Growing Pains Hurt Native American Food Company
By Charles Michael Ray
Part of that bad news is that the buffalo hot dogs the company sells have done 12 times better than projected, so now it needs to quickly come up with $80,000 to buy the raw materials needed to fill the new orders.
But in this economy quick access to credit isn't so easy. And Native American Natural Foods faces bigger hurdles than most other small businesses: The land the company headquarters sits on has no value as collateral.
That's because on Indian reservations, tribal lands are held in trust by the government. So the 6,000-square-foot building that is almost paid for doesn't show up on the company's bottom line.
"We literally went to every single lender in western South Dakota that would talk to us," Tilsen says. "I think we met with 11 banks and none of them would even submit the application."
The company managed to pull together a half-million-dollar loan that will allow it to meet the growing demand.