When entrepreneur Micah Hogan began Southern Outdoor Power, LLC in 2010, he had no need for commercial real estate. His business was strictly an e-commerce platform then, specializing in Bad Boy Mowers parts and accessories. Over the next 8 years, however, it grew into a multifaceted business encompassing retail, service, and e-commerce.
Southern Outdoor Power has enjoyed great success since its launch, becoming the largest parts and accessories retailer for Bad Boy Mowers in the United States. "As my e-commerce business grew," said Micah, "I noticed an opportunity to expand my business locally." The north side of Monroe, Louisiana, and the town of Sterlington have seen tremendous population growth in the last several years. Micah noticed this area lacked full-service dealerships for outdoor power equipment, and he recognized this as a chance to expand his business. "I took the opportunity to build something new," Micah stated, "and apply locally the lessons I learned in e-commerce."
Micah then took steps to open his new outlet, Yard Power. He chose to build a new store, rather than lease or buy an existing structure, for two reasons. Suitable buildings available for purchase in the location he wanted were very limited, but something more important compelled him to build. As a licensed civil engineer, Micah longed to design himself. "I really wanted to apply what I knew about land development to make my store space efficient," he said. "This was very difficult to do without a clean slate."
Micah proclaimed that designing his own building was the best decision he ever made. He had no experience with commercial loans, but "I relied on my local banker to guide me in the process," he said. "My banker's previous dealings with Community Business Finance opened the door to work with them, and together they proposed the 504 Loan."
Throughout the loan process, everyone worked together as a team to complete the deal in a timely manner. "Community Business Finance helped move the process along as quickly as possible," declared Micah. "We worked well together."
The 504 loan enabled him to build exactly what he wanted. There were several design elements he would not have been able to afford without the loan. In addition, he was able to finance soft costs with the loan proceeds, and the savings allowed his new store to have what it needed right away.
"My store is so much more efficient than it would have been if I had not constructed it," said Micah. "My energy bills are very low because I was able to go with all LED fixtures and premium insulation." This added efficiency lowered his operating costs and increased profits.
While Micah's e-commerce business is still thriving, the new retail store allows his company to offer the full-service dealership lacking in that area. Moreover, he has built equity while enjoying the tax savings of property ownership.