September 28, 2015 By Suzanne Robertson

“Proprietor was friendly, seafood was of top quality and place was clean. Next time will make sure to return on Saturday morning to get some blue crab!”

"They always have the freshest seafood."

"The only people I trust for my seafood."

Who is the friendly proprietor earning top scores on Yelp?

It’s Charlie Alegria, the owner and operator of Morgan Street Seafood Market in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Alegria’s father opened the fish market in 1960 and Alegria began running the business after his father’s death. Morgan Street is going strong and Charlie has now been in the seafood industry for 55 years.

“This market was good to my parents and put all of us kids through college,” Alegria said. “I love my business, my customers and what I do.”

Although business is good, Alegria found himself in need of funds. He had accrued high interest debt and the monthly payments were having a negative effect on his cash flow.

“I get calls all the time from people offering me money”, said Alegria. “Unfortunately, some of those are loans that require a daily payment.” Daily payment loans are products in the financial marketplace where borrowers end up paying back an enormous amount of money over a short period of time. “That type of payback schedule just wouldn’t work for me,” he says.

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Alegria received a promotional letter in the mail from SmartBiz. “I usually throw those letters away,” he said. “But this seemed like a legitimate deal that could really help my business.” He got on the phone and quickly realized that an SBA loan could provide much needed funds.

“There were a lot of documents that needed to be sent but the process has been very straightforward. My loan representative Alyssa was wonderful.”

Alegria secured a loan for $100,000 at 6% with a 10-year payback term. With the funds, he has consolidated debt and decreased his monthly payment obligations by $6,000 per month. He'll also be adding additional staff but won't have to look far to find new employees. His daughter is getting married soon and she and her husband will join Alegria in running the family business. “All I can say is 'Wow!' This loan has solved a lot of headaches. The way it was structured worked out very well,” he says.

“I’m not as young or as fast as I used to be, but I can still get things done,” Alegria said. “I say I’ll retire someday, but I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

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