SBA 504 loan program helps businesses grow in Oakland

TMC tours new business facilities funded by SBA 504 loans in Oakland

Each year, TMC board members and staff celebrate the success of the SBA 504 loan program by visiting recently funded properties. For 2016, the tour included two Oakland businesses: Rock The Bike and Four Barrel Coffee.

Rock The Bike owner Paul Freedman, a.k.a. Fossil Fool, is first and foremost a bike person. Around that core, he’s wrapped a passion for social and environmental justice to create the unique bike manufacturing and event company.

Freedman and the inventor/advocates at Rock The Bike build human-powered bikes that generate electricity to run blenders, lights, amplifiers and more. They also take their pedal-powered shows on the road to consciousness-raising events that help people recognize their own ability to real and lasting impact on climate change.

TMC provided $800,000 in SBA 504 financing to help Freedman purchase the Rock The Bike workshop facilities on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland. TMC partnered with Community Bank of the Bay for the $2 million total project.

Four Barrel Coffee’s need to expand their roasting facilities brought them to Oakland, where they are building a new roastery near Jack London Square.

Four Barrel Coffee partners Jeremy Tooker, Jodi Geren and Tal Mor grew up in coffee. Tooker co-founded the legendary San Francisco roastery Ritual Coffee before going his own way with Four Barrel in 2007. Geren and Mor soon joined the charge.

The early years, amidst the recession, were tough. “We kind of white-knuckled it through the hard times to get where we are now,” Geren said. “The business is growing and we’re feeling established and solid. We have TMC to thank for that feeling of stability. Working with TMC was a game-changer.”

As the business grew, Geren worried San Francisco’s frenzied rental market would make it difficult remain independent for the long term. “We were really getting nervous that we’d be priced out of the neighborhoods we helped establish when our leases are up,” she said.

TMC first assisted Four Barrel with a $1.08 million SBA 504 loan to finance the purchase of the expanded roasting facilities in Oakland, then helped with a second $1.08 million SBA 504 loan for a third café location in San Francisco. The total combined project costs were $5.4 million; both projects are currently under construction.

“Now we know we’ll always have at least one café in San Francisco because we own the building at 9th Street. That gives us a place of security that we didn’t have before. It’s a good feeling,” Geren said.

Every year TMC assists hundreds of businesses with obtaining SBA real estate financing throughout California and Nevada. In 2016, TMC provided more than $255 million in SBA 504 financing in support of projects totaling more than $700 million, helping more than 235 business owners create or retain more than 12,200 jobs.