Client Stories

We’re proud to share our clients’ journey in business ownership. You’ll find great determination and dedication to their family and business. Their stories are part of the fabric of the communities and diverse businesses we serve.

Edinson ArenasAzteca Mexican Candy

$45,000 loan to buy equipment and expand family business.

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The Arenas family- namely father Jose Antonio and son Edinson—realized the Dallas market was hungry for dulce, or sweet, traditional Mexican treats, so they opened Azteca Mexican Candy in 2007.

Edinson, a professional AV tech, eventually left his job to help his father grow the brand and establish Azteca as a popular place among Dallas locals. The growing customer demand soon surpassed their local distributor’s supply and importing was too expensive, so they decided to expand the company by making the dulce in-house.

The father-and-son team took multiple trips to Mexico to learn how to make and perfect the traditional candies, but learned they needed professional equipment to meet customer demand. After the company purchased the wrong machine, the two visited several local banks for funding, but they were unable to secure the working capital they needed to succeed.

Aleia Shipman’s journey to entrepreneurship began with a career change. She left her speech pathology career and took a sales job at a chemical company in 2006.

“I had never done sales before, but I knew I wanted to try something different,” she said. “I loved that sales meant having to get out of the office to generate leads and opportunities and meeting with [people].”

Aleia built a loyal customer base for her employer, and learned the ins-and-outs of the chemical manufacturing industry for a decade. However, when she filed for divorce she began searching for better opportunities to provide for her children. “Unfortunately, my boss was not receptive to my ideas for growth, so I knew I’d have to go out on my own,” she said.

Aleia Shipman3G Chemical Solutions LLC

$11,000 micro loan to lease a warehouse and professional office space.

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Dr. Iisha BaileyThe Mastectomy Boutique

$15,000 loan to open her boutique, purchase inventory and office equipment.

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After 11 years working with breast cancer patients as a licensed pharmacist and losing three family members to cancer, Iisha decided she’d had enough. She realized medicine was only one part of the solution for cancer treatment and wanted to open a business focused on breast cancer recovery, healing and awareness, so she opened the Mastectomy Boutique.

Iisha first started her business online, but knew she wanted to do more. A physical location could create the warm and welcoming space she dreamed of to uplift women and provide health services and education to those fighting breast cancer. She approached her bank for a business loan, but as a startup, they couldn’t lend her the funds. “It gets really depressing after you attempt to get a loan from the local banks and you don’t get it. You start to feel discouraged,” she said. Refusing to give up, she continued searching until an SBA representative and the director of programs for Propeller referred her to LiftFund.

When Martha began her journey as a doctor more than 15 years ago, she saw elderly patients face constant barriers to accessing health care. During her medical residency at Texas Tech El Paso, she provided patients with home health care rather than ask them to visit a clinic.

With the support of her family and personal savings, in 2009 she launched New Light Primary Care— a practice specializing in geriatric care. With a record of success, Martha and her team have revived the art and science of house calls in El Paso.

Despite her experience and expertise, the business still encountered growing pains. New Light launched in 2010 as a family business of three. As of 2017, Martha’s practice employed 30 employees and was an 800+ patient provider.

Dr. Martha Manquero-ButlerNew Light Primary Care

SBA 504 loan to acquire real estate for her clinic.

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LiftFund is a certified 504 SBA lender in Texas and South New Mexico. Through a partnership with the SBA and local banks, LiftFund is able to offer the 504 loan program to business owners seeking to finance heavy equipment, real estate and improvements, and other large assets. Since 2008, we have helped 290 business owners with nearly $225 million in capital supporting more than $530.2 million in total project financing.

2017 Impact
Clients served: 15  |  Capital provided: $18.3 million  |  Total Small Business Project Financing: $42.2 million

Michelle QuirozReserva Coffee Roasters

$225,000 SBA 7a Community Advantage loan to build out the coffee shop and purchase professional equipment.

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Michelle and Danny Quiroz began their small business journey with curiosity and a passion for great coffee. “This really started as an experiment [between] me and my husband,” Michelle said. “We were fascinated by the science behind fresh coffee and how to make the best cup possible.”

Michelle, who enjoyed a successful engineering career, began working with Danny to roast and sell coffee at weekend farmers markets and local trade shows in late 2015.

As they continued their weekend business, they learned of the McAllen Buydown Program– a partnership between the City of McAllen and LiftFund, which provides small businesses with 0% interest loans– and decided to take on the business fulltime.

LiftFund is proud to partner with the City of McAllen, Texas to provide 0% interest loans for local small business owners seeking to open or grow their businesses. Since 2013, LiftFund has provided 118 business loans totaling more than $4 million in capital.

2017 Impact
Clients served: 18  |  Capital provided: more than $912,000  |  Jobs: created: 33 / retained 72

At a young age, Sophie Macey learned American Sign Language to communicate with her deaf cousin, Yasmin, and forged lasting friendships with other deaf children throughout her time in school. Upon graduating, Sophie’s aunt encouraged her to pursue an ASL career and follow her passion of bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.

Sophie became ASL certified in 2008 and interpreted in various industries. While interpreting at an elementary school, she witnessed the high turnover and poor quality of interpreters working with the students. Sophie knew something had to change.

In 2017, she took matters into her own hands and opened Bayou City Interpreting, an ASL interpreting agency dedicated to providing classrooms with quality interpreters. After a successful semester, Sophie hired six interpreters to meet the needs of her clients. Unfortunately, that was the same time Hurricane Harvey hit and the school districts closed. With bills and employees to pay, Sophie wasn’t sure how her business would survive.

Sophie MaceyBayou City Interpreting

$25,000 Harvey relief loan to cover payroll after the hurricane.

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LiftFund, with the generous support of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Groupon, JPMorgan Chase, and the Rebuild Texas Fund -a collaborative partnership of The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and The Texas Governor’s One Star Foundation- established an $8.3 million small business relief fund to support small business affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma with 0% interest loans up to $25,000. Since the fall of 2017, we have provided $3.4 million in relief loans.

2017 Impact
Clients served: 101  |  Capital provided: more than $1.3 million  |  Jobs: 122 created / retained 355

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Shaun LeeTruckin’ Tomato

$81,000 EDA loan to expand the business and relocate to a larger, customized location.

Shaun Lee and his wife, DeeDee, dreamed of a business that would bring people together through healthy and local food. “I’ve always been passionate about [providing] access to healthy food, and I was trying to figure out an innovative way we could bring the best foods from our region [to everyone],” Shaun said.

To make their dream possible they downsized their family home, sold their cars and liquidated their 401K accounts. After all their financial sacrifices, the couple was able to launch Truckin’ Tomato, a farmers market on wheels that quickly found a loyal following.

In partnership with the City of San Antonio, The Economic Development Administration Revolving Program (EDA) Loan provides capital to growing small businesses to spur economic development through real estate acquisition within the city limits of San Antonio. Since 2011, LiftFund has provided over $8.2 million in EDA loans to diverse business owners.

2017 Impact
Clients served: 11  |  Capital provided: more than $1.5 million  |  Jobs: 39 created / retained 95

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