Knowing who our customers are, how they use their loans, and what they experienced while looking for a loan is a very important part of how we learn and advance our business at On Deck. Because of this, we regularly reach out and ask them to share their stories and experiences with us. Some of the responses we get are truly incredible customer success stories about how small business owners used their loans, and how it helped their business. Today we want to feature a story from Elaine Oulsey-Nevarez from Houston, Texas.

Elaine Oulsey-Nevarez has owned Elaine’s Flowers and Gifts in Houston Texas for over 15 years. In 2008, Elaine came to On Deck Capital after Hurricane Ike slammed Houston, resulting in two weeks of power outages and several more of slow sales. These lost sales left Elaine with a short term cash-flow problem that meant she needed to borrow money to invest in her inventory and keep her business moving.

When she went to talk to her bank, they were, as Elaine puts it “completely inflexible and unhelpful”. They didn’t care that she had been in business for 15 years, that the long term cash flow of her business was strong or that things were getting back on track after the storm. “They just looked at my credit score – which had dropped because my credit lines were decreased – not because I had done anything wrong – and they said no.” she says.

Elaine contacted On Deck Capital, and admits she was apprehensive at first, but quickly became comfortable with the On Deck process “Unlike the bank, they actually cared about my financial statements and the cash flow history of my business. My bank just cared about my credit score.”

Today, Elaine’s Flowers and Gifts continues to grow and now employs 6 people. Her business has grown, she paid down her loan and she is now working again with the banks that turned her away in 2008.

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