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Carmen Montes and Carlos Barcenas contributed to this story.
Jorge Velasquez has faced a few challenges along his journey to being the owner of George Flooring, based in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
One of the biggest barriers has been learning the economic system of a different country. Jorge is from San Pedro Sula Atlántida, Honduras, and moved to the U.S. in 2007, looking for better opportunities. He spent years working in meatpacking plants and as a flooring installer before deciding to become a small business owner.
“My number one motivation to keep going forward is my family and, personally, I feel very proud to have my own business,” he said.
He turned to Center for Rural Affairs staff to assist him, and he trusts them to provide more help should he need it.
“They are willing to answer every question and give me the information they have on hand, and if they don't have the answer right away they will get back to me after they have done their research,” Jorge said. “I think in the business field you're constantly learning because times change and laws change, and the Center is always willing to be there to support me and others in the Latino community.”
Jorge attended a business class hosted by the Center at his local library and was curious about what else it could offer him.
“There's just so much you need to know to do business the right way, and I really liked the workshop, so I kept asking for more information from the people that were running the event,” he said.
One of the Center’s loan specialists helped Jorge find additional resources, including classes in bookkeeping and general business administration. In addition, he got personalized one-on-one business counseling.
The Center was also there when Jorge decided to apply for a loan, which he received a month after he opened his business in April 2018. He got a second loan in November 2021.
“Jorge has been innovative with new techniques and has introduced new products to the services that he offers,” said Kim Preston, lending services director with the Center. “At the beginning, he worked by himself, but now he needs helpers because he has grown so much.”
He used some of the loan money to buy a new business vehicle and better tools.
“When you're starting out, buying those things can be impossible, so the loans have been really helpful because I was able to get everything I needed to start my business,” he said.
Jorge handles all types of flooring installations except ceramic tile. He is working alongside one or two other employees and plans to hire four to five more to help with bigger projects such as hotel flooring.
“I put myself in the client's shoes; you want to make sure that the job is done well, so that's always the view I take,” he said. “I try to get the job done so in the future there are no problems with the installations I offer.”
Jorge hopes to continue to grow his business and takes great pride in how far he’s come.
“It's one of those things that seems impossible and then it finally happens,” he said. “We have established ourselves with the help of the Center and the help of my family. I feel very happy and satisfied in my life.”
Jorge is planning to work with the Center to see if he can get another loan to build a storefront for his business so he has a place where he can offer not only installation but supply flooring products to his customers as well.
“I have many ideas for projects—that's what gives me hope,” Jorge said. “I would like to tell everyone that has the desire to advance to take the next step. Don't be fearful, take the risk, take the step. Just like anyone who has become successful, they have faced their fears and barriers, and they have faced their hardships, but with a little bit of discipline, you can reach your goals.”
Need financing for equipment to grow your business? Contact your regional loan specialist. Find yours at cfra.org/lending-staff.
At a glance
George Flooring Installation, LLC
South Sioux City, Nebraska
Hours of operation: Seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.