Walsh Masonry was founded in 1981 and began as a one-man operation specializing in glass block installation, residential masonry and repairs. President and founder Terry Walsh, along with his wife Dawn, operated and grew the business, eventually evolving it into a union company and expanding into commercial construction. Then, Terry ran the jobs and Dawn handled the paperwork. Today, Dawn is retired and daughter Natalie Walsh represents the second generation. Together, Terry and Natalie guide Walsh Masonry as it engages in projects ranging from shopping centers to schools and employs as many as 40 masons, depending on the season and number of projects.

Keeping a business flourishing for more than 30 years is a success story in itself but as Terry explains, it has not always been an easy road. Life was good for the company until the economic downturn in 2008 when sales began to drop. Around that time Dawn began caring for her elderly mother and the couple brought in an outside bookkeeper to handle the office. As often happens, the outsider was not a good fit for the company. Two other bookkeepers followed over the next few years, neither of which performed with the attention to detail necessary to keep things running on an even keel.

In 2013, business began to recover but after several years of hardship, Terry was in need of working capital and a new banking relationship. In September of that year Natalie, a communications major with some practical experience in construction estimating, volunteered to come on board. Dawn trained her and explained “how to do everything” and Natalie was off and running.

As she struggled to learn the business while managing the tight cash flow, Natalie also began to research small business resources and quickly discovered SCORE. Mentor Dick Boemer stepped in to work with Natalie and Terry just before the end of 2013.

Boemer helped to devise a plan to obtain working capital and also identified potential local banks to approach about moving the business. Over the next six months, they worked together and by June they had established a healthy new relationship with local lender Ixonia Bank. The bank assisted them in finding an accounting firm.

“We appreciate everything Dick did to help us through this process,” said Terry. “We had no confidence in our ability. Thanks to his help, we went to meetings fully prepared; on our own, we would not have been. He stayed with it and didn’t throw in the towel. I just can’t say enough about SCORE and the valuable resource it has been for us.” Boemer gives Natalie plenty of credit, “She did all her homework and had the energy to keep pushing.”

During the downturn, Walsh’s business dropped 50% but as of the end of 2014 they have not only recovered that loss but surpassed it. Business is good. Terry confirms that as a result of this experience, “we have learned new habits. We are more frugal – all the time.”

Natalie is expanding her business accounting knowledge daily and looks forward to taking the Quick Books workshops offered by SCORE. She explains that she and Terry meet monthly to “talk about where we are.” Both Terry and Natalie note that small business owners tend to think of a CPA as “something you can’t afford” and financial reports and reviews as “something you have to do,” but both are valuable tools that you need to use in order to manage your daily operation. “That is what helps you understand what is really going on.”

As Terry sums it up, “Finding SCORE was our success story!”

 

How SCORE Helped: 

Keeping a business flourishing for more than 30 years is a success story in itself but as Terry explains, it has not always been an easy road. Life was good for the company until the economic downturn in 2008 when sales began to drop. In 2013, business began to recover but after several years of hardship, Terry was in need of working capital and a new banking relationship. Mentor Dick Boemer stepped in to work with Natalie and Terry. Boemer helped to devise a plan to obtain working capital and also identified potential local banks to approach about moving the business. Over the next six months, they worked together and by June they had established a healthy new relationship with local lender Ixonia Bank. The bank assisted them in finding an accounting firm.