Al and Tamanna Rahman met in 2012 when Tamanna was working as a floral arranger for Roger’s Flower Shop. They were married a year later, and Tamanna decided to open Garden of Roses, her own florist shop. Al believed they could make it a success, and quit his job as marketing manager at Verizon to devote his time to launching the business. In late 2013, they decided to use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to aggressively promote their new business, but they needed to purchase a cooler and inventory for the holiday rush.
They applied for a loan from Wells Fargo, but were declined. Al had left his job, so they didn’t have his salary to fall back on, and they had been in business for only a few months. Wells Fargo, like most banks, requires two years of financials to provide a small business loan. With few other lending options in Moreno Valley, the Rahmans were stuck. They considered using a personal credit card to purchase the equipment, but didn’t have a high enough credit limit.
Luckily, the Wells Fargo loan officer had a relationship with CDC Small Business Finance. CDC offers SBA microloans specifically tailored to newer businesses, and doesn’t require the established history that bank loans do. Instead, CDC loan officer Carla Ulloa looked at the Rahman’s banking history and savings to make sure they had the reserves to make the loan payments and still cover all their bills. Inland Empire Small Business Development Center walked them through the application process and made sure all their documentation was in order.
Thanks to an online loan application and the MMS underwriting system, CDC was able to approve them for a loan in five weeks. Al and Tamanna had asked for $20,000, but MMS underwriting offered them $10,000 due to the newness of their business and the size of their cash reserves. The cooler they needed cost $12,500, though, so Carla negotiated a deal with her underwriter to use the cooler as collateral against the loan.
Garden of Roses bought the cooler and haven’t looked back. Customers rave about their service, and especially love the text messages they receive with a picture of the flowers their loved ones will receive. Today, the business that started as a husband and wife team employs five employees and delivers floral arrangements throughout the Moreno Valley and beyond.