Question: On a local level, what should business owners and entrepreneurs know about your market?
The Winchester/Northern Shenandoah Valley region is known for its strong employer base, low unemployment, and dynamic retail options. The commercial real estate market is growing rapidly with new construction and development downtown and in the industrial areas in surrounding Frederick County. The national and regional employer base is growing with new operations built by Navy Federal, the FBI, and Amazon to just name a few.
Question: What economic trends are you watching or anticipating in the year ahead related to commercial lending?
The end of the pandemic is expected to unleash substantial pent-up demand in all sectors such as retail, travel, and entertainment. While the date and nature of that end is very uncertain, the recent enthusiasm in the stock market and extended fiscal stimulus by the government are indicators of optimism that the vaccine rollout will be successful and restore the economy to steady growth in the near term.
Question: What advice would you offer new business owners who are interested in obtaining or learning more about commercial lending?
First, consult your local resources such as a business development center through the community colleges or regional chambers of commerce. Then, attend classes or training sessions on business plan writing, accounting, and entrepreneurship. Third, form a trusted circle of advisors in multiple industries, for example: legal, marketing, banking, and accounting to name a few. Finally, seek out a meeting with commercial lenders to discuss financing structures and options, required cash injections and collateral, and available state and federal programs such as the Small Business Administration.