Danita founded her commercial cleaning business, Tornado II Janitorial Service LLC, after being laid off from her job when her former employer relocated. “We had three small children, we had just purchased a home, and life was happening,” Danita says. “We needed to find a way to maintain our lifestyle.”
An opportunity presented itself when a charter school who was unhappy with their cleaning contractor expressed their challenges to Darrall. “My husband joked that we could come in and clean the school,” Danita said. “He was joking, but it turned out that the school was not.” Danita submitted a proposal, won the contract, and Tornado II was born.
The business grew organically from there, with Danita finding a niche in charter schools and educational institutions. A few years after Darrall’s joke launched a business, Tornado II won a contract with Delaware State University (DSU), one of the largest HBCUs in the country. Danita immediately knew that she needed to grow to service the new contract, so she contacted True Access Capital for a working capital loan through its Micro Loan Fund. With the loan proceeds, Tornado II was able to hire additional staff and purchase additional equipment necessary for the DSU job. The loan has since been paid in full and Tornado II is moving into its twelfth year in business.
While Tornado II was growing, Darrall saw an opportunity to start another company, this one servicing the transportation needs of districts and charter schools in Delaware. He already had many years of experience in logistics. Building on his background as General Manager of a school bus company and leveraging the relationships with school districts and charter schools that Tornado II had formed, Darrall opened Achieve Logistic Systems in 2016. The company provides transportation for school-aged children in charter schools, school districts and nonprofits such as churches and youth organizations.
Achieve Logistic Systems opened with two vehicles, but in its second year, several districts asked Darrall to provide larger school buses. Darrall turned to True Access Capital. “Being in good standing with True Access Capital through Tornado II, we worked with them to secure a loan to purchase some additional vehicles,” he said.
The loan was timely and impactful: “The loan from True Access Capital in year two helped us gain market share, and now we’re operating with 30 vehicles,” Darrall said.
As the companies have grown, Darrall and Danita have maintained communication with True Access Capital. “They’ve acted as an advisor, helping us brainstorm for future equipment needs and loans that will help our growth,” Darrall said.
And while COVID-19 school closures have changed the landscape of the Mosleys’ businesses, they are positioned to ride out the storm. “We have ideas for new opportunities, but for now we’re just going to hold the line as long as we can and come back stronger when schools reopen,” Darrall said.