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A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo No. 1 SBA lender for Arizona

Wells Fargo & Company announced it is the No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7 (a) lender in Arizona in amount of dollars and number of loans  approved for fiscal year 2014.  Wells Fargo approved $89,034,400 and 197 loans to Arizona businesses from Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

“Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do and is a key focus for our company,” said Greg DeJesus, SBA regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Every SBA dollar we lend helps an Arizona business owner start, expand or invest in a business and helps keep the Arizona economy strong.  We believe that the flow of new loan dollars into our communities represents a very powerful statement for job creation and economic development.”

Nationally, Wells Fargo approved a record $1.6 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014).  The company increased its dollar volume of SBA 7(a) loans by 10 percent from a year ago. An SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, Wells Fargo also is the second largest SBA lender by units, extending 4,036 SBA 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014, a 16 percent increase in units from the prior year.

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas  – and the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans (units) in 8 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia.

starbucks

More than 1,000 enrolled for Starbucks tuition program

Starbucks says more than 1,000 of its workers have enrolled for an upcoming fall semester at Arizona State University to take advantage of a program that helps pay for their tuition.

That’s from about 4,000 workers who started the application process, 2,000 who completed it, and 1,800 who were accepted by the school, according to Starbucks. The Seattle-based company said the most popular degree programs being pursued are psychology, organizational leadership, health sciences, mass communications and media studies and English.

Starbucks said it is too early to tell how much the company will end up paying in tuition reimbursement for the first batch of students. Reimbursements to workers will vary, with many employees expected to qualify for financial aid such as federal Pell grants because of their limited incomes. Over time, however, Starbucks said it expects to spend “tens of millions of dollars” a year on the tuition reimbursement as more workers take advantage of it.

The company is partnering exclusively with Arizona State University’s online school to offer the benefit.

The program was greeted with fanfare this summer because tuition reimbursement is a rare benefit for low-wage retail and food workers. Starbucks also isn’t requiring workers to stay with the company once they finish their degrees. Some of the program’s terms also drew criticisms, however, such as its requirement that students complete 21 credits before being reimbursed.

The program’s terms also vary depending on the student’s year.

For freshmen and sophomores, Arizona State University is giving workers an upfront discount of about $6,500 to cover the estimated $30,000 in tuition for two years, according to Starbucks. To cover the remainder of the costs, workers would apply for financial aid, such as Pell grants, and pay for the rest either out of pocket or by taking out loans.

Students will not be reimbursed for those first two years, meaning Starbucks won’t incur any costs.

For the junior and senior years, ASU is giving a discount of about $12,600 of the $30,000. Starbucks would reimburse whatever tuition workers have to pay for after the financial aid they receive.

On Tuesday, Starbucks was set to announce that 70 percent of the workers who enrolled in the program this fall are juniors or seniors, meaning they will get full reimbursement. About half the workers are baristas and 35 percent are shift supervisors. The rest have positions of assistant store manager or above, the company said.

The company said the most applications came from California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

Chandler Innovation Center

GM Officially Opens Information Technology Center

General Motors is adding to its roster of Information Technology Innovation Centers with today’s grand opening of a facility in the Phoenix area.

The center, which will enable GM to in-source the company’s innovation capabilities and tap into a pool of new and experienced IT talent, joins innovation centers already operating in Warren, Mich., Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Ga.

Randy Mott, senior vice president, Global Information Technology & chief information officer, was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening by more than 20 local and national elected officials including Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, U.S. Reps. Matt Salmon and Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona House of Representatives President Andy Biggs and Speaker of the House Andy Tobin. Approximately 500 facility employees also attended the event.

GM’s IT innovation centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of ongoing operations and increase its delivery of innovation. GM announced Chandler as the site of the company’s fourth IT Innovation Center in March 2013, and construction on the 170,000 square-foot center was completed in June this year.

“We have made significant progress transforming GM IT over the past 20 months,” Mott said. “The success of the Chandler Innovation Center is yet another important proof point that illustrates our progress.”

GM expects to hire a total of 1,000 employees at the Chandler Innovation Center over the next five years. Approximately 500 employees are employed at the facility, about 25 percent of whom are recent college graduates.

“The official opening of the IT Innovation in Chandler and the creation of about 1,000 high-paying, skilled jobs is great news for the local economy,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “Today’s event speaks volumes about the business-friendly environment we have created in Arizona, including our high-tech talent and competitive cost of operating. I could not be prouder of our state and what this announcement means for the future of Arizona’s economy.”

