SBA 504 Program Allows San Diego Business Owner to Escape Rising Rents, Purchase Property, and Lower Monthly Occupancy Costs

The SBA 504 Program allowed for 90% financing and a Below-Market Rate, fixed for 25 years 

Sandra Vargas, the owner of Sante Fe Park, has 25 years of experience in parking and storage for the trucking industry. However, after she took over the family business, her landlord switched the lease to month-to-month and spiked the rent. She found herself in uncharted territory and was unsure how the company would survive. 

The key to Vargas’ business survival was the SBA (Small Business Administration) 504 loan program. Financing a land purchase with the program allowed Vargas to purchase property with 90 percent financing and a below-market interest rate, fixed for 25 years.  

Paving the Road to Success 

Starting at the family trucking business in 2005, Vargas was unsure she fit into this “man’s world.” She even considered resigning. However, the clients began to feel like family, and after seeing the company’s book of accounts, she knew they needed her expertise. It took years, but she got Sante Fe Park current on taxes, accounts payable, credit cards, etc.  

While heading the business with her husband Oscar, Vargas also decided to make the fateful switch from tenant to the owner to create a stable future for the business. She put the company on the right track for the next generation.  

An SBA 504 Loan from TMC Financing Saved Santa Fe Park 

The rent nearly tripled within six months of the husband-and-wife team taking over the business. In just a few months, the skyrocketing rents added $16,000 per month to the balance sheet. The business was suddenly on the brink of closing. 

It was Vargas’ son who suggested purchasing land to run the business, a thought that seemed wild to Vargas at the time. “I can’t even afford the rent,” stated Vargas. “How would I be able to afford a land purchase?” 

She was very aware of how expensive and time-consuming a conventional bank loan was. Financing a simple forklift led to punishing interest rates, even when the business was strong. 

Again, with the help of her son, Vargas connected with Kurt Chambliss, executive vice president of sales and marketing at TMC Financing. From the start, Chambliss knew the SBA 504 loan program could put Santa Fe Park back on a sound foundation for growth. 

SBA 504 loans help small businesses finance owner-occupied properties at fixed, below-market rates,” Chambliss explains. “There is no balloon payment, and all loans are fully amortized within 25 years. Sandra only had to put down 10 percent to acquire a lot of her own.”  

Weeks from Shutting Down, Santa Fe Park Is Now Better Than Ever 

Sandra and Oscar Vargas, Husband and Wife team that owns Santa Fe Park

“This was like a miracle,” says Vargas. “I never knew about the SBA 504 Program, so I never thought I could afford to purchase property for the business. The 10 percent down payment and the low-interest rate made it possible.”  

With plenty of support from her family, Chambliss, and the TMC Financing team, Vargas moved forward to purchase a 2.31-acre lot in Otay Mesa, CA, for $2,347,000. Her monthly occupancy costs are now lower than they were when renting. 

“TMC Financing worked really hard for me to get the loan,” says Vargas. “My whole family is so thankful for that.” 

The stability and certainty of fixed payments have done a lot for Vargas’ peace of mind – and the future of the business. Santa Fe Park previously paid three times as much in occupancy costs and lacked access to more than two acres they previously purchased. Currently, they have space to build on. Now at about 60 percent of their capacity, Sante Fe Park is using the excess land in creative new ways to drive income.  

At this family-owned business, customers know they are treated like family. 

“The same customers over and overcome back to you. You get to know them as family,” says Vargas. “I was so nervous at the beginning, but I thank God every day that we are doing great. We are getting there every day; every day is getting busier. I am so thankful for Kurt and the TMC team.” 

And is it still a man’s world out there? Vargas says no: 

“That’s my world now.” 


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