Oak Bank and Fortune Favors: A business banking match made in heaven

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Fortune Favors got its start the way so many innovative businesses are born — a beautiful accident. Founder and chef Eric Rupert was busying himself in his kitchen — overcrowded with pots and pans — and accidentally dropped some pecan halves in the wrong pot. He cursed and waited for them to cool down so he could toss them in the trash. But when he returned to the pecans, they had a shiny glistening glaze that caught his attention. Chefs aren’t afraid to eat their mistakes, so he tried them. He ate the entire tray’s worth in one sitting. Then he made more with a slight modification and his friends and family inhaled them.

“I’ve been a chef for 40-some years, and I had never seen anybody react to anything I’ve made the way they did to the flavor of those pecans. So, either I was a terrible chef for that long, or these were that good,” says Rupert.

Soon after Eric’s culinary revelation, Fortune Favors (then called Nutkrack) was born. While the product was unquestionably delicious, Fortune Favors ran into scaling issues early on with its banking partner.

“We weren’t getting what we needed from the relationship,” says Sam McDaniel, CEO. “We grew very quickly from the get-go and struggled to get an increase on the line of credit that we needed to reach our potential.

“We’re not a very complex financial company, but you know, like everyone else, the inputs are needed before the output comes,” McDaniel continues. “Despite two years of successful sales history and no financial issues, inadequate funding was preventing us from growing at the pace we knew we could.”

Then Jim McNulty, Oak Bank’s senior vice president, business banking, entered the picture.

“Our business mentor had been recommending Oak Bank for a long time — specifically Jim McNulty — and we finally listened and made the switch,” says McDaniel. “To directly quote our mentor, ‘Until you start talking to Jim McNulty, you’re an idiot.’”

The Fortune Favors team and Jim quickly got the ball rolling — immediately increasing the line of credit, securing bigger, better facilities, and streamlining all financial processes for a smoother-running business.

“One of the biggest wins for us is that Oak Bank helped us buy our new building,” says McDaniel. “Getting a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and the necessary loans to make some big purchases was terrifying to us. We didn’t go into this new venture expecting to get a multimillion-dollar loan at any point. With Oak Bank, we didn’t feel like we were in the dark. We understood what was happening every step of the way.”

Beyond the financial and business growth wins that Fortune Favors was able to achieve with Oak Bank, McNulty and the rest of the staff’s personal touch and attention to detail really struck a chord with the Fortune Favors team.

“A lot of times, we’re in a situation where we don’t even know what we don’t know,” Rupert notes. “We can rely on Jim’s vast experience and knowledge to anticipate what’s next. “I don’t think it’s an overt statement to say that we feel like Jim is part of our team. And we feel very fortunate for that.”

The team at Fortune Favors also appreciates partnering with a bank that cares about its community. Knowing that their community bank partners with nonprofits by donating time, talent, and resources to over 125 groups, organizations, clubs, and causes each year matters to them.

“There’s this sense of pride that we get to work with Oak Bank,” says Rupert. “We just feel very fortunate and very lucky. And I’m pretty certain when we’re talking to other folks about Oak Bank, that just comes through.”