Texas repairman Wilbur Griffin II vividly remembers May 19, 2019, as a day that started like any other. Griffin II, then a technician at Mr. Appliance, woke up, prepared for work, and set off in his truck. However, everything changed when he viewed the first route of the day on his phone.

“I said to myself, ‘Today’s the day I don’t want to do this anymore,’” Griffin II recalled. “I ended up putting in my two weeks’ notice and quitting. I decided if I could work successfully for someone ese, I could do it for myself.”

Griffin II officially launched GRS Appliance Repair in Texarkana, Texas. Initially a side hustle since 2012, he transitioned it into a full-time venture seven years later. In his role, Griffin II visits customers’ homes to diagnose, repair, and replace appliances.

Before GRS, he spent four years at Mr. Appliance in Texarkana, where he became the company’s first technician. During his tenure, Griffin II obtained Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) universal certification, enabling him to work on various appliances, from small to large.

Griffin II personally invested capital to establish GRS Appliance Repair several years ago. Since its inception, his entrepreneurial endeavor has proven highly successful, with GRS experiencing a remarkable 40% annual revenue growth.

Texas repairman Wilbur Griffin II created his own successful appliance repair business and is upgrading his company image with a small business loan from Communities Unlimited
Texas repairman Wilbur Griffin II created his own successful appliance repair business and is upgrading his company image with a small business loan from Communities Unlimited

Last year, Griffin II noted that GRS doubled its revenue compared to 2022 and saw a threefold increase in the number of calls received, marking a significant leap forward for the company.

“Since 2019, it has been blessing upon blessing,” Griffin II said. “Every year, the business has grown. Things have skyrocketed. It’s been more than I thought it would be. I’m excited to see where else it goes.”

Seeking to enhance his marketing efforts, Griffin II pursued a Small Business Association (SBA) loan. Through Amber Keith, a Business Advisor at the Northeast Texas Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Griffin II connected with Communities Unlimited (CU), which facilitated the loan process.

Keith introduced Griffin II to CU’s Lending Team and Small Business Lender, Chris Ranniger. Together, they worked on a loan that will allow Griffin II to replace his 1997 Dodge Ram with a newer, more reliable work vehicle.

Communities Unlimited's CDFI makes small business loans to help entrepreneur's achieve their goals and for Wilbur Griffin II to upgrade his company vehicle
Communities Unlimited's CDFI makes small business loans to help entrepreneur's achieve their goals and for Wilbur Griffin II to upgrade his company vehicle

Griffin II is currently searching for a used 2018 Ford Transit van. Acquiring a newer van will decrease repair costs and bolster the professional image of this Texas repairman’s company. Part of the funds will be allocated to wrapping the Transit van with company branding.

Additionally, Griffin II plans to invest in online advertising, new equipment, and a tool storage system for the new vehicle.

“Being self-funded, I’ve always had to be precise with my spending,” Griffin II said. “Now, I have an amount of money. I want to make sure the next step propels me in the right direction. I want a vehicle I can rely on. I want to take my time, get something what I want, and that will give me longevity. I have a new logo. I’m rebranding the business. I’m making it more commercial and more professional. I’m taking my time, making sure I’m doing it right. It’s been a fun process.”

Griffin II maintained regular communication with Ranniger throughout the loan process, and they continue to keep in touch weekly even after the loan’s closure on March 29, 2024.

“Chris and Communities Unlimited are trying to help people. They genuinely try to help any small business better themselves. They didn’t make me feel like I was someone who was just another number. We built a good relationship, and I was glad to have worked with Chris and Communities Unlimited.”

— Wilbur Griffin II, GRS Appliance Repair

Wilbur Griffin II

Ranniger thoroughly enjoyed working with Griffin II on the loan for his business.

“Wilbur is driven and is always looking for ways to improve,” Ranniger said. “I wish him the best and hope that the purchase of his new vehicle will make him even more successful.”

Reflecting on the decision he made on May 17, 2019, about starting his own business, Texas repairman Wilbur Griffin II has no regrets.

“I’m truly happy in my day-to-day life,” Griffin II said. “I don’t think anything could knock me down other than my phone not ringing. I’m proud, grateful, and blessed.”