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Two unexpected neighbors on South Congress hit it off recently, rekindling a relationship that was started 8 years ago. Evan Streusand first connected with BCL of Texas for small business coaching through the City of Austin BizAid program when his business was in its beginning stage.
Evan, just back from backpacking around South America, had fallen in love with his stylish and hardy Peruvian boots, handcrafted with lambskin lining and high quality leather. He was inspired to use the great local materials and bring them to US to start his own business, Fortress of Inca.
Several years after helping Evan with his business launch, the two neighbors met up again by chance when BCL visited their South Congress neighbors to let them know of their new mural in the neighborhood - and Evan had just happened to launch his brick and mortar store just down the street! After catching up, BCL worked with Evan for a Growth Loan. Fortress of Inca will use the funds to build inventory, which allows them to consistently offer most popular styles at shop and to other vendors to grow their business to the next level.
Evan is meticulous in his business practices and sourcing: Fortress of Inca uses only high quality leather, rubber, and wood from Peru, and its employees in Peru all have health care, paid maternity leave, and social security. “We wouldn’t want to do it in a way that we didn’t believe in,” he said. “It’s important to us to know that our workers in Peru have these essential benefits and good working conditions.”
Evan liked the experience of working with BCL because of the more personal and customized approach to lending compared to a traditional lender. To future entrepreneurs considering options for growth, he says it is important to be patient with the process and not try to do everything all at once. When ready to scale up, he recommends to take on smart and strategic debt.