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Alabama Small Business Development Center Network

MGT Manufacturing: GO-KOT

GO-KOT® designs, manufactures, and sells the highest quality camping cots made. The brand has been produced in Alabama since 1978 and distributed through an online store, Amazon, and several wholesale export distributors.

Teresa Downing has served as President since July of 2017, when she purchased the brand from the original owner of nearly 40 years. Teresa and her husband, Mike, are both Air Force Veterans.

The Alabama SBDC at Jacksonville State University first became acquainted with Teresa in 2017 when she requested assistance regarding her manufacturer’s representative business, which markets products to local, state, and federal government agencies. Our procurement specialist advisor provided guidance on SAM registration, input on her company’s capabilities statement, and encouraged her to attend several area matchmakers.

In March of 2017, while looking for products to represent that were made in the USA and, particularly, made in Alabama, Teresa contacted GO-KOT, LLC in Jasper, AL. The company manufactured a light weight, portable cot that she believed would appeal to government agencies and branches of the military.  She scheduled a meeting with the owner to discuss the prospects of representing the cot and becoming his distributor.  The owner said that he was ready to retire and that he was basically producing cots for existing customers.  He had a loyal following and did not care to market to new customers or increase sales.  However, he said that he was interested in selling the brand to someone that appreciated the quality and history of the cot and asked Teresa if she was interested in buying the company.

After extensive research, study, and prayer, Teresa decided to move forward on the purchase. At this point she contacted the SBDC at Jacksonville State University for assistance with a business plan and obtaining financing. The SDBC assisted in preparing a business plan

including a financial analysis of the company’s past 3-year financial statements and constructing pro forma financial statements. The SBDC at JSU recommended and introduced them to a non-profit certified Community Development Financial Institution and assisted Teresa with the application process. The CDFI approved a term loan request for the purchase and provided a line of credit. With funding in place, a new business was created, MGT Manufacturing, LLC, dba GO-KOT®. Within three months of the purchase, Teresa was able to lease a building and move all the equipment and inventory to its new home in Springville, AL.

After purchasing GO-KOT®, Teresa pledged that the cot would be made with all U.S. materials when possible. She also decided that she wanted to export to more countries and in 2018, approached the JSU SBDC again for assistance. Teresa was referred to the SBDC’s Alabama International Trade Center, which has assisted GO-KOT® multiple times since the referral. GO-KOT® has now exported cots to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

In late 2019 Teresa decided it was time to refinance the CDFI loan for the purpose of providing the business some cash flow relief by extending the term of the loan. The SBDC helped Teresa with updating financial worksheets and prepared a narrative which detailed the request, the purpose of the request, reasons why it also benefited the lender, and how the lender could modify the terms. This request was declined by the CDFI lender.

a group of people posing for a photo

Teresa Downing and the SBDC at JSU started looking for another lender.  An out-of-state bank that recently purchased branches in Alabama indicated they were interested in an application from the Downings.  By June 2020, the loan application was approved and funded.

GO-KOT® has always had a loyal, niche following. Teresa’s focus on marketing and pursuing new international business has had GO-KOT® sales on an upward trend since she took over the brand.  With a lot of hard work and many long hours over the last three years GO-KOT® sales have increased 12.45%.

Since purchasing GO-KOT® Teresa Downing has committed the company to helping those in need get off the ground and humbly supports mission

work.  From homeless ministries in their local community to missionaries and mission groups all over the world, GO-KOT® is getting those in need off the ground every night.

Each GO-KOT® is constructed with rugged 1000-denier nylon and available in a variety of colors, including the new OCP military camo pattern.  With a practically indestructible, state of the art aluminum frame and spring steel legs, each GO-KOT® weights just 10 pounds and supports up to 350 pounds.

GO-KOT® truly is America’s finest Camping Cot, and to back-up the claim, the cot is backed by a 3-Year Guarantee against defects in materials or workmanship.

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