairs and various temporary locations across town, Karrie’s food truck is now at a permanent location in Newcombe Square, behind the Royal British Columbia Museum.

Since moving to the permanent location in May of 2015, Karrie has continued to receive several requests to attend various festivals, fairs and events. As a result, Karrie decided to build another food truck to meet the demand. She has spent $15,000 purchasing and building the second truck. It is close to completion, but Karrie needs a further $9,975 to complete the construction.

Karrie’s credit file indicates a relatively low credit balance with a relatively good payment history.

Karrie tells us she has “also done a bit of part time work with the culinary program at Stelly’s Secondary School, helping out the students who plan to enter the culinary program at Camosun after graduation.” She adds “I guess I am mentioning this because CML made a difference in helping me start and run my own business allowing me to contribute to my community with my skill set”.

Loan term: 4 years

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Taxi Driver – Jean

Jean is 50 years old and was referred to Community Micro Lending through the Inter Cultural Association (ICA) towards the end of May. Jean is originally from Haiti and had been intending to move back to Haiti to join his family until the earthquake struck in January, destroying his wife’s home and business. He is now trying to relocate his wife and two children to Canada. Jean has over 20 years of experience as a taxi driver and has driven taxis in Nanaimo and Montreal.

He currently drives 6 days a week for a local taxi company in Langford, taking a weekly average of $1,500 in fares (tips included). He rents the vehicle he drives for $70 a day and leases the taxi plate for $1000 a month. Jean is applying for a $5,000 loan to buy his own vehicle, paint it, and install a radio. Owning a vehicle will save Jean $240 a week. It will also allow him to apply for permission to take fares within the downtown Victoria area.

His references described him as “absolutely trustworthy….and hardworking” (immigration lawyer) as well as someone who is “conscientious…and quickly learns from his mistakes” (employer). He has had two minor credit problems, but on the whole has made an effort to make regular payments on his credit cards and monthly bills.

Loan term: 5 years

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Stir It Up Authentic Caribbean Soul Food Restaurant – Natalie

Natalie is the owner and operator of Stir it Up Authentic Caribbean Soul Food Restaurant. It is a family business that Natalie, with the help of her husband, started three years ago as both a career change for Natalie, and as a way for Natalie to pass on her culture and traditions to her three children. Natalie is applying for a $4,095 loan. Stir It Up currently operates out of a small location in Fernwood Square with no indoor seating and some uncovered outdoor seating. While the restaurant is busy in the warm and dry summer months, the lack of a heated, covered seating area means that Stir It Up is primarily a take-out restaurant during the fall and winter. Natalie intends to use part of the loan to cover and heat the outdoor seating area so she can accommodate people who would prefer to sit down and have their meal in Fernwood Square.

Natalie and her husband also recently bought a food cart to take meals out to various industrial areas and sell meals at the dozens of fairs and festivals that are held in Victoria every year. Currently Natalie has to borrow a friend’s car to transport the food cart and can thus only use it two or three days a week. She would like to use a portion of the loan to buy a vehicle she can use to transport the food cart on a daily basis.

A former landlord of Natalie’s is impressed with her ‘determination and hard work’ while a friend admires her capacity to raise three children and open her own restaurant at the same time. As she says, ‘no small feats’ and ‘in order to accomplish this, one would have to be intelligent, innovative, adaptable, well-organized, disciplined, and consistent.’ ‘Natalie’, she says, ‘is willing to do the work that could easily be put off until later.’

Natalie’s credit file indicates that she has accumulated some debt that consists mostly of student loans. She has had some trouble making payments in the past, but on the whole is making an attempt to pay off her debt.

The loan will allow Natalie to significantly expand and grow her business without having to move from Fernwood Square, a neighbourhood she both works and lives in. ‘We have created something from nothing’ she says, ‘and know that we make everything out of anything’.

Loan term: 5 years

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Little Women’s Guide to Personal Power: How to turn your monthly Menstruation into the Biggest Blessing of Your Life – Kyla

Kyla is an author and an acupuncturist who has recently self-published a book called “Little Women’s Guide to Personal Power: How to turn your monthly Menstruation into the Biggest Blessing of Your Life”. The book is already available on Amazon and iTunes, but Kyla would like to use the book as a tool for her to provide workshops and public speaking sessions for girls aged eight and up.

Kyla has already made contact with a number of agencies and schools who have expressed interest in having her deliver workshops and public speaking sessions. Kyla aims to be delivering at least two workshops a month by next summer, with each workshop participant buying a copy of her book. Kyla is applying for a loan ($2,000) to promote the workshop and speaking sessions as well as promote her book.

A previous co-volunteer of Kyla’s who has known her for six years says Kyla is a “go-getter. She’s on fire and believes in her dream and is pursuing it.” As a volunteer at a middle school, she invited Kyla to give one of her workshops at the school and says it was well received, with the school buying a few copies of the book.

Kyla has had challenges with her credit, but in the last two years has worked hard to overcome those challenges. She still has a significant amount of debt, but is now making the required monthly payments.

The loan will give Kyla the opportunity to promote her public speaking sessions and sell more copies of her book. Kyla says she’s determined “to be known in Canada as THE person for empowering young girls during the beginning of their period”.

Loan term: 2 years

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Intuitive Astrological Counselling Services – Kathryn

Kathryn moved back to Victoria from the East coast in the spring of 2010. She has a diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Counselling as well as a wealth of experience in employment counselling and group facilitation. Her passion, however, is in combining her skills as a counsellor and facilitator with her knowledge of astrology. She has fifteen years of experience in providing private counselling that combines traditional methods with holistic methods such as astrology and nutrition.

Kathryn has started providing intuitive astrological counselling services to individuals, couples and groups in person, by phone and/or by Skype. She began seeing clients at her home on an informal basis in June; in August she decided to develop the astrological counselling into more of a full-time business. At the end of August she began renting studio space and attending various trade shows to market and sell her services. Kathryn has seen her client base grow as a result and would like to continue to grow her business and improve the quality of service she provides. She is applying for a $4,750 loan to purchase the tools and resources (advertising, a debit machine, and software and recording equipment) she needs to achieve that end.

An owner of a gift store who hired Kathryn to do astrological readings at her store says Kathryn was ‘at least 80% booked’ and ‘all her clients were very pleased’. She described Kathryn as ‘very professional and knowledgeable, a go-getter, and a hard worker’.

Kathryn’s credit file indicates that although she has accumulated a high level of debt, she has made an attempt to make her payments. She has neither missed a payment nor made a late payment during the reporting period. The debt was accumulated during a time when Kathryn was unable to work for an extended period. Kathryn has shown a commitment to keeping her credit record in good standing, and with an increased level of income she is looking forward to reducing her level of debt.

The loan will give Kathryn the opportunity to expand her business by improving the quality of service she provides. The business will also significantly increase her level of income and allow her to live a more comfortable life. ‘I know I will succeed with or without the loan’, Kathryn says, ‘but the loan will get me there faster.’

Loan term: 5 years

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