Roger Greenwald, Dave Holt and Jill Kaufman

GPServ

“Expert Guidance. Trusted Results.” That’s the business mantra at GPServ, Inc., a leading purveyor of surveying, mapping and field instruments and supplies to professionals in the engineering, surveying, and construction industries. Think GPS, optical, laser, hydro and drone equipment; practically everything a land surveyor might need.

Founder and president Dave Holt puts a lot of stock in that mantra, applying it not only to what he promises his customers but to how he runs his business as well. It’s a philosophy that led him to the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and its Advisory Board Council (ABC).

“GPServ had been in business 15 or so years and we were doing fine,” recalls Holt. “We always turned a profit, had expanded carefully, moved into a new building, added services. But we weren’t growing as fast as I thought we could. I had heard about the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council through the National Entrepreneur Center and wanted to learn more.”

GPServ

Dave Holt, GSPServ

Designed for established, second-stage companies, the Advisory Board Council is a no-cost board of experts providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow.  It acts as a matchmaker between established local businesses like Holt’s and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with the volunteers selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“I wasn’t confident that my approach to understanding and managing company finances was solid enough,” Holt remembers. “And I thought there was room for improvement in our general management and we can always be better at marketing.” It was towards addressing these issues that Jill Kaufman, the program manager of the ABC, built GPServ’s Advisory Board while FSBDC consultant Roger Greenwald assisted Holt with implementing its recommendations.

“My Advisory Board helped me understand we had a good business going, that we were making money but there were things we could do to grow,” Holt says today. “They helped us with our finances, our management, our marketing. Sometimes it’s really hard to focus because there is so much going on day to day. The Board really helps you narrow down the things you need to work on. For me, it was invaluable.”

The results speak for themselves. “When we started with the ABC, we had 5½ employees and revenues in the $3 million ballpark. Since that time, we’ve expanded to 12½ employees, our revenues have doubled and our profits have tripled,” Holt states. “I feel like the FSBDC and my Advisory Board were instrumental in helping us grow.”

“If I were to counsel another business owner who has the opportunity to take advantage of the Advisory Board Council, I would really encourage them to do so. You get a group of people who have a wide range of skills – none of which I had – who help you throughout the full width of your business. It was just so valuable for me and my business.”

“Expert Guidance. Trusted Results.” True for GPServ, Inc. and apparently for the FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council as well.

For information about GPServ, Inc., please visit www.gpserv.com.

Revology

Revology Cars

Smart entrepreneurs are the ones who know they don’t know everything. And who then go out to find the help they need, to fill the holes they may have to make their businesses successful.

Tom Scarpello is one of those smart entrepreneurs. He’s the founder and president of Revology Cars, LLC, a manufacturer and builder of totally cool, brand-new (and updated with modern technology and features), Ford-licensed reproduction classic 1960’s Ford Mustang and Shelby GT automobiles. Revology is the first company to ever be licensed by the Ford Motor Company to build reproductions of any of its vehicles in the company’s more than a century of existence. That’s how good Revology Cars is and how true to the original the vehicles it builds are.

When he started Revology, Scarpello brought 26 years of corporate auto industry experience to his new company but believed he needed to know more. “While I have a good base of technical and functional skills in my areas of expertise, I had not been exposed to a lot of the elements of running my own business,” he recalls.

Revology Cars

Tom Scarpello and Pauline Davis

It was then that he turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance, in the form of both business training and consulting. “You can improve anything,” says Scarpello. “The FSBDC’s seminars are extremely valuable for entrepreneurs who are experts in their subject matter, but may not have expertise in running a business. I had a good experience there. It’s unusual to have an essentially free resource like the FSBDC that’s actually valuable. It is almost too good to be true, but then turns out to in fact be true.”

Beyond its business training, Scarpello also took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost consulting. As his business grew, the need for capital to finance that growth became apparent. Scarpello connected with FSBDC consultant Pauline Davis, an expert in accessing capital, to help him prepare a presentation or “pitch” to potential investors. “I had never done an investor pitch before,” Scarpello recalls. “I’d read books and watched videos but never really gone through the process.”

“The FSBDC was an outstanding resource that helped us to be very prepared for our pitch. They put together a panel of mock investors that allowed us to practice and fine tune our presentation,” says Scarpello. “Ultimately we were successful and able to raise the $2 million in funding we needed.”

