Funny thing happened the other day, while working in my store. A Real Estate agent showed up after hours, to show the store to a potential new owner..What???
First off, let me take a step back. For 5 years now, I have worked as a store manager at a convenience store/gas station in my home town. I've always aspired to own my own business, and be my own boss...all that...but with REALLY crappy credit, and little opportunities available, I was pretty comfortable working "for the man" so to speak until I could find my niche`. I have been talking to the company president and CEO, about a promotion for the last 2 years, to a position similar to the District Manager role (or as close as we could come, in a small company with only 7-8 stores). As recently as the beginning of March, we had still been discussing what this new role in the company for me might be.
Needless to say, the visit from the R.E. agent really caught me off guard. When I came home from work, and I'm telling my wife about the "event", I start looking for listings online, and lo-and-behold, I find my store listed for sale, on several different commercial real estate sites....WOW!!! Talk about having your little bubble burst.
After contacting my D.M., and appraising her of what I had found; she decided she was going to approach him about my find on the web. Long story short: yes the store is for sale, it's been on the market for a while (as have been the other stores in the company), and if the store does sell, I MIGHT have 3-5 days notice that I am losing my job (along with possibly all 6 of my employees).
During all this talk about the situation, my D.M. says: " Hey, you know....it's really too bad you couldn't buy it yourself..." This little comment has led from something totally impossible, to full fledged negotiations with the big boss about actually buying the store myself. He has offered several different financing options, but they all include me putting a sizable amount down (between $100,000-$150,000).
Now, my quandry: I have REALLY REALLY bad credit. I'm talking a bankruptcy and foreclosure during my divorce about 10 years ago, and my rating can't be much better today.
I talked to the local bank, but even with an SBA loan, I would need at least decent personal credit rating. The SBA doesn't do grants, and even though he said he would give me time to try to find financing, I won't have a great deal of time to secure funds for saving this store (for myself, and my employees).
Does the collective group have any ideas that I might pursue, to seek alternative financing? I can rent the property, or buy it on a land contract (for the balance owed after putting the money down), so that part won't be any big problem, as the store makes a pretty decent profit (and has for years). Even making a loan payment, and paying the land rental/contract payments too, will leave me in a much better financial position than what I am earning now. It's all about coming up with the money down.
Any thoughts or ideas that someone might have, would be greatly appreciated.