Business is going crazy for Zapata Trucking Express of Manchester

Zapata Trucking

Business Name: Zapata Trucking Express
Client Name: Manny Zapata
SBDC Advisor: Andrea O'Brien

Manuel Zapata’s company, Zapata Trucking Express, is based in Manchester and transports freight of all kinds from coast to coast.  Zapata is “going crazy” Manuel says, and he has more than 85 brokers who call him when something needs transporting. With six trucks, Manuel keeps up with various permitting, maintenance, and safety procedures, and training and scheduling his drivers who are at the ready.

As a 19-year-old immigrant to this country back in 2009, there were times Manuel went without food and heat.  He worked at jobs where he did not get his promised pay.  He lived in a tiny apartment with his siblings and the father who brought him here for a better future.

Manuel followed the lead of a friend, who helped him enroll in English classes, and for which he sold his personal car. The friend also got him in as a driver for the postal service.  That, too, was hard work, a trip from Manchester to Brooklyn and back every day, and he never called in sick, never took a vacation. “But,” he said, “I love driving, I love being inside a truck with the heat on, or the air conditioning on.”

“Eventually I got tired of working every day, every holiday, every weekend,” he said.  After four years there, he had a 401K account, so he cashed that out to fund his new trucking business.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Manny's business was struggling.  “It was like the world was ending for me,” Manuel said, but he immediately began to look around for help. That is how he got in touch with NH SBDC business advisor Andrea O’Brien. Andrea showed him how to apply for the PPP loan, and he says, “It’s because of her that I even knew about it.”

The PPP loan that Zapata Trucking got made it possible to save the company. Manuel also got a grant from the City of Manchester and submitted his application for Zapata’s second PPP.

Andrea has also helped him complete equipment loan applications. He credits her with helping him get loans for two more trucks, including a loan from Regional Economic Development Center’s New American Loan Fund.  “She didn’t just do it, she asked me where I wanted to be years from now in my business.” 

Together they worked on his profit and loss statements, Manuel said. “She taught me to run everything very tightly. Get everything in writing, everything down on paper.” Once businesses were able to reopen in NH, Zapata trucking was perfectly placed, so clients like Walmart, Target, and UPS were suddenly on the roster.

“I want to keep growing, growing, growing,” he said.  “The more work and the more responsibility—it feels good.”

This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.