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Financing Your Growth Through Asset-Based Lending

By Liz Froment, Sep. 12, 2023
An open grill showcases a variety of grilled food including corn, peppers, salmon, and asparagus with a side of watermelon

Family-owned business The Fulham Group counts on Eastern Bank’s Asset-Based Lending team for help with successfully managing high inventory requirements.

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As a growing brand with an inherently seasonal business model, The Fulham Group has worked with Eastern Bank's Commercial Asset-Based Lending (ABL) team to help scale the business and provide working capital financing.

The Fulham Group is a family-owned manufacturer and distributor of outdoor consumer goods such as grills, smokers and related accessories, and holds an exclusive license for Cuisinart® outdoor products. Over the last few years, Kris Kahn, President and CEO of The Fulham Group, helped guide the company through a period of growth sustained by a new wave of interest in outdoor lifestyles. Inc. Magazine recently recognized the Newton, Massachusetts-based business as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

A grill sits in the background while the foreground displays a picnic table with dessert

Growing Through Asset-Based Lending

“We started our business from scratch in 2007,” says Kahn. “When we acquired the Cuisinart® outdoor accessory license, the business grew from there.” The company experienced steady growth over the next decade, developing additional products and its retail client base. To support continued growth, The Fulham Group secured its initial Asset Based Revolving Line of Credit with Eastern Bank in 2018.

As with many local businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unexpected challenges. "Right when COVID-19 began, it was a scary time because the first reaction for many of the retailers we work with was to cancel orders," says Kahn. “We were worried about the business because we had significant inventory. People were working from home, spending more time outdoors and things flipped. Suddenly, everybody wanted our products. We went from cancellations to more orders, and a wave of growth.”

Due to its unique position in the market and the sudden increase in product demand, The Fulham Group needed to ramp up inventory quickly. Kahn partnered with the Eastern Bank Asset-Based Lending team to secure a credit line increase because of the new market dynamic.

A portable outdoor pizza over sits on top of a wooden picnic table

“Eastern supported us during that initial tough period, which turned into a positive run for the company,” says Kahn. “If we didn't have the support of Eastern Bank, we would have missed an opportunity to take advantage of the demand we were experiencing.”

“We are a seasonal business with high inventory requirements during a concentrated portion of the year, so asset-based lending was the way to go for us,” says Kahn. “And speaking with the team at Eastern reaffirmed that this is the best decision for our business to continue growing.”

ABL financing offers businesses like The Fulham Group a flexible and scalable financing solution.

Finding an Approachable and Accessible Banking Partner

The seasonality of the business means Kahn needed a flexible banking partner. In addition, orders and inventory can change dramatically over the year, and new opportunities may arise anytime. Being able to count on a banking partner's accessibility and responsiveness were critical for Kahn.

“We came to Eastern as an Asset-Based Lending customer,” says Kahn. “We had a relationship with another bank for many years, but we sought more flexibility than they could offer when we started growing.”

After interviewing a few banks, Eastern stood out for its approachability and availability. This was an important factor in Kahn’s decision-making process as he was looking to avoid delays and multiple layers of red tape with financing requests.

A small portable fire pit sits on rocks and roasts a marshmallow held over its flame by a stick

“We had an initial face-to-face meeting with Eastern Bank, and I really liked how the team made us feel comfortable. That's what won us over,” says Kahn. “We are a small family-owned business, and we were drawn to Eastern because decisions are made locally and timely. We don't need to worry about feeling lost.”

Five years later, a reliable relationship has formed, and Kahn knows the Asset-Based Lending Team is just a phone call away. “One of the things I love about Eastern is the accessibility,” says Kahn. “Communication is very important to us, and the team is always available. When we need something, especially quickly, the rate at which they're able to turn around requests and have helped us increase our line of credit is just phenomenal.”

Looking to the Future

The Fulham Group continues expanding into new categories, such as outdoor heating, fire pits, and propane patio heaters, to position the company as an outdoor lifestyle brand. Their products are sold by leading retailers.

With that growth comes new opportunities and challenges—especially with potential economic concerns looming in 2023.

“The barbecue business has settled down, and consumer spending is shifting. So we're looking for new ways to expand our categories and balance out the seasonality of our business,” says Kahn. “While the last few years have been an interesting time, they have also been the most active years in our business and where we really started to turn the corner. Eastern Bank has been a huge part of that.”


Eastern Bank's Commercial Lending Team helped Fulham Group expand their business rapidly. Learn more about asset-based lending.

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