Building Business from the Ground Up

Photo of Ms. DensmoreDarcy Densmore grew up helping her father and brother around their carpentry shop. She attended the local vocational college and earned her carpentry certificate in 2000.  Then she began work for a construction company, building everything from cabinets to houses.

But Darcy wanted to be an entrepreneur.  With the help of family and friends who built a workshop next to her house, she opened Triple D Cabinets. Sales grew in the first six months, but Darcy found that without more workspace, she could not handle enough projects to turn a profit.

At that point, Darcy approached the Arkansas Women's Business Development Center, a partner in Asset Builders, a project managed by the Southern Good Faith Fund. The fund serves low-income individuals in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta who want to save money to build a business and improve their financial skills. Darcy’s goal was to add a painting and finishing room to her workshop without taking out a loan.

While saving in her Individual Development Account, Darcy took the program's six-part economic skills training, where she got smart about handling and accumulating money. "I learned ways to get more value for your money,” Darcy said. "After taking the class, I watched our family spending more carefully. It also helped me to shop wisely when buying materials and supplies for my business."

Darcy saved $120 per month. “I added the $120 into our family budget, and the money designated for the IDA was treated like any other bill," she reported.

In January 2004, Darcy reached her goal: she used her savings and match funds to add another room to her workshop. Darcy noted, "Before I had the additional space, I could not start on the next job until the last one was done. Without the support of the IDA, it would have taken about twice as long to save the money for the additional workspace.”

From a net loss in 2002 to a net profit of $12,807 in 2003, Darcy's business continues to thrive.  She hired two part-time subcontractors, and projected comparable profits for 2004.

"It's nice to have a business that my kids could choose to take over when I retire."