“The FSBDC was a great partner. They have people who are or have been entrepreneurs, who are or have been investors, who have the experience, who have been through this before and were able to give us excellent guidance,” Scarpello went on. “We raised our capital really quickly. It made us wonder if we could have gone for more or, more likely, if maybe we were just really well prepared as a result of going through this process with the FSBDC.”

“Today Revology Cars is growing really, really quickly,” concluded Scarpello. “Since we raised our funding, we’ve been able to hire new employees, buy new tooling and equipment and expand our existing facility. We’ve increased our production capacity. That’s all a result of successfully accessing new capital and that was, in part, a result of the work we did with the FSBDC.”

For information about Revology Cars, please visit www.revologycars.com.

Kascel Therapy, Florida SBDC at UCF - Palm Coast

Kascel Therapy

Striking the balance between delivering quality health care while building a successful small business is no mean feat. You come into the undertaking with the training and experience necessary to help your clients but then often must add new and unfamiliar business management skills and knowledge. It is a challenge that can be met and mastered, if you get help.

And that’s what Jennifer Baker and husband Kevin did when they launched Kascel Therapy, LLC – they found help from Ray Peter, area manager and consultant at the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Palm Coast.

Kascel Therapy, LLC is a pediatric occupational therapy company providing outpatient clinic and early intervention services. They teach children how to improve the cognitive, self-care, sensory and play skills they need throughout the day.

The company mission is “Helping Children Reach Their Potential”.  With over 16 years’ experience as a certified pediatric occupational therapist, Jennifer Baker pursues that mission with each and every client while her husband Kevin manages the business operations.

The Bakers came to Florida 7 years ago and initially Jennifer operated as a sole practitioner and contractor working for a larger organization. But changes in direction and business structure at the larger company prompted the Bakers to decide to go their own way and start their own, independent business. “We had no idea what we were getting into,” says Jennifer Baker. “We just knew that something had to change if we were to continue serving our clients the way we wanted to. That’s why we turned to the FSBDC.”

“The FSBDC has been a guiding light through all of this,” Jennifer Baker recalls. “Ray took us by the hand and showed us the way. He led us through the whole business building process. Creating the business plan, the financial plan, from billing to insurance to marketing, he helped us with everything. The FSDBDC’s resources are amazing.”

“Running a business was uncharted territory for us,” says Kevin Baker. “Leasing, licensing, negotiating, financial management. It was all new. But primarily through the FSBDC’s consulting and guidance, we made progress. They helped Jennifer take what are exceptional skills and turn them into an exceptional business.”

Today Kascel Therapy, LLC is a small business success story. The Bakers have succeeded at providing quality client care while building and managing a growing business. What began as serving zero children grew to a trickle of 5 but now stands at almost 50 pediatric occupational therapy clients. They have moved to a new, larger facility. New processes and procedures are in place to manage the business.

“The guidance from the FSBDC has helped us grow, there is no doubt about it” concluded Jennifer Baker. “I can’t imagine us having had our success without their assistance.”

Joe Brotzman, Jill Kaufman and Troy Hage (L-R)

Atlantic Stonework

Confidence. For owners of small- and medium-sized business, it can make all the difference. Faced with challenges of all sorts – from competition to staffing to cash flow – while constantly considering opportunities with new customers, new products and new business lines, leaders need to make decisions and make good ones if their companies are to thrive. And being confident in those decisions means faster action, stronger follow through and better results.

Troy Hage and Joe Brotzman, owners of Atlantic Stonework CFL, have been making good decisions from the start but thought they could do better. Atlantic Stonework is in the business of offering high quality, turn-key hardscape installations – pavers, coping, travertine, retaining walls – to residential and commercial customers. Hage came to the company after having multiple businesses over the years, but he came with a nagging doubt. “You never know if you’re making the right decision or the wrong decision, until after the fact,” he recalls. “You are always looking for someone to talk to, to ask questions, to help reassure you that you’re making the right choice.”

Hage had learned that advisory boards are a great source of guidance and a small business ‘best practice.’ “I was in the process of creating an advisory board on my own when I learned about the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council program. It was award-winning. There was no cost. Past clients endorsed the program enthusiastically. It was just what I was looking for,” he says now.

An FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council (ABC) is a no-cost board of experts providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow.  The FSBDC acts as a matchmaker between established local businesses like Atlantic Stonework and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with the volunteers selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“Truly, our Advisory Board Council was a blessing,” says Hage. “Jill Kaufman, the ABC program manager, put together a great team for us. There was a banker, a CFO and a sales & marketing expert, both from the construction industry, and a human resources practitioner. I called them our “Dream Team” because they were that good. We learned so much.”

“The guidance and direction from our advisory board was invaluable,” Brotzman says. “Just bouncing ideas off them and getting their feedback helped us tremendously. We even did a successful start-up business while they were advising us. That’s a first for the ABC!”

“The number one thing that we got from our advisors was the understanding that a lot of the decisions we were making were the right decisions,” continued Hage. “It boosted our confidence in a big way. Now we’re coming into situations more assured, making better choices and being a lot more successful.”

“In fact, since starting with the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program, our revenues have increased 57%. At the same time we were able to reduce our sales territory and become more efficient, yet serve more customers,” concluded Hage. “More confidence is what we got from the FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council, and it’s been great for Atlantic Stonework.”

FSBDC, Ray Peter, Channel Side, Shane Bonner

Channel Side

Small business success stories sometimes go beyond the entrepreneur and the enterprise itself, and extend on to other local businesses and into the community. That’s the story for Shane Bonner, a founder and principal at Channel Side, the brand-new boutique venue on the water, set in the heart of Palm Coast, Florida’s 23 miles of saltwater canals.

Channel Side specializes in hosting weddings at a state-of-the-art facility in a strikingly beautiful, natural setting, but is also superb for Sweet 16 parties, anniversaries, and corporate meetings – any event that seeks to accommodate from 50 – 200 guests and chooses to be one to remember. What sets Channel Side apart is that its clients can create the atmosphere and the event of their dreams because they are able to bring in service providers of their choice –independent caterers, beverage providers, and other vendors of all kinds – and not locked into someone else’s food & beverage menu or event plan.

For Bonner, Channel Side was originally simply a real estate investment, and he believed a good one. “When we started out, I knew we had purchased a really great facility in a really great location but we weren’t certain how best to use it,” Bonner recalls. It was then that he turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF – Palm Coast (FSBDC at UCF) and its area manager Ray Peter for no-cost business consulting on how best to proceed.

“From what we were originally thinking to what we finally came to were two very different things, and the FSBDC was a huge contributor to us getting there,” Bonner says. “Ray Peter and the FSBDC were instrumental in re-framing our discussions and our persuading ourselves that leveraging the property’s legacy purpose – as a yacht club/country club – into an event space was our best course of action.”

“And then the FSBDC was there for us as put together our operational plans, and worked with the City of Palm Coast to get the permits and licenses we needed,” continued Bonner. “I couldn’t have done this without the FSBDC, in fact. There was so much that I didn’t know. Without their knowledge of how a business like this works and how to get things done locally, I don’t think we’d have gotten Channel Side off the ground.”

“But here we are! Less than a year in business, and we have hosted more than 100 events and have reservations for another hundred in the months ahead. We have surpassed our stretch goals by a huge margin,” Bonner remarked. “Originally we thought Channel Side would be a local concept, catering to Palm Coast and neighboring towns. Now we are getting calls from around the country. We’ve become a wedding destination!”

“Best of all, we have partnered with local businesses to serve our clients,” Bonner concluded. “Area florists, photographers, hotels, restaurants, caterers and others are all benefiting from spending by our local and out-of-town guests. Beyond the success of our business, we are so proud that Channel Side is having a positive economic impact here in Palm Coast. And I can’t imagine that happening without the assistance of the FSBDC.”

Crossfit, FSBDC, Palm Coast

CrossFit BearCat

Jody Prince and Cathy Mittelstadt have a mission: to “Unleash Your Potential”. It comes from a passion for physical fitness, skills and abilities that they strive to share with their Flagler County, FL community. And this isn’t even their day job; Prince works in disaster recovery for a large insurance company and Mittelstadt manages operations for a county school district.

But it’s their passion for fitness – theirs and yours — that prompted them to become co-owners and founders CrossFit BearCat five years ago, featuring the CrossFit fitness regimen. Built upon constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity designed to improve fitness and health, it’s not just for the top athletes who have embraced it worldwide; CrossFit works for the average individual looking to become healthier in a short time.

