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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lonnie Poole, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0085. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Raising capital to start a business

Here, Poole describes the beginnings of his garbage company and reveals how local connections help businesspeople start businesses. This excerpt offers a quick vignette on how one business-minded man found some capital and started his own business.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lonnie Poole, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0085. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: Tell me about--what were the key initial challenges. For example, how'd you find capital? LP: A little bit of luck. I had managed to save up some money. So I had the equity in my house which was about $10,000. That's in 1970 dollars. So I had that money. What I didn't anticipate was that I had not lived here in ten years, and that I did not know people in banks, and people in banks did not know me. So when someone comes in that has moved twenty times in ten years, you have somewhat of a problem on your application for a loan, for a house, for a car and especially for garbage trucks or bulldozers. Anyway, it dawned on me that I was going to need capital, and I still had to support my family. One thing that I knew how to do was to sell construction equipment. A friend of mine, a cousin Jim Poole as a matter of fact, indicated that he was aware of Gregory Poole Equipment Company and suggested that they were looking for someone. And I might want to go and talk with Greg Poole who was the owner of that business. That was Greg Sr. In the process of that interview for a job to sell construction equipment, they are a Caterpillar distributor, Greg became interested in the notion of starting a garbage business, which I had told him about. That my plans were to moonlight in garbage and sell equipment full-time, but if my garbage business did in fact catch on and survive and thrive, then my intentions would be to be full-time in garbage. He became intrigued with the idea and suggested that he put some money in it. This is Greg Poole, Jr. Greg, the Poole, that Poole family and I'm not related--. JM: No relation. LP: Had good credit facilities. They were very successful as contractors then later coal mining, then later Caterpillar Construction equipment sales. So they were well connected with the local banks and whatever. So Greg came to Ohio. We visited, and then I came back here a couple of times. At that point I had not moved. We did in fact, I presented him with a business plan. He became a shareholder almost from inception. We incorporated and issued stock as opposed to it being up until that point a proprietorship. Greg really became what is now termed in the trade as an angel and provided venture capital. Then I in turn issued him actually a majority interest in the company. So the capital was very important. Just by luck, meeting Greg Poole, it just brought it all together. First Union, which he was very affiliated, very much affiliated with at the time, became our first bank. So with First Union's help through loans then we were--. JM: On your way? LP: Well, we thought we were on our way. We at least had capital.