In October, 2010, Crio Inc. opened its doors and began selling a new drink called Crio Bru — roasted and ground cocoa beans that brew like coffee. Over a four-month period sales skyrocketed, exceeding $65,000. Crio hired three full-time employees and three part-time employees to keep pace with sales and production.
“Grinding the cocoa beans was a very manual process,” says Eric Durtschi, the creator of Crio Bru. “We had to grind 15 oz. at a time in small food processors.” To grow the business, Crio contacted an equipment manufacturer to build a custom cocoa grinder. The cost? $57,500. Though the new grinder would allow Crio to produce up to 2000 lbs. per hour, the company had already used much of its start up capital.
“We contacted our banker to see what our options were for a small business loan,” says Jon Fotheringham, Crio’s C.E.O. “He asked us to prepare an application package, business plan and sales projections.”
Steve Winters, SBA Loan Officer at Bank of American Fork, assisted with the application process. “Our goal is to help provide the capital businesses need to expand. Even though Crio is a young business with a new product, because of their growth, business plan and creditworthiness, we were able to approve a SBA loan.”
In fiscal year 2010, the SBA supported more than $22 billion (54,833 loans) in lending to small businesses, which have helped them to survive the recession as well as to create much-needed jobs in communities all across the country.
The custom grinder was delivered in April. With increased production capacity, Crio has been able to focus on sales and distribution. “We have hired two more sales staff,” says Jon Fotheringham. “Getting the SBA loan has been critical to our company’s growth.”
“The best part of starting a business is when a customer sends an email or posts on Facebook raving about how much they love your products,” Eric Durtschi says. “Now it’s possible for us to make even more.”
About Crio Inc.
Crio was founded in October, 2010, to offer unique and healthy chocolate products. Its current product line includes Crio Bru, Crio Beans and Crio Cocoa.