Photo by Erik Voss

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Alex Muñoz, All 4 Tires LLC

Alex started selling used tires in a corner spot near his home in Hasbrouck Heights, a neighborhood on the opposite side of the Hudson River facing The Bronx, NY. Business was going well, he had a steady number of customers, but he wanted something bigger than the corner spot he had, and a change from the high-priced-real-estate city to grow his young family. After a visit to his wife’s relatives in Atlanta, Alex fell in love with the city’s green spaces, the spacious homes that he could actually afford, and a tranquility he had not felt in the busy NJ neighborhood where he lived and worked.

The decision to move was an easy one. Within 6 months Alex and his wife Nicole packed their bags, sold their business and moved to Marietta GA. An online search for organizations helping Entrepreneurs led Alex to ACE. From the money gathered from the sale of his shop and other savings, he had $15,000 to invest in a shop similar to the one in NJ. The problem was, he didn’t want a corner spot like the one he had just sold. He wanted something bigger, not just selling old tires, or new ones for that matter. He envisioned a full service shop with an ample inventory of used and new tires to increase the number of cars he could service at a time. He needed equipment, balancers, lifts, and at least 2 employees. To accomplished that, he calculated he needed at least $30,000.  His wife was nervous to let him use all the savings they had to open a business in a city they didn’t know yet.

The first time Alex applied for a loan he lacked the requirements to access the capital he needed. Having sold all his belongings, he had no collateral to guarantee the loan amount. His application was denied. The Director of the Women’s Business Center advised him to start small with the money he had saved, and re-apply in 6 months when he would have cash flow from the business, and use the equipment he would buy as collateral. Because of his limited funds, Alex was able to hire only 1 full time employee to help him do the work at the 3,000 square foot space he had rented in Marietta. He purchased the necessary to start the shop, 2 tire balancers, tires, and some tools. All 4 Tires was open and had a healthy start. A steady stream of clients was coming in for service, he was even making some profit. He waited eagerly and contacted ACE as soon as the 6 months were up, wanting to apply again. This time he had business cash flow, a healthy business credit, and collateral with the equipment he had purchased. His loan was approved.

Since the loan, Alex has made big changes to his shop. He purchased an alignment machine, doubled the number of tire changers, lifts, and the inventory of tires. The advice and loan from ACE has had a great impact on All 4 Tires’ net sales showing a 150% increase in its monthly gross revenues. Not only was he able to service more cars at a time but also keep customers. “When clients buy a used tire they expect you to have it in stock, by increasing our inventory we retain many customers that otherwise would have gone to the next shop”. His staff team also grew to 8 including him. The new demands of growing his business made him rent the space adjacent to his shop, occupying a total space of 9,000 square feet. He plans to adapt an area for a detailed car wash too attract more customers to his shop.

All 4 Tires is being noticed in its community as well. Just recently Advanced Auto Parts selected All 4 Tires to be part of TechNet, a type of insurance reserved to the shops that represent the higher sales in the area. All 4 Tires was named the most successful business in the area. To celebrate their partnership, they will be offering hotdogs and other grilled food for free to their customers.  Alex is grateful for what he has accomplished in such relative short time since he contacted ACE more than a year ago, “The loan I got from ACE was very important to grow my business. I am Glad I was advised to come back and apply after 6 months. I wouldn’t have considered it. I am grateful to them.” All 4 Tires is a full-service car shop that looks very much like the one he had envisioned 3 years ago while selling used tires in a corner spot of small city of NJ.