Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 76
Sunshine Gasoline Distributors
Even though his mind was set on acquisitions, Alvarez
says obtaining bank loans in 2008 and 2009 was a challenge
after the stock market crash. "We had to finance most of
those acquisitions," he remembers. "I came to the area [from
Cuba] in 1961, grew up in Miami and have fostered great
local relationships throughout the years. The fact that we
have been in the area for so long establishes history. I have
tremendous credit and I tell my children that credit comes
from paying off your debts in a timely manner. Credibility is
the trust that you have earned from the lending institution
from paying your debts on time. With lots of credit and
credibility, we were able to finance all acquisitions."
Growth Through Dedication
Moving forward, Sunshine Gasoline plans to continue to
grow and remain the local, neighborhood business it has
always been despite the restrictive regulations that impact
small businesses. "I have been very fortunate by being totally
committed to what we do. We have been able to grow while
other local distributors have decided to leave the business
because it's difficult to put up with government regulations
on all levels," Alvarez admits.
"The last time I looked, 75 percent of the labor force is
Alvarez makes sure everything in each store is
up to the company's high standards.
hired by small businesses," he continues. "There are no more
local hardware stores, pharmacies, mom-and-pop grocery
stores or local gas stations. That's a big concern. We - the
small businesses - are the ones who create jobs and treat
our people much better than big business. When you talk
to most Americans, they mostly worry about job security
and employment. These bad business regulations are killing
the small business and we need to change that. We are local.
We are your neighbor and have a philosophy of neighbors
Although the regulations may dissuade companies from
growth, it hasn't kept Sunshine Gasoline down. "All we can
do is try to influence our legislators to make sure they understand overregulation is not good for business, the country or our economy," Alvarez says. "It is a big challenge for
us to make sure we continue to be successful in our business.
It is not only the people in our family, but our vendors and
suppliers who depend on our success, as well. It is important that we stop government regulations that continue to be
detrimental to our economy."