Navigating at the “Speed of Business”
John Russo jokingly refers to his business sense as a “curse.”
A curse? For a business owner who’s successfully launched almost a dozen businesses in two states? A person whose latest venture (Palm Beach Customs) is recognized as a national leader in classic car restoration? Most people would hardly call that a curse.
“My family in Rhode Island had a chicken farm, and out of that came this sense of working hard and of thinking of what’s next,” explains John. “You don’t get paid to stand still. So that’s what happens to me. I’m always moving, always thinking about what I need to do next. That’s the Russo curse.”
At North Star Leasing, we see the “curse” a bit differently; more as a blessing. That constant energy, that perpetual motion is one reason why John Russo is a “North Star All-Star.” We’re proud to have partnered with him for more than two dozen equipment leases since the mid-1990s, and we’re honored he continues to consider us a key component of his businesses’ growth.
The Need for Speed
So, why has John (now specializing in the custom restoration of Jeeps) leaned so heavily on North Star Leasing through the years?
“You can go to your local bank for a business loan and have an 800 credit score, and they still need mountains of paperwork before it even gets considered,” said Russo. “North Star Leasing knows me, knows my business, and streamlines the paperwork process. There’s no waiting around.”
As an example, John tells the story of driving through Texas to pick up two Jeep chassis. He was pulling a trailer but realized it didn’t have enough space to store everything he needed to haul back to Florida. While on the road, he reached out to North Star Leasing once again to quickly finance a bigger trailer on the spot. Problem solved, and John could continue business as usual.
“I could have paid cash,” he said, “I really have no debt, but I needed the tax write-offs for business purposes, so I called Daren Solomon and North Star since I’ve worked with Daren for years. He knew my situation; knew I needed the financing fast, and it came together in a heartbeat.”
The fact that Russo and Solomon have such a deep-seated familiarity with each other is a foundational part of this story. It’s easier to obtain goals quickly when supporting businesses that have a shared fluency. The relationship started in the mid-1990s when Russo wanted to add a Chester’s Fried Chicken franchise inside a gas station he owned in Rhode Island.
“John is the ideal customer,” Daren said. “Whether we are working with a small startup or a large existing customer, understanding their business’ specific nuances are instrumental in getting approvals. It’s so helpful to know what they need now and what they’re going to need moving forward.”
Used is Good
Yet another reason John finds himself coming back to North Star Leasing:
“You guys will finance used equipment,” he said. “I was looking at a spray paint booth, and they were $125,000 brand new. I was able to find a used one for $25,000, and North Star provided the funding. That’s a $100,000 difference. That’s how you survive in business.”
Daren agrees that the ability to purchase used equipment can have a massive positive impact on the bottom line.
“We will finance used equipment, and we will finance startups,” Solomon said. “We have vendors in just about every industry, so when you can be in on deals that are beneficial to both the buyer and the seller, it provides a benefit for everybody.”
Most importantly, creative and fast financing provides an advantage for entrepreneurs like John, who place a premium on moving at the speed of business and embrace their “curse” and use it as a springboard to growth.
Inspired by John’s story? You, too, can become a North Star All-Star by partnering with North Star Leasing to help you grow! Learn more.