Jamie

Floral Beauty Greenhouses

Elmira, NY

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2ndloan
Personal Story

The road to owning his own wholesale greenhouse operation took Jamie Critelli around the world in the military and back to Elmira, N.Y.

Jamie’s first inkling to join the military came as a young guy in the Boy Scouts when he noticed how a leader’s vision could inspire others. The cost of a Cornell education sealed the deal. Jamie joined the Army Reserve ROTC, which paid 80 percent of his college tuition and
costs and allowed him to earn his degree in horticulture with just a $20,000 bill to pay after graduation.

The ROTC also developed his leadership skills. After serving his country,
Jamie completed his eight-year initial service obligation as a captain in the Army Reserve. He spent three years of his service time in Korea, Germany and Kosovo and one more in Iraq.

“My specialty was aviation logistics, such as refueling and rearming helicopters and resupplying repair parts,” Jamie says. “During my last six months of service, I picked up a resupply mission to the front lines of Iraq, which was a harrowing experience.”
Running repair parts from an airbase north of Bagdad to the
front lines meant facing combat every week. “That’s just the way
it was,” Jamie recalls.

As a leader, Jamie was troubled that the difficult and dangerous
work that his troop provided to the front lines was not
appreciated by those combat soldiers.
To win their hearts and minds — and their protection —
Jamie’s unit held an ice cream social. It was a huge undertaking,
requiring ice cream, sprinkles and whipped cream flown in from
Germany for 1,200 soldiers. “But it was worth it,” Jamie said.
“Those guys became our friends, and we gained a helicopter
escort to protect us along the route.

“When I look back, I realize that my time in Iraq was rewarding.
I brought my people home alive. I appreciated the opportunity
to lead soldiers and to learn firsthand what leadership
is all about.”

Personal Update - Mar 1, 2014

These loans help improve the predictability of future costs, which improves my family's quality of life.

Business Description

Floral Beauty Greenhouses is a wholesale greenhouse operation with over 50 years of growing history. We are conveniently located in Elmira, New York, with full access across the Southern Tier. We deliver within a 1.5 hour commute of Elmira. Our state of the art greenhouse facilities are on 2.5 acres where we produce seasonal crops for wholesale distribution.

Floral Beauty's production focuses on 4 key areas:

Best Quality Plants - Floral Beauty truly grows the best quality plants in the Southern Tier. Many competitors talk about top quality or premier quality, but only one can be the best. And we can still manage to offer these products at a responsible price.

Cost and Energy Efficient - While most growers still use large exhaust fans to cool their greenhouses, Floral Beauty invested in 6 foot tall curtains on the greenhouse sides to allow natural cooling of the greenhouses. Using these 'side curtains', our electric use is approximately 1/4 that of a similarly sized operation. Floral Beauty also uses low cost domestic energy to heat our greenhouses, free from the spikes in oil prices.

Continuous Improvement, Everyday - Although Floral Beauty has a deep knowledge of how to produce our products, we know that we still must compete with cheaper quality plants that are trucked in from hundreds of miles away. We need to continuously examine our ways of working to remove waste. And we need to embrace technology to make our workers' job easier. Happier workers = happier plants!

Sustainable for the Future - Floral Beauty is a part of this community and we intend to stay here for the future. We want to support our local businesses, and we want to preserve the character and beauty of our surroundings. By investing in top quality plants, grown sustainably at reasonable cost, we feel we can be your partner for the long term.

Business Update - Mar 1, 2014

The last loan was critically needed to reduce the overtime costs to employees. Previously, all plants were hand watered, requiring 12 man hours of labor PER DAY. Now, watering requires s bottom line.

What did you use your last loan for?

The last loan was used to fully automate greenhouse watering, so we could stop paying our employees massive amounts of overtime each year during peak season. Overtime is now down to $0.

What is the purpose of this loan?

Floral Beauty Greenhouses has been granted matching funds from NYSERDA to improve the energy efficiency of our greenhouse operation. Whatever we raise, the state will kick in 3x the number of funds, up to a $100,000 maximum. In summary, the state of NY has offered us up to $75,000, if we can raise $25,000. This loan of $10,000 sets us on that goal.

Energy costs are the #3 major cost for a greenhouse operation, after labor costs and cost of goods sold. Energy costs are very significant and quickly erode profitability in poor years (such as this winter). Therefore, we must do all we can in order to mitigate these costs from increasing in the future.

