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Hoa Tran Luong and her husband, Vi, were in a relatively enviable position when they approached Accion New Mexico-Arizona-Colorado in 2012 for a loan to expand their Boba Tea Company beyond Albuquerque.
The Luongs had financed their own startup in 2005 using money from another Albuquerque business — Noble Collectibles. Over the next seven years, that first Boba Tea Company location spawned four more stores.
“Boba Tea came to us with strong fundamentals in place for their loan request and a great vision of the next stage of their business’ growth,” said Jordan van Rijn, a senior loan officer at Accion.
Hoa said she liked how the microlender was willing to work with her and Vi to put together one of Accion’s largest loans ever: a five-year drawdown line of credit for $300,000. Because she and her husband had built a successful enterprise without ever borrowing money, Hoa worried that they wouldn’t have enough of a credit history to suit a traditional lender, even if their track record demonstrated that the couple had a brand to bet on.
“We are very much a branded company — everything has to look and feel the same” from location to location, Hoa Luong said of the company, which sells the tea-based sweet “boba” drinks that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s.
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