A Poorly Timed Refinancing
The Elizabeth Anne Bed & Breakfast was bought in 2003 for $650,000 and closed last August.
AT ITS PEAK After buying the Elizabeth Anne, the Reinerts steadily increased revenue, from $78,000 in 2004 to $104,000 in 2007. “We got to know the guests,” Mr. Reinert said, “and they got to know each other.”
WHAT WENT WRONG In 2007, the couple refinanced, taking out some equity to renovate the kitchen. They wound up with a 10-year, interest-only loan that increased their mortgage payment by $1,700 a month. But with people taking fewer vacations, Mr. Reinert said, revenue declined 21 percent in 2009. In 2010, they fell behind on their mortgage payments and were not able to modify the loan. The bank foreclosed in June. LOOKING BACK Ms. Reinert blames the refinancing: “It’s what did us in. Back then, we didn’t anticipate things slowing down.” Today, the Reinerts run KR Construction, which does handyman jobs. Ms. Reinert also works at a local restaurant, and Mr. Reinert plays bass in a Beatles tribute band, Dr. Robert.
‘We Did Everything Right’
Just Moulding, based in Gaithersburg, Md., sold and installed decorative molding. It opened in 2004 and closed last April.
AT ITS PEAK Mark Rubin and Kevin Wales started with a single workshop that handled small jobs larger installers did not want. In 2007 things were going so well they decided to sell franchises in the business and raised $700,000 from 21 investors. After Mr. Wales left the company in 2010, Mr. Rubin’s father-in-law, Richard Hayman, took over as president. Soon after, sales increased by 20 percent and the company became profitable.
WHAT WENT WRONG The recession. The company, Mr. Hayman said, sold a product that people wanted but did not need: “It was crown molding, not a furnace or a roof.” And while the business had the high legal and accounting costs associated with selling franchises, it had sold only three by the end of 2009. Potential franchisees had trouble raising the $100,000 to $250,000 needed to get started.
LOOKING BACK “We did everything right,” said Mr. Hayman, who sank $470,000 into the company. “We hired the best people and had a great product. We could not overcome the bad economy.” He and Mr. Rubin declined to discuss what they are doing now.
‘1 Percent of $500 Million Is a Lot of Money’
P & H Capital, a commercial mortgage company in Brooklyn that specialized in finding loans for small businesses, opened in 2009 and closed in March.
AT ITS PEAK Shawn Porat and Ismail Humet started P & H Capital with $4,000 while Mr. Humet was working as a Wall Street analyst and Mr. Porat was running Recovery of Judgment, which helps clients collect legal judgments. The friends saw the subprime crisis and tightening of credit as an opportunity, believing they could match small businesses with lenders offering alternative financing. In January 2010, Mr. Humet and Mr. Porat were piecing together a $500 million deal that they believed had a good chance of working. “Our commission was 1 percent,” Mr. Humet said, “and 1 percent of $500 million is a lot of money.”