Said Tibshraeny: “GM is exactly the type of technology employer we need in Chandler and in our state. The GM Innovation Center is a perfect complement to Chandler’s Price Corridor, and furthers the city’s reputation as a regional hub for innovators and world-class IT professionals.”

mobile-mini-and-pods-containers

Mobile Mini Completes 3 Acquisitions

Mobile Mini, Inc. (Nasdaq GS:MINI) announced it has completed the purchase of the assets and operations of two portable storage businesses with operations in Connecticut, Memphis, Tennessee and Dallas, Texas. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

“We continue to execute on our strategy of making acquisitions in growth markets where we can acquire highly utilized rental assets on favorable terms,” said Erik Olsson, Mobile Mini President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our expansion in Connecticut will help support growth in high population areas, while the acquisition of a portable storage business with operations in Memphis and Dallas will meaningfully increase our units on rent in those markets without adding significant costs.”

The two newly acquired businesses have a combined fleet of approximately 2,000 units comprised of containers and security offices with total utilization of over 80%.

Mr. Olsson continued, “We are executing on our growth strategy of focusing on internal growth along with strategic acquisitions and believe this will continue to add long-term value for our shareholders.”

juice

Fox Enters Juice Market with Launch of Juby True

Fox Restaurant Concepts has expanded its presence in the thriving health-conscious restaurant market with the opening of Juby True, which stands for “Juice by True,” a juice bar poised to become a multi-unit concept by the end of 2014.

FRC, which has 40 restaurants under 13 brands in six states, opened Juby True in October as an extension to the restaurant group’s Scottsdale, Ariz. location of True Food Kitchen. The globally influenced restaurant debuted in Phoenix in 2008 and was developed in partnership with world-renowned leader in integrative medicine and best-selling author, Dr. Andrew Weil. It has since expanded into California, Colorado and Texas and has plans to open locations in Georgia, Virginia and Massachusetts.  New units of Juby True will be both stand alone locations and extensions of True Food Kitchen locations.

The launch of the walk-up juice bar is in response to the increasing demand for more healthful food options, said Sam Fox, CEO and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, based in Phoenix.

“When we first opened True Food Kitchen, we recognized the need for restaurants that offer nutritious food that also tastes good,” Fox said. “We instilled the same philosophy in Juby True, but this time in a portable, convenient cup.”

National Restaurant Association studies confirm the increasing interest in health and nutrition among today’s restaurant guests. In fact, 71 percent of adults said they are trying to eat healthier at restaurants than they did two years ago.

Juby True serves cold-pressed juices for $9, made in house and bottled for on-the-go convenience. The menu also features protein blends and smoothies for $8, water-based “hydrators” for $7, “juice boosts” for $4, coffees and teas ranging from $2-$6, and a variety of gluten-free, vegan and paleo-friendly snacks priced between $3 and $4. Additionally Juby True offers one- and two-day cleanse packages for $50 and $99, respectively.

Fruits and vegetables are sourced from local and regional organic farms in relation to “The Dirty Dozen” list. The foundation of Juby True was built with strong influences from True Food Kitchen’s anti-inflammatory philosophy.

Sun Health

Banner Desert Welcomes Neurosurgeon

Dr. Nevra King, a neurosurgeon, has joined Banner Desert Medical Center. King comes to Phoenix from the United States Air Force where she served as Director of Neurotrauma and staff neurosurgeon at Wilfred Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. King was born and raised in Turkey where she earned her medical degree from the University of Istanbul and completed a neurosurgical residency at the Bakirkoy Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases Hospital in Istanbul.

After coming to the United States, Dr. King completed a Neurosurgery Observership at Barrow Neurological Institute and a Neurosurgery Fellowship at the University of Arizona Medical Center. She would later complete her general surgery internship at Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania and a neurosurgery residency at the University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque. Dr. King specializes in brain and spinal trauma, brain tumors and spinal disease and degeneration.

“I am thrilled to be back in Arizona and to be a part of the team at Banner Desert,” King said. “I look forward to working with the staff and expanding my expertise in neurosurgical pathology including brain and spine diseases.

King served in the United States Air Force, received an “Outstanding Neurosurgery Award” and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and American Medical Association. She also received the Most Compassionate Physician Award and Patient Choice Award.

Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index

Comerica Bank’s Arizona Index Up in April

Comerica  Bank’s Arizona Economic Activity Index climbed slightly in April, rising 0.2 percentage points to a level of 95.0. The  April  index  reading  is  23.7 points, or 33 percent, above the index cyclical  low  of 71.3. The index averaged 87.2 points for all of 2012, 8.7 points above the average for full-year 2011.

“Our  Arizona  Index  increased  in  April  reflecting  the  turnaround  in residential  real  estate conditions in the Phoenix area,” said Robert Dye, Chief  Economist  at  Comerica  Bank.  “Home  prices  have  increased  on a month-to-month  basis for 20 consecutive months through this past April. On a  year-ago  basis,  Phoenix  area home prices are up 21.5 percent. That is providing  positive  incentive  for  home  buyers  and builders. It is also increasing  homeowners’  wealth,  which  translates  into  stronger overall consumer  activity.  We  expect  to  see further improvement to the Arizona economy in the months ahead.”

