Finding Money for a Healthy Start

As the owner of Diamond Contractors, Lori Perry has more than 20 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur. But last year, she embarked on a completely new endeavor.

Her family had grown to love their locally owned health-food store and the people who worked there. So when a national chain bought the store, she was disappointed—and motivated to take action.

“Well, I said, ‘We’ll just start our own health food store,’” Perry said.

The result was Terra Health & Wellness Market, a new grocery at 19800 E. Jackson Drive in Independence, complete with a deli, a gluten-free section, a produce section serving 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables, and other features. It opened in May.

Perry’s banker—Rob Morgan of Lead Bank—played a critical role in helping her put together the financing for Terra Market.

They already had a solid working relationship, and going in, Morgan understood her total business strategy, allowing him to devise the best possible plan.
“He most definitely guided us through the path of getting the best combination of loans to get it started,” she said. “It would never have happened without him doing it.”

Typically, Perry is very conservative with her money—“That’s how I am, I’m like a Depression baby”—so she was able to take out loans based on a few unencumbered assets, some rental properties she owned, with Morgan’s help.

If you’re an entrepreneur getting ready to launch a major new venture, Perry said, it’s critical to have money available up front, enough to carry you through the first six to 12 months. “Probably the biggest thing is to make sure you’re not underfunded,” Perry said. “Because I believe I was.”

It takes more time and more work to set up this funding, she said. It helps to have a banking partner who’s willing to work with you and look for solutions.
Terra Market’s off to a strong start, Perry said. Morgan and Lead Bank played a big part in making that happen.

“I couldn’t have done it without him.”

(Pictured: store owner Lori Perry and store manager Robby Baber / photo courtesy of the Independence Chamber of Commerce)