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A&L Products, Ceres

The Beccard family established A&L Products in 1978 to manufacture and sell small to HUGE size tents for various uses.  The company has become a true family business with three of their children working in the business. The majority of  A & L Products’ clients are business owners needing customized tents of various sizes for events and festivals.  While the rental side of the business has stayed stable because of the long time established clients/events, sales have been impacted greatly from the economic conditions.  Diana came to the Alliance SBDC seeking assistance on a recovery plan to pay back expenses, deal with labor costs and expand sales both nationally and internationally.

The Beccards have built their business on prompt and efficient service so that by 2007 business revenues were $1.2 million. Since that time the recession has caused a steady decline in sales and employees.  Escalating fuel and steel costs also had a large impact on their bottom line. With revenues down and costs skyrocketing in 2008, the Beccards started falling behind in some of their obligations. With the previous year being so difficult, the company was not prepared for the business climate of 2009. With revenues continuing to trend downward at more than 30%, A & L Products had tough decisions to make. A & L Products had 24 employees at the peak of their business in 2006. In the summer of 2008 they had 17 employees and had to lay off employees for the first time in their 30-year history. In early 2009 they had laid off all but one of their employees.

A & L Products fell behind on numerous payments and were at risk of getting behind in their mortgage and business loans. They remained viable because of numerous large customers and many potential new customers. Ms. Beccard came to the SBDC in early Feb 2009 thinking they might not be able to keep the business open. After several sessions to assess their business condition and its viability, the SBDC Director assigned a new SBDC Consultant with 16 years of business ownership and CFO experience.

SBDC Consultant Dennis Murphy devoted many hours working with Ms. Beccard and her family to address their critical issues. He has assisted the client in reviewing all accounting procedures, cost of goods, pricing, operations, and delivery procedures. Additionally, Mr. Murphy assisted the client in preparing two reports to Pacific State Bank to allow the bank to accept interest only payments for 12 months. 

Since February, A&L Product’s business has increased to a projected 2009 sales of $1 million. Diana has hired back 15 staff for a total of 18 employees including family members. The business is now able to make its loan and tax payments on time. Ms. Beccard estimates that by next June they will be current on all past taxes.

“I’m so grateful for the expertise and professionalism of Kurtis Clark the SBDC director and Dennis Murphy, our SBDC consultant who were committed to help us during this difficult phase. We are much better prepared to weather the uncertain economic times ahead, and have become very proactive in our management to grow and prosper”, says Diana Beccard, co-owner of A & L Products.