A&M Trucking looking to expand

The Economic and Community Development Institute is proud to help realize the dream of small business ownership for Central Ohioans. While our portfolio is rich with brick-and-mortar storefronts that light up Ohio streets, we also fund many businesses that are less visible to the average consumer.

ECDI has financed many entrepreneurs in the trucking industry over the years. These entrepreneurs are behind-the-scenes heroes and play a huge role in driving the local economy. Whether it is delivering parts to manufacturers or fresh produce to supermarket shelves, Central Ohio would not function without them. The Rolands of A&M Trucking are just such entrepreneurs, boldly embracing business ownership, in part, with a loan from ECDI.

Michael and Angela Roland’s success with A&M Trucking is no lucky break. Every step of their journey to successful small business ownership has been a calculated move, through careful research and disciplined hard work.

Michael Roland spent many years working as a contracted driver in the trucking industry, but it was his wife Angela who encouraged him to buy his own vehicle. They set their sights on entrepreneurship, and went ahead and registered the name A&M Trucking to mark their hope for the future. The Rolands’ first step was committing themselves to responsible personal finance by researching how to repair weak credit through controlled spending habits and credit-friendly practices.

“Home is the first business,” said Angela. “If you can’t run your household, how can you expect to run a business?”

Over several years, slowly but surely, the Rolands were able to mend their personal finances in preparation for becoming prudent managers of business finances.┬áMichael was able to close a loan through their credit union for a truck in 2007, but at a very high interest rate. While acquiring the truck was paramount, the high loan payments were stifling the Rolands’ ability to grow the business. After being turned down by a bank for vehicle refinancing, they were referred to ECDI by a banker.

After enrolling in the Small Business Loan program at ECDI in 2008, Michael was able to refinance his truck, slashing his interest rate from the unsustainable 21 percent down to 9 percent. With the capital this freed, the Rolands could to use their income to grow their business and expand. After having always worked for someone else, Michael and Angela were finally working for themselves, with their very own truck.

“It took a lot of hard work and discipline,” said Michael.

A banker once told Michael that 90 percent of trucking businesses fail in the first year. Michael swore he would be among the 10 percent who found success, and this year A&M Trucking paid off its truck loan two and half years early. The Rolands are currently looking into signing other drivers under A&M Trucking, in addition to becoming transportation brokers. As with all decisions in their business, Michael and Angela are researching every step and moving forward with confidence.

In the past, ECDI has been able to finance businesses like A&M Trucking primarily through federal, state, and local programs. As the demand for our small business financing products skyrocketed, we knew it was time to create a new source for loan funds by launching the Invest Local Ohio campaign.

Every dollar committed by individual investors to the Invest Local Ohio program will be loaned to a local small business and leveraged with at least two more dollars from other ECDI loan funds and guarantees a minimum two percent return. Investors have the opportunity to lift up hardworking entrepreneurs like Michael Roland, whose success bolsters the local economy, creates jobs and taxpayers, and translates to more Ohioans participating in the economic mainstream.

If you could invest in fuller lives for Central Ohioans looking to capitalize their dream, would you? For more information on becoming an investor in the Invest Local Ohio campaign, contact ECDI President Steve Fireman at 614-732-0577 or sfireman@ecdi.org.