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From small-town shop to international brand, thanks to capital infusion

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Rusty Surfboards – San Diego, California

Rusty Surfboards owner Rusty Preisendorfer on why he chose an SBA 504 loan…

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Rusty Preisendorfer: I started shaving about 40-42 years ago, yeah.

Ken Rosenthal, CDC Small Business Finance: He just was into it. Surfer by love — and started doing surfboards making them for himself and friends and then caught on because he was good at it. So he rented a small place that I can’t grow this business in this little tiny place I want to make my two boards at a time. So in order to expand it had to get a bigger building.

Rusty: We were still a relatively small company at the time and I’d started out doing surfboards. And a couple years later added clothing T-shirts and clothing to the line. And we started growing and the workflow was a lot better and it was a much more efficient space. And we were closer to what we do in the surfboards. As we shape the foam course and back then we subcontracted out all the fiberglassing. And a lot of those companies, the fiberglassers, were up here in the Miramar area. So everything became a lot more efficient easy to deal. Globally, we’re selling boards all over the world and still popular, having fun.

From small-town shop to international brand, thanks to capital infusion Rusty Surfboards owner Rusty Preisendorfer on why he chose an SBA 504 loan

Q: Why choose an SBA loan?
Rusty: I think one of the other things that appealed to me was you know turning rent into equity and over time hopefully if things went well with the business owning the building. And it’s worked out and we’re real close to paying off the loan.

Q: Giving back to the community….
A: We’re pretty actively involved in UCSD Cancer Center. There’s an event we put on every August to raise money for cancer research and it’s a luau and I’ve been actively involved in that since its inception, which is almost 20 years now.

Q: So, what’s the secret to your success?
A: Yeah, people ask me that a lot but I think it’s really simple. It’s just you know primarily follow your passion you. From a business, a business side of it, is I think one of the things that I did is you know I tried always to stay within my means and never overextend myself, never over-leveraged, and you know, sure be optimistic but be realistic too.
Ken: Rusty’s taking it from pure startup, small-town kind of atmosphere to international. And he’s good at it. If you do what you love to do and you’re good at it, everything else will come.
Rusty: I just really enjoy you know making something that puts a smile on people’s faces. At I never get tired of it; I’ve got my iPod in here, I close the door listen to music and it’s a little creative sanctuary for me.

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