CrossFit BearCat

Jody Prince, Michael Oppenheim, Cathy Mittelstadt (L-R)

CrossFit BearCat built a loyal following early on. But Prince and Mittelstadt wanted more for their members and coaches. It drove them to look for ways to improve the CrossFit workout experience they offered. “We were looking to expand, to put us in the right space,” says Prince. “We called a local community bank for help with financing. While welcoming, their first question was: ‘Do you have a business plan? And three year financial projections?’ I didn’t have either and I was stumped.”

“Fortunately, that very same banker referred us to the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) in Palm Coast,” added Cathy Mittelstadt. “And that’s where we met with Michael Oppenheim, one of the FSBDC at UCF’s consultants,” continued Prince. “I was so energized by our first meeting. He showed me so much. How to start my business plan. How to approach my 3 year projections. He gave me templates and ideas and guidance. From then on, the FSBDC was there for us and making sure we got it right every step of the way.”

“Going into this venture, it all seemed so daunting,” remarked Mittelstadt. “We wondered if we would ever get to the finish line. Having the FSBDC there to help was incredibly powerful and made so much possible.”

With assistance and coaching from their FSBDC consultant, the CrossFit BearCat co-owners prepared their business plan and developed their financial projections. “Working with the FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Prince says. “Now we better understand our forecasts and our business model, and what we need to do to sustain and grow our business so we are here for our members and coaches for a long time.”

Not surprisingly, given their determination and hard work, and some help from the FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast, Prince and Mittelstadt and CrossFit Bearcat applied for and got their loan. They have built an exciting new facility on East Moody Boulevard in Bunnell that will enable them to better serve their current members, as well as new ones. “We did it,” concluded Mittelstadt. “The FSBDC gave us a path and the confidence to proceed. Now we have what we need to help realize our dream for CrossFit Bearcat: to “Unleash Your Potential.”

Owner of Common Sense Office Furniture Craig Caswell

Common Sense Office Furniture

Craig Caswell and the company he founded and has built into a Central Florida success story – Common Sense Office Furniture — exemplify the best of what it means to be an entrepreneur and small business owner. And this is a special time for Caswell as he celebrates Common Sense’s 20th Anniversary in business.

Success as a small business like that deserves special recognition. And so it is that the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) has chosen Caswell and Common Sense Office Furniture as its SBDC Day Company of the Year.  Wednesday March 21, 2018 is the second annual SBDC Day, a national movement to help raise awareness about the service offerings and impact of America’s SBDCs –- the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) largest business assistance program.

Common Sense Office Furniture

Owner of Common Sense Office Furniture Craig Caswell with FSBDC Consultant Hal Thayer (L-R)

“For entrepreneurs considering working with the Florida SBDC, I’d say ‘do it faster than I did,” Caswell remarked. “The sooner you can get in and learn the lessons that the FSBDC can teach you, from their services and programs, their consulting and in their classrooms, the sooner you’ll be on firm footing. Their assistance can make a huge difference.”

Like many small business founders, Caswell started his business on his own and grew it on the strength of his determination and skills. But as the business became larger, new, unfamiliar challenges arose. “Fifteen years ago, the business was growing but I was faced with a whole new set of business requirements and needs that I was unfamiliar with, issues like worker’s compensation, warehousing, delivery vehicle investments,” Caswell says. “Help from the FSBDC was the logical solution. They gave me the answers I needed.”

“Once I started working with the FSBDC, my eyes were opened and I understood that for me to continue to grow this business, I couldn’t do it alone, that there were lots of things to consider, to plan for, to prepare for. The Florida SBDC helped me with that, and with recognizing how important it is to share the glory with the people who helped you make it happen because you certainly didn’t do it alone” Caswell went on. “It’s why we have profit sharing and a 401(k) matching program for our employees, because they are the ones who make it happen every day.”

Caswell will tell you that he “took advantage of virtually every service at the FSBDC I could,” starting with its Advisory Board Council program. The Advisory Board Council is a next-level, business support service, assisting established Central Florida businesses by matching them with experienced professionals with a diverse range of skills who work together on a “custom-fit” advisory board.

“My Advisory Board was invaluable,” Caswell states. “The volunteers on my Board were amazing. The FSBDC did a great job matching their background and skills with my company’s needs. Their assistance and insights changed my business.”

A second Florida SBDC service Caswell says has been beneficial is the FSBDC’s CEO XChange, an executive roundtable program that offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers. “The CEO XChange has been great,” