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Hamburger stand built with CU financing
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (9/9/09)--After years of crossing the U.S. in search of a diner, long-time restaurateur Alex (Vinnie) Altier located a 1955 Kullman diner for sale in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. His next challenge was finding the right piece of property to build his hamburger stand. That’s when Community Financial Members FCU stepped up to help.
Click to view larger image Dave Sanctorum of Community Financial Members FCU Business Services, Plymouth, Mich., congratulates Alex (Vinnie) Altier, at right, on his 1955 Kullman diner that will be refurbished and renamed “Vinnie’s Hamburger Stand” when it is moved to its new location in Canton, Mich. (Photo provided by Community Financial Members FCU)
The land Altier wanted was in Canton, Mich., only a few blocks from a former Vinnie’s Italian Sub Shop. The site was owned by Community Financial, the $54.5 million asset, Plymouth, Mich.-based credit union that had opened a new Canton branch office. When Altier met with Community Financial to inquire about purchasing the adjacent acreage, he was unfamiliar with credit unions or the services they offer. One of Altier’s first questions was, “Do you make commercial loans?” When he learned that credit unions can finance members’ commercial mortgage and business loans as well as personal loans, Altier decided to become a member. “When we learned about Vinnie’s dream of purchasing the land and building a hamburger stand that included the stainless steel diner, we were intrigued,” said David Sanctorum, Community Financial director of business services “We help a lot of members who are small business owners, but this was not your conventional transaction.” Sanctorum and other credit union team members assisted Altier with the necessary paperwork to finance the purchase of property and building construction, and to also obtain a personal home equity loan on his house in Livonia, Mich. Altier described the entire financing process as very smooth and without all the red tape he had experienced in past years with other financial institutions. “When I walk into the credit union’s offices, I can immediately tell that people enjoy their jobs, and I always receive exceptional service,” added Altier. “In my business, I hire an attitude, because I can teach the rest.” Since the ground for “Vinnie’s Hamburger Stand” was broken in July, Community Financial members and employees of the nearby branch have been watching the construction progress. The diner, which remains in storage at another location, is scheduled to be moved to the site in the fall and added to the front of the building after construction is completed. Altier, a lifelong Michigan resident, has been asked what prompted him to open a new business in such a tough economy and quickly responds, “You can’t wait for your ship to come in. You have to swim out to it. I’m not participating in this economy." “Community Financial is well-positioned to arrange financing for small business owners like Altier,” Sanctorum said. “We do our best to provide personalized service and find a way to help them achieve their goals.”
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