Floral Beauty will embark on a project this summer to replace our antiquated space heating systems with radiant floor heating and insulation. This project will be of significant cost, but will save approximately $10,000 annually on heating bills.The project has a payback period of <3 years. This project is the critical step needed to be able to diversify our fuel source to a bio-based system (wood or wood pellets) in the next 2-3 years. Without a water based heating system, we are locked into natural gas heat, which will only increase in price in the medium and long terms.

Of the $100,000 total requirement for the project, NYS pays 75% and this loan counts towards the 25%. Of the total $100,000, here is the breakdown of costs:

- $15,400 for the project manager and labor force
- $24,600 for the 246 yards of concrete required
- $20,000 for the 20,000 linear ft of PEX tubing required
- $30,000 for the 20,000 ft2 of Creatherm insulation required
- $10,000 for foam insulation on north-facing walls

Jamie's loan is endorsed by Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University. The information below explains why his trustee thinks Jamie is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.

Endorsement for this loan

How has the borrower's personal life and business changed since receiving a Kiva Zip loan?

Jaime’s business added capacity with the previous Kiva Zip loan, which helped him expand his operations and create sustainability within his business.

Why are you recommending this borrower for another loan?

Jaime wants to add more capacity and introduce new products. Currently his business focuses on floral products, which yield tow growths per year. Expending and adding additional products such as lettuce will allow Jaime and his business to grow products year long and generate steady cash flow. Jaime has tested and developed unique products such as lettuce that can be easily placed in New York State, where people are proud to buy NY products such as his.

Original endorsement - Jan 12, 2013

How long have you known this person?

6 months - 1 year

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Jaime is graduate of one of our programs called Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities and participates in our the Technical Assistance Program, where we provide technical assistance, such as mentoring, access to legal counseling, etc, to help her successfully grow and sustain their businesses.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Jaime is an entrepreneur with great experience in both military and civilian life. Jaime served in the Unites States Army and has more than 10 years of international experience.

Jamie has a lifetime of plant experience (at the EP Jansen Nursery, Cornell University Ken Post Labs, Joe's Greenhouses, and Syngenta Seeds). Jamie has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in horticulture, and an MBA in Supply Chain Management from ETH, Zürich Switzerland. While still a student at Cornell, Jamie helped developed the advanced hydroponic produce systems that are now used by Finger Lakes Fresh of Ithaca. Jamie was also a logistics officer in the army for 8 years, and
is well-versed in the world of logistics, transportation, and lean manufacturing.

After EBV 2012, Jaime decided to expand and grow his Floral Beauty Greenhouses company and as many entrepreneurs he needs working capital, which will allow him to reach expand his offerings, increase production and stay competitive.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Floral Beauty Greenhouses is a small business in Upstate New York. Allowing Jaime's business to grow will allow the local economy to leverage local supplies, as well as hire local community members into the company.

Jaime has done research and presented his business plan to a panel of judges during the EBV residency. The panel of judges consisted of entrepreneurs and angel investors, and provided him with constructive feedback, that he incorporated in the strategic planning of his firm.

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PAYING BACK

A loan of $10,000 helps me to weatherstrip our greenhouses and retrofit our heating, to make us even more green!

Disbursed Apr 28, 2014
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Mar 10, 2014
Disbursed:
Apr 28, 2014
Paying Back:
Apr 29, 2014

About Floral Beauty Greenhouses

Industry:
Agriculture
Years in Operation:
3 years - 5 years
Website:
floralbeauty.com
Follow:
Facebook
Badges:
Badge repayment gold smallBadge connectedness gold small

Previous Loans

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Amount
$5,000
Paid Back
Feb 24, 2014

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
Non-profit educational research institute, entrepreneurship and employment focused, with training and technical assistance provided to entrepreneurs who are veterans and their families.
Tier:
Third Tier trustee
Location:
Syracuse, NY
On Zip Since:
Nov 8, 2012
(30 months)
Loans Endorsed:
18
Total Value:
$98,500
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
8
Paying Back Late:
1
Repaid in Full:
6
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
99%
Why are you endorsing Jamie?

Jaime wants to add more capacity and introduce new products. Currently his business focuses on floral products, which yield tow growths per year. Expending and adding additional products such as lettuce will allow Jaime and his business to grow products year long and generate steady cash flow. Ja...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.