Premier Fencing Academy and an SBA 504 Loan

Kristiyan (Kris) Hristov and Tsvetelina (Tsetsi) Bakalova Hristov spent years preparing for their goal of commercial-property ownership before purchasing a permanent home for Premier Fencing Academy, where they teach the sport of their Sabre fencing to about 120 students each week. Here’s how they achieved their goal with help from TMC Financing and an SBA 504 loan.

Creating a leading academy

Competitive fencing first brought Kris and Tsetsi together in their native Bulgaria, where they trained for the national and world championships that they’d eventually win. They opened a fencing club in Sacramento, CA, in 2006, leasing about 4,000 square feet of space and building the business from scratch. Tsetsi ran the club and coached during the day, and Kris coached in the evenings while also working full-time at a local certified development company (CDC) – an organization that, like TMC Financing, made SBA 504 loans available to small business owners.

“I wasn’t in the lending side of the business,” Kris says, “but I got to know the staff and learned about the incredible benefits of the SBA 504 loan program, and Tsetsi and I knew that’s what we’d use when we were ready to buy.” Among the benefits are a low down-payment (typically 10% instead of 30%) and a fixed interest rate over the life of the loan, which is usually 25 years (compared to 5-10 years with conventional commercial mortgages). There can also be significant tax breaks and long-term financial benefits.

TMC’s team is key

Jim Azevedo
Jim Azevedo, Senior Vice President, Business Development

Kris and Tsetsi diligently saved for the down payment, even while starting a family and raising three children. As the fencing academy grew, their dream got closer, too: They scoped out locations and eventually found a building they liked. They reached out to Business Development Officer Jim Azevedo – one of Kris’s former colleagues who is now at TMC Financing.

“As it turns out,” Kris explains, “that building was more than we needed or qualified for. But instead of leaving it at that, Jim and the TMC team worked with us while we found exactly the right property to buy.” The ideal space turned out to be nearly 10,000 square feet in total – plenty of room to expand their academy with the option to lease extra space to a tenant.

With TMC’s help, they also found a bank to partner on the loan, as SBA 504 loans include the owner’s down payment (10% for most deals), 50% from the partnering bank and the remaining 40% financed through TMC.

“Buying a commercial property is a complex process,” Kris explains, “So, as part of our long-term strategy, in addition to saving for the down payment, we continuously updated our financials and other paperwork.”

Tsetsi continues, saying, “When you’re buying real estate, you have to expect that there will be a lot of steps. You have to be patient and diligent and having the right team is essential, too. TMC was excellent to work with, answering every question and supporting us along the way.”

Owning a building opens the door to new business goals

premier fencing academy purchases building with sba 504 loanTsetsi and Kris understand that time spent training is as much about finding a family of coaches and friends as it is about skill development.

“We tell our students that it’s important to have goals and one of ours is to provide the absolute best-in-class facility and training for our students and to make it a place where coaches and parents thrive, too,” Tsetsi says. “Now, we can create our ideal environment. It’s so much easier to plan with a fixed payment and stable occupancy costs and the investments in our facility will be here for our team to use and enjoy, which brings us closer to our goals.”

TMC Financing can help you achieve your goals

Kris says, “TMC and the SBA 504 loan can make ownership happen and it really is life-changing, there are so many benefits.”

If your business is located in TMC Financing’s service area of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, contact us to find out more and to get started with the SBA 504 loan program. And if your business is located outside of our service area, try the SBA’s Lender Match tool to find a qualified certified development company (CDC) lending partner near you.