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Business owner Thomas Feiter

Deployment doesn’t deter this business owner

Balancing business ownership and active military duty sounds daunting, but this Florida lawyer shows he’s up to the challenge – with an assist from Wells Fargo.

May 10, 2016

Small businesses are faced with challenges big and small every day. For some it’s making payroll, and for others it’s employee turnover. For Capt. Thomas Feiter (pronounced “Fighter”), it was a 12-month deployment to Kuwait and Afghanistan in 2013–14, just a year and a half after starting his law practice.

Thomas owns The Fighter Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, and continues to serve in the Army Reserve. He says his business is growing, even when his role as an attorney for the military (the Judge Advocate General’s corps) takes him away.

“I was able to hire responsible people to help me run my firm in my absence. So even though I had to be out of the country on active duty for a year, my business was able to thrive without me here, which was comforting,” says Thomas.

In fact, with his team’s support, the law firm outgrew its space. Thomas then looked to Wells Fargo for a loan to help him buy an office building.

After evaluating his financial situation, Bruce Boddie and his Business Banking team at Wells Fargo began working with Thomas to secure a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. SBA loans provide certain advantages to those who qualify, like lower down payments and interest rates. But they also require significant documentation, including a business plan.

Over several months, Bruce and his team guided Thomas through the SBA loan process.

“As a lawyer and member of the military, Thomas operates under a mindset of professionalism and accountability,” says Bruce. “We saw this reflected in his ability to provide all the needed documentation — from his loan application to his business plan and all the other required financial statements — which allowed us to move the loan process along quickly and get his business the new space it needed to continue to grow and succeed.”

“Owning a building with your name on it brings a lot of credibility.”

Today, his office building not only serves his practice, but it’s also become an additional source of income, as he rents out some of the space to other attorneys.

“When clients walk into an actual building that is owned by the attorney, I think that gives them a sense of comfort knowing that this lawyer has been in the community for a long period of time, and they’re not going anywhere,” says Thomas. “I believe owning a building with your name on it brings a lot of credibility in and of itself, even before I get the opportunity to shake a client’s hand.”

Contributors: Sara Harrison