The  Arizona  Economic  Activity  Index  consists  of  seven  variables, as follows:  nonfarm  payrolls,  exports,  sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates,  continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, and the  Case-Shiller  home  price index.  All data are seasonally adjusted, as necessary,  and  indexed  to  a base year of 2008. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

Comerica   operates   18   full-service   banking  centers  throughout  the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  In addition to Arizona, Comerica locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in California, Florida and  Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well  as  in  Canada and Mexico.

Matt.Widdows

HomeSmart International Expands Network into Texas

Real estate firm HomeSmart International continues its nationwide growth with the opening of its newest franchise in Cedar Hill, Texas. Based in Phoenix, HomeSmart began franchising two years ago, offering one of the most attractive business models in the real estate industry.

HomeSmart CEO and President Chuck Lemire believes this new partnership will continue the international growth of HomeSmart and provide great brokerage services through the franchise owners leadership and experience in the Dallas Forth Worth region. Dallas Fort Worth is one of the top five economic markets in the United States and HomeSmart is the number one independent brokerage firm in the Southwest.

Since opening in January 2000, HomeSmart has had tremendous success by growing to over 7,500 agents nationwide. HomeSmart provides their Franchise Partners with specific systems and technology that create efficiency in operations and keep costs down while allowing exponential growth.

Cedar Hill franchise owners Jonathan Cochran and John Gerhardt bring a unique mix of experience to HomeSmart. Cochran served in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer before entering the civilian work force as a real estate agent, while Gerhardt worked as a real estate agent for seven years before partnering with Cochran.

“After learning about HomeSmart and gathering an understanding of what the franchise offers for our clients and for our agents, my business partner [Gerhardt] and I chose to purchase a HomeSmart franchise and begin our new direction in real estate as HomeSmart franchise owners. It was an excellent choice,” said Cochran.

Gerhardt adds, “I have always had a passion to help others and real estate offers that opportunity in unique ways. My family and I are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we embark on this new endeavor with HomeSmart.”

HomeSmart emphasizes the importance of being aware of client needs and exceeding their expectations, which in turn builds strong relationships with the buyers and sellers in every market. HomeSmart’s proprietary software also positions its franchise partners ahead of the curve. Created by Founder and Chairman Matt Widdows and his development team, the reputable systems are proven to save business owners huge costs attributed to web hosting, lead generation and back office systems. This allows the franchise owners to provide the technology to their agents for free while allowing the agents to keep 100 percent of their commissions. Other advantages to HomeSmart’s franchise program include a virtual receptionist, generous fee structure, and a full suite of branding and marketing products.

HomeSmart continues to open new offices and add jobs across the United States, with offices throughout ten states and international operations in Shanghai, China. They added approximately 3,500 new jobs in 2012, and their goal is to continue to grow nationally and internationally in 2013.

For more information on HomeSmart and its franchise opportunities, visit www.homesmartinternational.com. Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homesmart.

Americas Taco

America’s Taco Shop Expands, Plans Future Growth

America’s Taco Shop is growing throughout the country with new locations opening in Bethesda, Md., Lake Forest, Calif., Corpus Christi, Texas and inside terminal 4 at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. In late 2012, America’s Taco Shop announced a partnership through Scottsdale-based Kahala, a franchise development company. Led by the vision of entrepreneurial industry leaders and an experienced support team, Kahala has spent more than two decades building a company that allows its franchisees independence through interdependence.

“It is important to us to keep our product authentic and Kahala has allowed us to do that,” says Terry Bortin, co-founder of America’s Taco Shop with his wife America Corrales-Bortin. “We are excited for the growth that comes with the franchise concept. Sharing America’s mother’s quality recipes with the entire country has always been a dream of ours.”

Started in 2008 by the Bortin’s, this fast-casual concept specializes in authentic carne asada and al pastor, which is used in their tacos, burritos, tortas and more. America’s Taco Shop has been dubbed “the home of the greatest carne asada” through many accolades in the Phoenix market including 20 Favorite Places for Tacos, 2011 Five Favorite Mexican Restaurants, Best Phoenix Mexican Food, Top 10 Mexican Restaurants, Best Sandwiches, Best New Restaurants, 2009 Best BBQ, Best Carne Asada, and more.

America Corrales-Bortin grew up in the city of Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico. As a young child she would watch her mother prepare the dishes that became the recipes at America’s Taco Shop. After years of cooking authentic meals for her family and friends, America and her husband decided to open their first location in Phoenix 2008.

Visit www.americastacoshop.com for more information and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americastacoshop. For franchising opportunities call 855-55-CARNE (855-552-2763).