When Dr. Seema Awatramani first contacted Stearns Bank for urgent care financing, the idea of opening her own clinic was just a dream.
Eventually, that dream turned into UrgiKids, an urgent care clinic that serves children who are ill in the Naperville, Illinois, area.
Seema was first inspired to open an urgent care clinic about four years ago. At the time the thought first entered her mind, she didn’t know a much about SBA loans.
“I didn’t know anything about the business world and I didn’t know if anyone would collaborate with me on the project,” Seema said. “I had to put it on the back-burner for a little bit after having my second child. But when she was a little over one, I knew it was time to start the process.”
An Urgent Care Financing Journey
Seema eventually found a business partner in Dr. Kelly Cleary, a fellow pediatrician. The two saw a clear need for helping sick children in the Chicagoland area.
Seema’s husband initially reached out to Stearns Bank about the possibility of using an SBA loan to finance an urgent care clinic in Naperville, which is 33 miles directly west of Chicago.
After speaking with Stearns Bank about their needs, Seema and her husband realized that they were dealing with a financial institution that understood the urgent care industry.
“We found Stearns Bank had a deep level of understanding about the industry and that put our minds at ease,” Seema said. “It gave us more confidence knowing that because we were about to embark on something very big financially.”
The SBA Customer Portal’s Impact
Using Stearns Bank’s SBA customer portal during the closing process streamlined things for Seema. The portal allowed her to upload documents at her own pace and to have the visibility to see where everything was at once.
“It made things easy in the most granular way because it allowed you to track everything. I like people who cross their T’s and dot their I’s and I could tell that everybody was doing that with the portal at Stearns Bank,” she said.
“Stearns Bank’s ability to hold our hands through this process went above and beyond what we expected. Their level of engagement was so high. They supported and guided us.”
Seema enjoyed knowing where she was at during each step of the SBA loan process. The portal allowed her to track when her documents were approved and what she needed to do next.
“The entire platform was fantastic,” she said. “The ability to feel self-sufficient and autonomous, while having personal contact from Stearns Bank, meant the world to me. Also knowing I could pick up the phone, not talk to three operators and get a question answered by a real human being provided so much value.”
What UrgiKids Means To Naperville
Seema was born and raised in Chicago. She knew the Naperville area, in particular, could use a children’s urgent care. In fact, she feels the entire Chicagoland area is in need of more urgent cares for children.
“Part of the reason we started this business and why I own an urgent care now is because there is a real need for them in Illinois,” Seema said. “I wanted to bring this to our community. So far, people have really responded to us. We just want to provide a solution to a real need for parents and their children.”
Seema has 12 employees working at UrgiKids and she expects that number to rise in the future, especially with the possibility for expansion.
“We have to hit break-even point first, but the sooner the better for expansion. This whole venture has been thrilling since we opened,” Seema said. “Learning every facet of the business side can be daunting, but this is how the world works. It’s been a fascinating process, but endlessly stimulating.”