“Never give up on your business dream because you think you can’t afford to make it a reality,” says Amanda Enwright. She’s the founder and owner of Black Horse Stables, a group of three facilities where Amanda and her team provide the utmost care and expert coaching to horses and their riders. That’s the lesson she learned when she received an SBA 504 loan, in partnership with Pursuit and KeyBank, to purchase and improve her newest stable in Bucks County, PA.
An early introduction to horses and a promise to a pony
Amanda says that her grandfather loved horses and she remembers always being around them. “When I was just about two or three years old, my parents let me take a pony ride. The moment they took me off the pony, I cried. They put me back on and I stopped. They took me off and I cried again. So, it was clear from an early age where I was happiest! And it’s been my dream to bring that joy to others, too.”
She began riding lessons when she was five years old and by seven, she got her first horse. “I promised that pony that I’d be there to take care of him for life,” she says. She kept her promise when she bought land and built an eight-stall retirement farm where she kept her beloved pony, along with other retired horses, until he passed away. In addition to this location, Amanda leased space on a farm in Chester County, PA, where she taught riding lessons.
Waiting for the right opportunity
Amanda’s reputation as a coach, caregiver, and facility manager meant that her first two stables were quickly filled to capacity. She then leased a larger facility – a 100-acre farm with 77 horses and a staff that included trainers and stable hands. There, the Black Horse Stables team continued to teach riding lessons and coach local school teams, from elementary through collegiate equestrians.
In the meantime, she’d kept an eye out for the next property, one in which she could achieve her vision of owning a state-of-the-art stable and competition facility. That opportunity came about when the owner of a neighboring farm was ready to sell.
An SBA 504 loan makes her dream project possible
Amanda’s success – built on her love of horses and her determination to bring the joy of riding and caring for horses to others – led to steady growth for Black Horse Stables. Even still, she knew that purchasing and renovating this farm – now known as Black Horse Stables Furlong – was a leap, with a project cost of $1.2 million.
Undeterred, she met with her KeyBank team, who introduced her to the SBA 504 loan option, which is ideal for real estate purchases and renovations. SBA loans also provide funding options for small businesses that may not meet all of the criteria for conventional commercial loans, as well as to help minority and women business owners.
“My bank representatives felt that it was a great candidate for an SBA 504 loan, given the size of my business and that it’s minority- and woman-owned,” says Amanda. “They told me about how the loan works and then they immediately recommended Pursuit as the financing partner for the project.”
“There was a lot of documentation, but it always seemed reasonable. And everything was explained to me upfront and there were no surprises, no hidden fees, nothing like that. Anytime I had questions, Pursuit was responsive and straightforward, too. They really made this as smooth and efficient as possible,” Amanda explains about the SBA 504 loan process.
Already positioned for further growth
“The property had operated as a farm, not a stable, so there was a ton of work to do,” says Amanda. “And that’s another advantage of the SBA 504 loan – we had funds to acquire the property and to renovate it, too, as well as working capital so that we could hire staff and operate. Without that additional funding, I couldn’t have made this work.”
Today, Black Horse Stables has three facilities where Amanda and her team teach more than 250 lessons each week and provide boarding and care for about 100 privately owned horses, as well as Black Horse Stables’ own lesson horses. “And we’re already full to capacity with the new facility, with a waiting list,” Amanda says.
Pursuit can help you, too
“I couldn’t afford the farm without a loan, but I thought the bank would laugh at me when I told them I needed more than a million dollars. Instead, they made it happen by introducing me to the SBA 504 loan and Pursuit,” Amanda says. “Today, I have my dream stable and a loan that we can afford. I couldn’t be happier about how this worked out.”