"It was almost easy," said John George. He hadn't expected getting an SBA loan would go so smoothly, nor did he think opening his first RTO store would happen as gracefully as it has so far. But after his friend and Premier dealer Rick Vadnais was recognized by M&T Bank as its "Best New Business" in conjunction with the bank's SBA "Top Commercial Lender of the Year" award, doors pretty quickly opened for John and subsequent New York dealers.
"Banks are aware of Premier Rental-Purchase, and they look at us as a preferred franchise now, thanks to people like Rick. I went to two different banks, and both were impressed with Premier's business plan. They told me they don't see anything like that when someone comes for a loan." John went on to say the banks "were actually competing for my business."
Three things have contributed to John's successful RTO journey so far. Naturally Rick's success story paved a good part of the way. And Premier's proven track record and help with preparing an impressive business plan gave both John and the banks the confidence they need to forge a partnership. Dealer experience was also important.
"My experience helped as did my resume and Premier business plan," said John who is an RTO veteran of 18 years. He started as an account manager for Rent-to-Own, managed a store for a year and a half, became a multi-unit manager and finally a regional director overseeing 53 stores - all in Buffalo, New York.
But John is quick to say that being an operator is quite different from being an owner-operator and that having Premier has helped him make the transition. "What drew me to Premier was that I knew people in the business who were successful as Premier dealers. I met Trooper [Premier's president/CEO] and was impressed by the confidence he showed as I talked with him. Premier guides you through the process and helps you look at the business in a totally different way. And instead of having a step-by-step forced way in which you are made to deal with customers, as a Premier dealer you have the flexibility to treat customers the way you want."
With the loan process complete, John looks forward to opening his store in the Buffalo area in February. He'll exercise his credit line through working with the group of Premier vendors, and he plans to make use of Premier's human resources, accounting, payroll and advertising services as well.