By leveraging a building loan and a line of credit from Consumers, business member Mike Welch scaled up his operation and gained his biggest clients ever.
Sometimes you find a new bank and sometimes a new bank finds you. That’s how Mike Welch, owner of Top of the World Granite in Grand Rapids, joined Consumers as a business member.
When Consumers Business Development Manager Jeremy Prins called on him in 2014, the extent of Mike’s business banking was a deposit account. Business was steady and he had no plans for expansion.
According to Jeremy, “Mike essentially said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t take on debt.’”
Many financial institutions would have stopped there, but Jeremy continued to stop by from time to time. Through conversations with Mike, Jeremy learned more about the custom granite, quartz and solid surface countertops Top of the World Granite makes and the customers they serve—both residential and commercial.
“One day in 2016, Mike told me that the building next door was for sale,” said Jeremy. “and he asked me what I could do.”
Mike wanted to move his solid surface operations into the second building to free up space for making quartz countertops in his existing shop. With the purchase, he’d have 35,000 square feet of space. His team of 25 would have more elbow room, and there would be more room for stock.
Anticipating future needs
By this time, Jeremy had a solid understanding of Mike’s operation. He knew what kind of financing Mike needed at the moment and what he’d likely need in the future—like new equipment to support his expanding operation. When he presented a loan package for the new building, Jeremy included a line of credit that Mike could use if and when the need arose.
The personal attention from Jeremy along with the anticipation of future needs convinced Mike to move all his business banking to Consumers.
Two years later Mike is still impressed with the personalized service.
“It has been wonderful!” he said. “The people are very personable, and there is team-oriented communication. I’m a simple businessman and if I don’t know about something, I call and I get answers.”
Leveraging a line of credit
Over the last two years, Mike leveraged his line of credit for growth that’s helped scale the business to volumes it couldn’t have achieved before. New CNC saws, routers and material handling equipment have made it possible to win bids to supply countertops for educational institutions, fast food chains and global furniture manufacturers.
“[Consumers] stands behind me in my business dream and are supportive in everything I do,” Mike said. “We work back and forth as a team. They send me referrals, and I do the same for them.”
A business for the next generation
Mike’s dream continues to grow, and he’s proud that both of his children are involved in the business and plan to take it over one day.
Daughter Erika, 23, is the customer service and inventory control coordinator and helps customers select countertops that are within their budget and don’t require high maintenance. Son Ben, 21, is the CNC and solid surface manager, having his hands in several areas, including supervising CNC equipment and solid surface production, and working in sales development and engineering.
Mike’s wife has retired from teaching, but still does the books. Mike dreams of retiring, too, but that won’t be anytime soon. “I’m a workaholic,” he joked.
Congratulations on taking Top of the World Granite to greater heights than you ever imagined, Mike! We’re honored to be your credit union!
Building relationships to help you succeed is what our business development managers do best. Call 800-991-2221. We’re here to help you grow your business!
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