Several years ago, Al Nelson saw a good opportunity in the market for bullet molds. In March of 2009 he opened NOE Bullet Moulds in his garage. As the years went by Al Nelson’s garage did not expand, but his business did. In 2013, Matt Watters joined NOE Bullet Moulds as a partner. With his support and experience as a shop supervisor and expert machinist, he helped the business sustain its growth and continue to the next level. The Small Business Development Center counselor was there to help them talk about the transition process.
Bullet casting molds are aluminum alloy or brass blocks with specific shapes hollowed out to pour in molten metal in order to make bullets. Many gun hobbyists and reloaders cast their own bullets using molds. People who want specialized bullets use bullet molds. Making bullets specific to the gun is critical for older model or antique guns because these guns use bullets are no longer mass produced.
When they decided to move out of Al’s garage, finding a shop turned out to be a lot easier than finding a way to get the right machine tools. “Like always, funding and capital has been one of our biggest hurdles,” said Al. After myriad phone calls, emails and negotiations, they finally found a combination of machines and financing.
After meeting with the Small Business Development Center counselor and discussing different options to get the needed capital including SBA-backed loans. Al then met with Central Bank who offered to help fund the equipment purchase with an SBA-backed exporter loan. This provided NOE Bullet Mould a local lender and better terms to help ease the stress of transitioning all the manufacturing to the new location. Al said, “We are very lucky to have a great bank on our side.”
Working through the set up and first run challenges haven’t stopped NOE Bullet Moulds from increasing their sales in the first quarter of 2014 by at least 20%. “The SBDC has been a wealth of information for us with information from starting up, to financials, to tax tips, and spots to be careful of. It is a great service” Matt said.
Matt’s advice for anyone getting into business is “Research the market, research all of the important items such as distributors, suppliers, material vendors, etc. and get a firm grasp on payment and deadlines, discounts, lead times, etc. Talk to lots of other owners and talk to the SBDC for ideas.” NOE Bullet Moulds continues to grow as they ship products throughout the United States and internationally.