When Nancy Kotowitz first considered buying Shaker Farms Country Club, she had plenty of challenges to overcome.
Not only would she have to take out a loan of more than a million dollars to do it — the golf course was in bad shape, the club house was outdated, and the parking lot looked like a sand trap. “When I started, the few golfers that played the course asked for their money back,” she recalls. “It was that bad.”
Someone at a SCORE event had talked about their own million-dollar loan to start their business, and “That was all it took,” Kotowitz says.
SCORE mentors helped with the important first step: determining whether the business could ever be profitable before Kotowitz committed to buying the country club. SCORE helped Kotowitz set up a business plan that focused on seven existing and potential profit centers for the country club, along with a marketing plan for each one in turn.
SCORE connected Kotowitz to the SBA to secure financing, and she got to work. “One by one, each profit center began to take shape,” she says. She installed a point-of-sale system, paved the parking lot, replaced the septic system, fixed broken equipment and water leaks, replaced old wallpaper with a fresh coat of paint, and more. “Even the beer cooler was revamped,” Kotowitz says. After several months in the permitting process, a new sand pit was approved for Shaker Farms Country Club and various other improvements were made to the golf course as well.