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Updated: March 27th, 2020
Do you remember the summer before you went to college?
While many of us spent those months picking out the best comforter for our dorm room, making some pocket change, or generally goofing off, Brian Bradley was at a crossroads. This is his story.
Brian and his dad bought a struggling paintball shop while he was in high school, and after making a few changes — making sure items were stocked, bringing the prices down, and just making the store more presentable — business exploded.
“The thought was this would be a side job while I’m going to college.”
This left Brian with a big choice to make: “Do I go to college in hopes of finding myself a career path? Or do I follow this career path that’s already right in front of me?”
Seeing the potential in his business, Brian decided to put school on hold and chase after the success of the business. “I tell people I’m a real Mark Zuckerberg — but with a few less zeros attributed to my success,” Brian jokes.
While Extreme Velocity, his paintball and airsoft store in Salem, Oregon, may not be as well known as Facebook, Brian’s risk has paid off. In fact, business was doing so well that in 2017, Brian decided to buy another business — an indoor paintball field with a small, attached shop. The only problem? He needed a lot of money upfront to purchase it.
Unfortunately, his bank was unwilling to help. “A store like mine is outside the small box that banks consider ‘usual.’ And when you get out there, they just don’t want to deal with you.”
“My Account Manager was phenomenal — super helpful and patient every step of the way.”
Fortunately, Brian ended up finding Funding Circle, which he initially thought was too good to be true. However, after his account manager explained everything, Brian decided to apply for a loan, and before he knew it, he had the money he needed. “It was almost too fast — I had money sitting in my account for almost a month while I negotiated the final details of our acquisition. But it felt good to know that I could cut the check as soon as the deal came together.”
Since Funding Circle, Brian has combined the paintball shop and the field — a move that has made a lot of business sense. “It’s a homerun for the business and for our customers. They used to play at the indoor field, and if they liked it and wanted to get into it, the folks at their pro shop would send them to our place to gear up and get some equipment. We’d get them set up and then they’d ask where they should play, and we’d tell them to hop back in the car and head over to the indoor field. Now we can service all our customers’ needs in one building, and put the cost savings back into the business.”
While Brian’s unconventional path might not be for everyone, he has no regrets. “My interests have changed over the last 14 years, and as much as the game of paintball still gets me fired up, I also have really come to love and enjoy the business itself. It’s become a hobby of its own — I’m always thinking how can I change this or improve that? How can I make this a better experience for my team members and my guests?”
Those changes may just be dreams for the future at the moment, but Brian can breathe easy knowing Funding Circle is here for him. “I’m looking forward to working again with Funding Circle for future expansions.”
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.