(Note: the following information written and provided by Self-Help Credit Union.)
Helen Foessett's home was a madhouse six years ago - almost untenable for the neighbors. Business was good, but the Brazilian-born mother was teaching a dozen piano lessons a day in her living room.
"Cars were pulling in and out of my driveway every 30 minutes," Foessett said. So, she determined to open a "real music school" with expanded facilities and a staff to match the volume.
Problem was, she and her husband Rick couldn't get a loan to save their lives. They had no savings, little collateral and the housing boom was about to bust.
"Who would be crazy enough to give us a loan?" Foessett asked.
But someone did. And six years later Charlotte Music School is a 2,000 square-foot reality, replete with instruments, multimedia teaching labs, a parent waiting room with WIFI access, and space for 20 teachers and staff. The Foessetts made six hires in the fourth quarter. Interviews continue.
It all started with a $48,000 loan from Self-Help in September 2006. This was after months of rejections from bankers, family members and other non-profit organizations." We were getting no's everywhere, until we found Self-Help," Foessett said.
After a short interview with a loan officer in Charlotte, the Foessetts just hoped for the best. A few weeks later, they were approved - just enough (combined with their own money) to lease the property, purchase equipment and open the doors.
Now the Foessets are again running out of room. They have 320 students and are considering a second location. Difference is, they have accumulated substantially more collateral and are more than halfway repaid on their loan.
"Who knows, maybe we'll be back for more," Foessett said.