Apache Junction exotic pet shop owners use SBA 504 loan to buy building


Declan McKinney discovered a passion for exotic animals at an early age. At age 9, he caught his first rattlesnake, much to the shock of his parents Mark and Michelle McKinney.

It’s no surprise that the Declan craze is turning into a family business, according to a statement.

Today, all of the McKinneys are co-owners of Hold Fast Reptiles and Exotics, Apache Junction’s exotic pet purveyors.

Hold Fast sells a wide variety of reptiles and exotic animals in addition to accessories, enclosures and pet food at 90 S. Ironwood Drive.

Declan and his team provide education and referrals to clients interested in purchasing and housing unique pets, finding the best match between sitter and companion, and helping them maintain healthy relationships and rewarding, the statement said.

The McKinneys acquired Hold Fast in 2021. Declan, a permanent employee of Hold Fast, seized the opportunity to amplify his career and take over as owner and manager.

The McKinneys hit an unexpected financial hurdle when the landlord of the building increased his lease by $1,000 a month. Mark and Declan knew that the increased overhead would not be sustainable, so they began researching commercial real estate and financing options.

“When the landlord raised our rent by $1,000, we started looking for other properties to rent. However, the Arizona real estate market is incredibly competitive. Additionally, the nature of our business requires a specific type of ownership to thrive. We couldn’t afford a conventional loan, so I thought we were going to be locked into a lease that we couldn’t really afford for the foreseeable future,” Mark McKinney said in the statement,

The McKinneys considered getting a conventional business loan, but the requirement for a large down payment was an impossible financial hurdle.

Fortunately, they discovered TMC Financing’s Small Business Administration 504 loan program, the statement said.

Geoff McGivern, senior vice president of business development at TMC Financing, helped the McKinneys secure an SBA 504 loan to purchase their 2,300 square foot building in Apache Junction. Financing the purchase through the 504 program, the McKinneys secured the property with 90% financing and a below-market interest rate, fixed for 25 years, the statement said.

“SBA 504 loans allow small business owners to purchase owner-occupied commercial real estate at below-market rates without a lump sum payment,” McGivern said in the release. “Mark, Michelle and Declan only had to put down a 10% deposit to buy a long-term operating site for their business.”

By purchasing their building, the McKinneys stabilized their occupancy costs, at a level lower than their initial monthly payment before the lease increase, and gave Declan McKinney the flexibility to use and develop the property for an experience. more rewarding for customers, employees and animals, according to The version.

Hold Fast Reptiles and Exotics is the sole occupant of the building. Declan began expanding his inventory, using excess space for storage and displays, and building new and improved animal enclosures.

The SBA 504 program is specifically designed to provide accessible and affordable commercial real estate financing to the small business community. Most for-profit businesses in the United States are eligible for SBA 504 financing, the statement said.

“To be honest, we didn’t think we would qualify for the SBA 504 loan, but Geoff and the TMC team walked us through every step of the process,” Mark McKinney said in the statement. “We couldn’t have afforded to buy our building without this loan program and the 10% down payment. I definitely recommend the 504 loan to entrepreneurs who want to grow their business and control their own financial destiny.

For more information on TMC financing, visit tmcfinance.com.

For more information on Hold Fast Reptiles and Exotics, visit holdfastreptiles.com.

Hold Fast Reptiles and Exotics,


TMC financing,

Small Business Administration,

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