Halifax County entrepreneur Demetria Rosser had a dream: to continue her father’s legacy. “It was my dream to own my own trucking company like my dad,” she said. “As a child, not only had I been fixing, passing [him] parts, but I used to always go with him because I didn’t want to go to daycare with the other kids. I was like ‘I want to be on the road with my dad’. I knew I wanted to get into big equipment trucks and things like that.”
In 2015, tired of putting in long hours at a cell phone company and missing time with her family, she sought out advice on how to start her company from her father Ernest, who had been in the business for 20 years. “I worked weekends and missed a lot of time with family,” Demetria continued. “So I reached out to my dad, who by this time had stopped working on trucks, and I told him: ‘I want to start my own trucking company.’
And her father obliged. “He gave me some tips and ideas and helped me go find my first truck.”
But starting a business from scratch is a daunting task. Rosser needed a business plan, contracts to fulfill, and most importantly seed capital to get her first truck. That is when she learned about the Rural Center.
“I reached out to a friend of mine who suggested I connect with the Rural Center. He helped me put my business plan together with my finances and everything and that is when I was able to acquire the loan through the Center,” she said.
Thanks to that initial loan from the Rural Center, Demetria started Rosser Trucking, LLC, which transports vehicles between dealers, auctions, and customers. She serves a wide area, from Northern Virginia across Eastern North Carolina and west to the Catawba Valley.
Now, eight years later, Demetria’s company is thriving and continues to grow, as does her relationship with the Rural Center. When she returned to the Rural Center in 2018 for a loan to grow her fleet, the Center had recently launched Thread Capital, a CDFI lending subsidiary.
She cites the ease of process and familiarity as the reason for returning when she needs to find capital. “After the first time I kind of know what Thread Capital is looking for,” she said. “They already have my [information] in place. Also, the help I get. When they tell me exactly what I need and because I’ve already done it before, I hav
e everything in place. And, they haven’t let me down yet.” She has referred at least four friends and family to Thread Capital to get capital to launch and grow their businesses, helping them through the application, the business planning, and everything else along the process.
Demetria’s relationship with the Rural Center doesn’t stop at borrowing money, however. She recently graduated from the Center’s Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), a leadership course that provides collaborative leadership skills and rural development strategies to help participants return home and make a meaningful impact in their communities.
Through the REDI program, she learned some valuable lessons on how to approach different aspects of her business and how to involve the community that surrounds her. “[My business is fast-paced and I usually respond quickly, and that can seem abrupt,” Demetria said about what she learned. “I learned how to better communicate within my business and within my community. I also learned how to look at the bigger picture and see how the work I do can benefit me as well as my staff and the people around me and my community.”
Demetria’s dreams do not stop at the trucking business; in the future, she wants to expand the business to include equipment geared toward clearing plots of land. She also is looking to build an event and community center where people can gather for family events. Additionally, she wants to find a way to give back to the community that surrounds her through the creation of a foundation in her father’s name. “It’s called the Ernest H. Rosser Foundation, and I want it to be a way for people to get their CDL license or come towork with me for a period of time while learning the business,” she said. “I want to help people who are interested in learning about my business. That way, I can grow my fleet, and give jobs to people in my community.”
Her desire is to continue working with the Rural Center and its programs so that she can fulfill all her dreams.
“I’m hoping [The Rural Center] can help me dream big and support all the dreams I have, like the event and community center and the foundation, which will result in creating jobs. I know that the Rural Center is about creating jobs in North Carolina so hopefully, we can continue to work together to get that going as well,” Demetria concluded.