Dr. Sheela was in private practice in India from prior to the couple moving to New York in 1992. From 1992 to 1998 she was a stay at home mom raising her son. In 1998 she entered an Externship in Psychiatry at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Jamaica, New York. She entered Residency Training in Psychiatry in El Paso, Texas and Residency Training in Psychiatry in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2003 she moved to Texas and joined her husband in private practice in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Dr. Sheela is currently the Director of the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit at Titus Regional Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant.
In 1989, Dr. Singa entered his Residency in Hematology in Falkirk, Scotland. In 1992 he entered a Residency Program in New York, after completing Residency he moved to El Paso, Texas and was the Internist at William Beaumont Army Medical Center where he became an Internist at Bienvivir Senior Health Services. In January 2002 he moved to Mt. Pleasant and opened his private practice.
The Singaperumal’s survived medical school and residencies to rise in the medical profession to lay the foundation for greater things. After becoming Physicians they accepted the responsibility of their pledge they made to understand their patients, to hear them and to understand the symptoms their body’s experience. They worked to understand where their patient’s minds were taking them so the care they received would come from their hearts. They became physicians because they understood suffering from the experience of many trials and struggles of going through medical school and residencies. They wanted their experiences and longing for a quiet and comfortable state to be felt by their patience – but only through caring and healing could they provide this care. The symptoms and circumstances may have been different but the emotions were the same.
In 2010, Dr. Sheela began planning to build an Assisted Living Facility to care for those with Memory Loss. In 2011, she purchased a 10 acre parcel of land and selected an architect to draw the site plan. Once the site plan was completed, she began getting construction cost estimates. The first estimate took six months and projected costs were too high however, in 2012 she secured a second contractor and construction costs were acceptable.
The total project cost was approximately $5 million which put her in search for a lender. Securing a loan for the $5 million facility was indeed a difficult and time consuming process. She went to several banks, including her own and time and time again was turned down for funding. She eventually found a lender interested in the project however, despite the interest there were numerous delays. Dr. Sheela found herself spending an inordinate amount of time going back and forth with the lender trying to satisfy their requirements for additional documentation. After months of being turned down by banks, she visited Federal Community Bank in Mt. Pleasant. After hearing her story, the lending officer realized that a SBA loan would be best for her needs and she needed to meet with the Northeast Texas SBDC for assistance.
In July 2011, SBDC Business Advisor Beverly Austin met with Dr. Sheela and determined the SBA 504 loan program would be the best option for financing her project and explained that banks would be more willing to make the loan with a guarantee behind their funds. Beverly introduced her to the SBA 504 CDC representatives in Texarkana and the CDC began working on obtaining an SBA 504 approval. SBDC Business Advisor Beverly began assisting her with refining her business plan, adding market research, trends, competitor and industry analysis, trends, cost structures and financial projections.
Initially, the 504 team worked with the same lender the Singa’s originally worked with because they had all the documentation, contracts, and architectural renderings thereby, saving time on the process. Unfortunately, the lender’s loan committee was still undecided and the funding did not come through. In 2013, the Singas were positioned well with their down payment and a better structure when the 504 team took the loan to the First National Bank in Hughes Springs where she was finally able to receive a written loan approval and commitment. The approval and commitment was for the construction loan and permanent take-out loan.
In 2013, Dr. Singa was ready to begin construction on the Assisted Living Facility after the long and very challenging process of getting funding. In February 2015, the beautiful 30,000 square feet, 5-star complex was completed. Dr. Singa’s business has grown from 2 clients in 2015 to 28 clients in 2017, realizing 140% growth!
SBDC Business Advisor Beverly Austin remained engaged after the grand opening and further advised Dr. Singa on staffing and areas of marketing to achieve the level of growth projected. The employee count grew from 9 staff members 2015 to 26 staff members in 2017.
Dr. Sheela provides care to individuals with memory loss through the use of various therapies and activities to stimulate patients and guests to optimal functioning levels. She and husband apply their medical expertise to the many facets of their lives, family, patients, friends, employees, health, challenges and their goals. Their Assisted Living business is at the crossroad of their life-long journey of caring and healing and a fulfillment of their vision.
The business secured a $2,780,000.00 Commercial bank loan, $1,630,000.00 SBA loan, created 26 jobs and is caring for 28 clients in her Facility. The beautiful 30,000 square feet, 5-star complex located in scenic Mount Pleasant, Texas, their mission is to provide a caring environment where seniors can maintain a level of independence while their basic needs and chores are taken care of. The facility has two units: assisted living for long-term care with assistance, and a memory care unit specially designed for those with memory problems. They also offer respite care for short-term recovery.
The Lodge offers services of nurse on-site, three meals and snacks, housekeeping services, laundry, assistance with medications, assistance with bathing, grooming, transfers and incontinent care, transportation for physician appointments, salon services, Internet / Wifi / Skype and cable TV.
“Without Beverly Austin at the Northeast Small Business Development Center, I could never have achieved my dream. Beverly showed up at my office right away after my phone call. She guided me through various steps involved in starting a small business. Whenever I gave up she prodded me to go on. When all the local banks denied loans, she assured me it could be done, she helped me get in touch with the right people. Thanks to Beverly Austin and the SBDC, Mt. Pleasant has a state-of-the-art Assisted Living Facility, which so many seniors call home,” said Dr. Singa.