Jose Ocampo moved to the United States from Nicaragua in 1980 after his family was granted political asylum here. Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and a few years at the University of New Mexico, he set his sights on being a mechanic and eventually opening his own shop. Having his own business “was just something I wanted to do,” Ocampo said. He graduated from the Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix and moved to Santa Fe to work in a friend’s shop until he was ready to go solo.
Jose Ocampo launched his Santa Fe Exclusive Honda and Acura auto repair and parts business in 2000 in a small building in Santa Fe. He outgrew the space within three years and moved to a larger facility nearby.
As his business continued to grow, Ocampo started looking around for “a building with better parking and more room” that would be better to meet his customers’ needs and comfort.
About a year ago, he found an ideal spot on Siler Lane with a 2,000 square foot warehouse. The lot was particularly attractive because it could accommodate the construction of a 2,000-square-foot workspace addition and plenty of parking.
For the first time in his life as a sole proprietor, Ocampo began shopping around for a business loan. He heard about The Loan Fund from a friend and worked with its loan officers to secure money for his new shop.
He applied for a loan with The Loan Fund — a nonprofit, alternative lender that specializes in lending to small businesses and startups — and construction began on the garage and service bays addition. In early March 2013, Ocampo moved into his new auto shop. Since then, he said, “Everything’s come into place. We’ve started paying back the loan.”
The Loan Fund works with its clients to tailor loans to their resources. It keeps the paperwork simple and payment schedules flexible. And it provides expert advice to small-business clients with big ambitions — people like Jose Ocampo.