Two decades ago, José Fernandez was working as a handyman for a local company in Delaware with his eyes toward the future after working with a local contractor.
“I decided to pursue real estate and transitioned to working as a realtor,” said José. “But then the economy and housing market crashed.”
Leaning on his construction experience, skills and entrepreneurial spirit, José decided to go into business for himself. Starting small, he established Atilio’s Construction, LLC in the Rehoboth Beach and Milford, Delaware area and began taking on small jobs for local and regional residents to help improve their homes.
“While I started small, I knew that to grow my business, I needed financial support from my bank,” said José. “Unfortunately, the bank I had been with since moving to Delaware wanted me to meet the same standards as a large company to get loans to help my business grow. I couldn’t meet those requirements.”
One day, José was discussing his frustration with a good friend in the construction business, who suggested José try WSFS Bank. “He said WSFS treated him well.”
At the Milford banking office, José met with Laurie Cale, Vice President, Retail Office Manager. “Laurie sat down with me and listened to my story, my needs.”
Soon, José had opened a small business banking account with WSFS. “Less than a year later, I was in the market for a new work truck and met with Laurie. She knew my business, knew me and knew that having the tools and resources to grow my business were the most important things to me. WSFS approved my loan, and I was able to buy my first new vehicle.”
By year two as a WSFS small business Customer, José was ready to take Atilio’s to another level. “I had opportunities for bigger projects, but I needed more access to money to buy materials and pay my contractors for these projects while still waiting on payment from previous jobs,” said José.
“My business’s reputation was growing. Laurie helped me apply for and obtain a line of credit, which really opened doors for me.”
Soon, José and Atilio’s Construction were taking on larger projects. “The credibility that came with my financial support and ability to parlay my quality of work into larger projects compounded. I was able to draw a line of credit from my millwork supplier, Wyoming Millwork, which even further enhanced my capability to compete for larger, more valuable projects. I’m booked out on projects six months in advance now and have gone from $20,000-$30,000 thousand jobs to $500,000 full construction projects.”
José’s relationship with WSFS has grown beyond Atilio’s Construction. “I now have four loans and a line of credit through WSFS between Atilio’s and personal financing, including a second truck, a Jeep and I’m soon settling on a property that I’m going to fix up for investment.”
He added, “I’m a minority small business owner who needed a financial partner who believed in me. I needed someone by my side during the pandemic when times were tough. I needed someone to come on this journey with me to grow into a successful businessperson. WSFS had my back. They never saw me as anyone but José from Atilio’s Construction, our friend and partner, and that approach is exactly what I needed.”
Helping you boost your financial intelligence.
Read our financial resources from your friends at WSFS.