BCI Lending supports company growth in two states
Mulch is one of those ever-present products that enhances life with little thought or effort. Mulch is used for erosion control, weed suppression, protection for root systems and to hold moisture in the ground. Landscaping in much of the South would be in dire straights without mulch to smooth out the edges, add depth to design and protect precious plants.
Upstate Mulch’s products have a humble beginning as the byproduct bark stripped from trees at mills in Western North Carolina. After the bark is screened for debris, it is processed it into 2.5 inch fragments, some being left in natural form. This mulch is then sold wholesale to other dealers, golf courses, landscape contractors and developers.
“We began with just mulch, but we could see opportunities to expand,” said owner Bryan Stewart. “In order to capitalize on that potential we needed to restructure some of our existing debt. We needed more financial flexibility to influence the direction of the company.” Stewart turned to BCI Lending for help with alleviating these growing pains. With a fully amortizing SBA (Small Business Association) loan, Upstate Mulch found the freedom needed to strengthen the company and increase employees, products and services.
And while some partners welcomed an opportunity for expansion, others saw it as a time to sell their holdings in the company. “BCI Lending was instrumental in helping us arrange ownership buyout,” Stewart said. “It was a complex deal with several different pieces of real estate in two different states.”
With financial needs met, the company soon grew into Upstate Mulch Products and Services with four retail centers in the Carolinas. The retail centers stock the highest quality mulches, planting mix, compost, soils and stone, rock, sand and gravel in a variety of textures and colors. They carry pallets of stone for walls, patios and other hardscapes, Tumblesafe playground mulch and MasterScape Mulch, double-ground and color-enriched to resist fading. Their bulk trucking and installation division delivers and blows product onto projects as small in scale as a home or as large as a college campus or municipal park.
Stewart gives high praise for the advice and assistance he received from his loan officer at BCI Lending. “I worked with Mike Sandusky,” Stewart explained. “He met all his commitments through to the closing date. BCI Lending is very good at what they do. They’ve been great to work with.”
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