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Stories of Impact



In the inaugural edition of our Grow America Diaries series, we’re bringing you insights and perspectives directly from entrepreneurs who have used a Grow America loan to reach their business goals. This month, Ted Macke, the CPA for DKN Ready Mix shares his perspective on how SBA 7(a) financing from Grow America helped his business grow and why having a team you can trust is critical.

Borrower name: DKN Ready Mix, Inc.

Business name/brief description: DKN Ready Mix, a concrete manufacturing and delivery company offering delivery services to the greater New York metropolitan area.

Grow America loans: $1,041,00 SBA 7(a) in 2017 and a $1,000,000 7(a) in 2023

What was going on at the business before it received its first Grow America loan?

Well, basically what happened was a situation where we had to vacate our current premises. We were in the process of negotiating with our landlord to extend the lease, but they backed out at the last minute and we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s not exactly easy to just pick up and move concrete equipment that weighs over 100 tons! There are also very few locations that would meet our needs from the space and budget perspective. So, we needed to move and we needed funding to help pay for it. 

What changed in the business after you received your loan? How were you able to meet your goals?

The move and the loan ended up kicking off a significant growth spurt. After the first loan, DKN nearly doubled its revenue over the next five years. We were also able to restructure pricing and enhance efficiency in the cost structure to obtain a significant increase in gross profits, as well.

What was different or unique about borrowing with Grow America?

From my perspective, just dealing with [my loan officer] Conor McCarthy was the unique thing about working with Grow America. I’ve never dealt with a “banker” like him. He told me things straight up, I always knew where I stood, and the work on the loan was just getting done. Our loan was not an easy case; we were on the phone multiple times per day but Conor was diligent about getting things done. Even when I worked with other members of the team, I could see the difference. The Grow America team can turn a giant hurdle into a seamless transaction.

As just one example, I emailed Conor a question on a Saturday, and he called me right away to go over the situation. That’s unheard of in banking—at other financial institutions one could hope for an answer sometime the following week.

They also understand how small businesses operate. At banks, they just use the same checklist for everyone, but that’s not how small businesses work. We have different pressures and issues, and the team understood that. 

What’s your #1 piece of advice for other small business owners right now?

Make sure you have good professionals—lawyers, CPAs, etc. behind you as you grow. It’s expensive but worth the investment. More importantly, you need to listen to what your professional team says. 95% of the time they’re giving you great advice for your particular situation

We have a really wonderful attorney we’ve been working with for years—he’s the “Conor” of the legal profession. We’ve followed him from firm to firm for the last dozen or so years as he’s evolved his practice. It’s not easy to afford that level of support as a small business but it’s always worth it.