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Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Hart Landscaping

"I started my business with a compact car and some basic tools about five years before joining the Individual Development Account (IDA) program at SCCCU. My IDA savings (with a total matched savings of $15,000) allowed my business to grow into a two-truck, two-member crew business with regular staff on payroll," explains Stacey Hart, founder and owner of Hart Landscaping. "I heard about SCCCU's IDA program when I was getting financial aid through the county's social services system. The day I heard about it, I drove directly over to the Credit Union to apply to join the program!"

After graduating from Cabrillo College with a master gardener degree and a certificate in Permaculture Design, Hart started Hart Landscaping, operating it with a mission to manage projects with as little waste and negative environmental impact on the land as possible. Hart and her staff serve their customers with integrity and use each opportunity to educate people to think about their landscape as a place of peace and refuge for humans and wildlife at the same time.

"I learned the business of starting a landscaping company through Cabrillo College coursework. But I learned the value of saving money, careful bookkeeping, and planning and sticking to a budget from the IDA program, says Stacey Hart.

"I also learned the wise use of credit. I refinanced my truck through the credit union, so I established a relationship with SCCCU. June Padilla Ponce (IDA program coordinator) suggested that I get a line of credit to consolidate debt and increase my business cash flow at a lower rate than other loans I had. I'm using my IDA savings to grow my business. Ive been able to use my IDA savings to buy a computer and software, for extensive marketing and general business supplies all with the goal of increasing business.

Hart also explains that, "Most importantly, as an IDA participant, I learned that my community wants me to be here performing a valuable service."

To find out more about Hart Landscaping, visit

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