Buying The Right Building
The not-for-profit ministry, Threads, Hope & Love, in Washington, Illinois, serves residents of nearly 50 central Illinois communities, offering free clothing, personal needs for families facing emergencies and other services. They have always worked to keep their operating costs low – about $1 per person served. But their ministry requires a large building with open space to enable them to collect, sort and distribute clothing and personal items for 1000 clients each month.
They faced an emergency of their own in September 2012, when they learned that the rent on the building they used would rise from $1 per month to $2500. Their first instinct was to buy the building where they were currently located, even though it was not a perfect solution for their needs and would cost $215,000.
Then Cindy Shuford, the president and co-founder of the ministry, contacted SCORE Peoria for help. Two mentors met with her to discuss the situation.
The mentors helped her to seek out and evaluate other opportunities that would meet their needs perfectly at a lower cost. And she found one – an opportunity to buy an unused 6000-square-foot building (1000 square feet larger!) for about $100,000 and renovate it for an estimated cost of about $70,000. So this permanent home is a solution that fits their needs perfectly at a lower cost.
Cindy said, “SCORE Peoria really helped us with this challenge. Using SCORE’s tools, and with the help of two SCORE mentors, we were able to develop a marketing plan for raising the money for the new building. As part of this, we analyzed our potential donors in terms of market segments to better understand their interests and, as a result, how best to communicate with them. We also developed a written business plan that incorporated the new challenge of buying and renovating a building. SCORE got us to where we are today – we could not have done this building project without their help.”