After serving as a valued member of the AK Materials Handling Systems team, when Josh Smith heard its owners were going to sell, he jumped at the chance to become an entrepreneur. When Smith was young, he dreamed of becoming a business owner and saw this purchase of AK Materials Handling as an opportunity to further foster this company’s legacy.
To fund the purchase, Smith approached more than five banks before meeting with Jon Dolphin, our president at 21st Century Bank. “Jon’s been instrumental in navigating through some of the business decisions — both for banking and organizational questions, too,” he said.
During their initial conversations, Dolphin got a good feeling about Smith. “My first impression of Josh was that he has what it takes to be a successful business owner,” he said.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. In the initial months of 2020, AK Materials Handling’s business was transformed, similar to how many other small businesses were impacted by the pandemic. By March 2020, 21st Century Bank had launched their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and was supporting businesses through the economic crisis.
Through his PPP loan with 21st Century Bank, Smith was able to continue providing good jobs for AK’s 26 employees. Smith is extremely proud of the company culture. “We’ve been named eight times as one of the best companies to work for. I think that says a lot about our environment, our employees, and how we care,” said Smith. “We believe that when people come first, growth and success are the organic results.”
With his team settled, he and other members of leadership set out to navigate the unknowns of a global pandemic. AK Materials Handling managed to keep things running smoothly, even trying to grow their business as others had during the pandemic.
21st Century Bank was there when Smith needed it the most. “We took a real proactive approach to PPP loans with all of our customers,” says 21st Century Bank’s Vice President, Isaac Sandberg. Smith said has never been happier with a bank.