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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
By Kyle Smith
November 01, 2016

A.D. Heating & Air Service Helps Area Veterans Thanks to a Small Business Loan

ad heating and air service altcap
In April 2016, A. D. Heating & Air Service  was provided a $35,000 working capital loan from AltCap to work on a project for homeless veterans. That’s some pretty cool cash to pull in for a hot idea, all in a time when many too many businesses die in the bank parking lot.

How did they do it? It’s all about finding the right partners at the right time.

Alvin “Demond” Ammons was a machinist mate in the U.S Navy and served during Desert Storm. He was always mechanically inclined, so when he left the service he earned an A.O.S degree in heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration from Vatterott College. He worked for a few other outfits, before opening his own business, A.D. Heating & Air Service, LLC in August 2004.

Demond runs the business with his wife Crystal Ammons and a crew of five or so employees. They started with residential installations and service. Over time, they added very light commercial work and are now in commercial multifamily unit projects.

Crystal says growth has been slow, but steady, “We have been self-capitalized and it’s tough, especially in construction because you are never sure of what surprises may pop up on the job.”

This past year, A.D. Heating & Air Service wanted to bid on the St. Michael’s Veterans Center project. The planned campus on the eastside of Kansas City, Missouri, will provide 180 apartments to homeless veterans. In order for A.D. Heating & Air Service to be involved in a project of that scope, they needed some financial assistance.

They turned to AltCap, a community development financial institution (CDFI), and applied for a $35K loan through their new Diversified Contractors Growth Fund (DCGF), the first loan application for the fund.

As cool as it gets

“It is very exciting to be the first recipient of this loan,” says Crystal.

Her excitement is echoed by Ruben Alonso III, president of AltCap, who believes lending to A.D. Heating & Air Service was a great way to kick off the DCGF program.

“[They are an] established MBE contractor that has a demonstrated track record of work, a management team that is passionate about their business and wants to grow its capacity to work on bigger projects,” says Alonso.

While this is the first loan A.D. Heating & Air Service has ever received, Crystal found the application process relatively easy.

“The [AltCap] staff was amazing and very helpful. They understand the frustrations of small business owners and were very supportive and prompt with answers to questions or concerns. It is essentially a pain-free process.”  

Serving our nation’s veterans

A.D. Heating & Air Service started work on the St. Michael’s Veterans Center project in May of 2016. Crystal explains, “This loan provides us the opportunity to keep payroll going for our employees, and the potential to hire more during this project.”

But it also means more than that to her and Demond. “This project is exciting just because of what it provides to the veterans, and with my husband being a veteran, it is close to our heart.  This has been a real blessing for us.”  

AltCap started the DCGF in 2016 when they noticed that many women- and minority-owned businesses needed financial assistance to be viable contenders for larger projects because they weren’t able to secure loans from banks.

Ruben explains this phenomena in terms of A.D. Heating & Air Service, “They are a very typical case of another small business that gets overlooked by traditional financial institutions (i.e., banks) because their financing needs are too small or they don’t fit a specific business profile. That is why the DCGF is so critical and why we at AltCap love what we do. We are helping to bridge these small business financing gaps and providing small businesses an opportunity to demonstrate their credit-worthiness and continue to grow so that banks will start paying attention to them and serving them.” 

Serving our city’s small businesses

AltCap hopes this is the first of many loans for Kansas City small businesses, especially M/WBE contractors.

“Ultimately, we want to create a community of borrowers in the MBE/WBE contractor community that can rely on us for their short term financing needs,” says Ruben.

He also explained how providing capital is just the most obvious benefit.

“AltCap’s approach to lending is not just transactional. We have a commitment to not only developing strong borrowers, but strong businesses. We have partnered with a number of technical assistance providers that can offer contractors various resources to help develop the financial expertise and business management capacity to take on a loan and develop and grow their business.”

Too hot to handle

Crystal has sound advice for other small business owners interested in growth: start small and build a good, solid reputation; pay your bills, employees/contractors and vendors on time; and  don’t be afraid to ask for help and use the resources that are made available to you.

Business is going well at A.D. Heating & Air Service, and not just because it’s getting cold outside.

“I am currently bidding other projects and we are looking forward to expanding our business, hiring more employees and getting to a place where we can have multiple project working smoothly at the same time.”

Crystal is very excited for what the future holds for her and her husband.

“With the help of the DCGF program, our goals can become our reality.”

What do you need to move your business forward? Small business loan? Mentoring? Networking opportunities? Our 230+ Resource Network is flush with Kansas City-area nonprofits ready to help you at little or no-cost. Send us some info here and we will be in touch ASAP with your free personalized action plan.  

Photo Courtesy Ildar Sagdejev

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