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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

Capital Access Group: “This Building is My Retirement”

What is Capital Access Group’s Mission?

We finance real estate solutions for growing businesses.

How does your organization support and engage the small business community?

Capital Access Group is the only San Francisco-based Certified Development Company (CDC) that provides long-term, fixed rate financing through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program. This program offers 90% financing to business owners for the purchase, renovation, or construction of commercial real estate for their business. We’ve been in business for more than 35 years, and in that time, we’ve made thousands of loans to Bay Area business owners who leverage the 504 funds to grow, create new jobs, and strengthen the local community.

Capital Access also invests directly in the small business community. Earlier this year, we provided funds to assist in fire recovery for small businesses in Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties by providing grants to allow affected small businesses to re-establish business operations after the devastating fires. Business owners can use the grants to replace inventory, equipment, tools, repairs, and anything else necessary to get back on their feet.

In recent years, we have also partnered with the NorCal Small Business Development Center, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), the Golden Gate Business Association, and the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center to provide lending seminars to teach small business owners about the advantages of owning a building for their business.

What tools and resources has your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

Capital Access specializes in the SBA 504 loan program, and we are recognized nationally as one of the fastest CDCs for turnaround times on SBA 504 loan approvals, receiving a 4-star rating—the highest rating available—from the SBA for our work. In the Bay Area’s competitive commercial real estate market, quick turnaround time is essential to securing a loan for your business.

We also pride ourselves on the making the loan process as easy as possible, and on the education borrowers receive when they work with our team. Holly Pranger, founder of Pranger Law PC, one of our borrowers,  described her experience working with Capital Access as “shockingly easy, and the people I worked with were fantastic.”

What are the trends you see when you think about the small business marketplace, and how will these trends shape the future of small business?

The commercial real estate market in San Francisco will remain extremely competitive for the foreseeable future. This puts businesses who lease in constant jeopardy of losing their space. The SBA 504 program solves this problem by making it possible for small business owners to stabilize their business by owning their own building, and now the SBA has made it even more affordable to buy a building.

The SBA recently announced that it will make 25-year term loans available through the 504 loan program. The 25-year loan enables business owners to lower their monthly loan payments to improve cash flow and invest in growing the business.

Buying your own building carries so many advantages, and now the SBA has made the 504 loan program more affordable than ever before.

Can you share one brief story about how your company is helping San Francisco businesses thrive?

One story of how we help small businesses involves Julia and Johannon Olson, co-owners of Treehut, a San Francisco-based design and manufacturing company, who recently secured $4.43 million in financing to purchase a 7,333-sq. ft. industrial-warehouse building in the city’s SOMA district. Treehut handcrafts watches and eyeglasses made of real wood, and the company is experiencing exponential growth. The husband-and-wife team started operating Treehut out of their basement, and then moved the business twice to accommodate its growth, but leasing space was never a long-term solution.

“We are a manufacturing business, which requires us to customize the space to fit our needs,” said Julia. “Not a lot of landlords are fans of renting space to us for that reason, so we decided it was time to purchase property. Now we have the flexibility to make the space the best use for our manufacturing facility,”

Capital Access Group was thrilled to help Julia and Joh find a new home for their business and to provide the foundation for them to continue creating jobs and strengthening the community

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

Talk to your accountant today about the benefits of owning your own building.

Owning a building is good for your business, and it is also one of the best things you can do to plan for retirement. Ownership provides future retirement income if you sell or lease your building or sell your business. Owning a building also carries significant tax advantages. Owners of a building can deduct the interest on the mortgage, the depreciation on the facility, and the property taxes. Repairs can be written off immediately.

As one of our recent borrowers, Victor Khedr, President, Five Points Tire Imports, said, “Owning property is the way to go because it’s something that will appreciate in value. I’m not throwing money away on rent anymore. This building is my retirement.”

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