Bimini Ventures, My Latter Life’s Journey

A number of years ago I decided to help out a ministry by starting a manufacturing business that would allow the men’s home to be self sustainable. In all honesty, I was tired of banking, which I had been doing for 20 years, mostly residential and commercial finance. My son has become a nationally recognized surfer, captain of his high school team, just loving life. We lived in San Clemente, CA and I was a local a lowers. Surfing was first in my sports priorities, before cycling, swimming, tennis and water skiing. Yup, still is, 15 years later.

So I heard the surfboard shapers telling me they wanted better foam, they liked the Aussie foam but it was too porous. So I imported $50,000 worth of Aussie foam to see if they were serious. They were, it was spoken for rather quickly. At that point I began working with chemicals to try to improve the cell structure. 5 years later I nailed it, started the business from savings, at the ministry, in a backyard garage that we added onto. 4 ex drug addicts were my employees, we were making about 20 blanks a day. It was a joke, really. But the foam was good and the surf community embraced us. Next thing you know the owner of the only foam company in the US, Clark Foam, got upset when he found my blanks in two different surfboard manufacturers shaping rooms. He had a temper tantrum and shut his business down. He was making 1000 blanks a day, I was making 25. Cmon, really? Yep.

What to do now. The pressure was on me to start a real manufacturing company. I emptied my savings, my retirement accounts, borrowed against my almost paid off house near the beach, rented a 20,000 square foot warehouse, hired 26 employees, bought trucks, arrived early and got home late 6 days a week. We were officially Just Foam!!!

I’d like to tell you it just flowed. It didn’t and there’s so much more to the story, the people who were brought into my life to help me. The advice I was given (and at times ignored), the miracles that constantly occurred. We owned the market at that point. The foam was good, most of the crew were motivated. Then it burned down. The whole thing. 32 fire trucks. On the news, filming us crying in a prayer circle. I had plenty of insurance but they screwed me. Another long story. I tried to rebuild with the money I did receive, but it just wasn’t enough. It had been 6 long years and I lost everything, including my marriage and then my hips. In a two year time span, from wealthy, making good money, with a ministry, a thriving business, a wife and a son, to nothing. WOW. It seemed like the end, it really did.

I know a lot of the people out there in the world today can relate. Maybe it’s a lost job, or a lost business. Maybe your retirement account lost 50% and all your toys are gone. It might be depression, too much debt on the credit cards or any number of circumstances. It’s all relative. This is my story from the loss on. At some point I’ll finish my book which will include the early years as well. I want to share with you my struggles, my failures, my successes, and ultimately, where ever I end up.  This is my story, it might be your story too. The important part to remember is we all have a story and each of our stories might be able to help the next person find some hope and continue trudging on to success.

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