Roberto's Winds & Michiko Studios - New York, NY
While New Yorkers are known for an abundance of creativity, one thing that they’re always short on is space – and for musicians, rehearsal spaces that are both affordable and acoustically sound are at a premium. That’s where Roberto Romeo saw a tremendous opportunity to expand his offerings and generate new revenue streams.
During more than a decade as the owner of Roberto’s Winds, Roberto established a reputation as the premier retailer of woodwinds in New York City. His showroom and shop is internationally known and musicians travel from abroad to purchase instruments and accessories, view his high-end saxophone collection and hear stories from Roberto’s 35 years in the business.
In 2014, to create new revenue, Roberto formed Michiko Studios, a music rehearsal studio for solo practice, teaching or large-group rehearsals that can be rented by the hour. By the end of its first full year of operation in 2015, Michiko Studios was already profitable, and Roberto decided to add more rehearsal rooms to generate more revenue. With that decision, however, came the need for additional funding. That’s when he turned to Excelsior Growth Fund for financial guidance and assistance.
The EGF Business Advisory Service (BAS) team recognized that Roberto had a sound business idea that was already generating a profit. They also knew that what he needed were sound financial projections so that he could apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed loan when he was ready. He had already had $200,000 of the $300,000 he needed to fund the expansion, and needed a loan to finish the work.
Roberto’s BAS team paired him with a consultant through EGF’s Consulting Corps program to help him prepare the business plan he would need to apply for SBA financing. The consultant, in conjunction with Roberto, developed detailed sales projections and cost and revenue assumptions for each of his business lines. It also enabled him to create the necessary financial statements that demonstrate to lenders that he’s on top of his business and finances. The BAS team supported him through every step of the loan process, too. They worked with him extensively one-on-one to package his application, understand typical lender expectations, and have financial metrics at his fingertips. Roberto was initially approved for an EGF SmartLoan™ for $100,000 to finish renovations, and then for $150,000 in SBA 7(a) financing from NYBDC for debt refinance and to purchase additional assets like furniture and studio equipment.
Together, the financing and business advisory services helped Roberto expand Michiko Studios to include four more studios and another rehearsal space and to hire several employees, filling a need for musicians in the city and helping to strengthen the local economy, too.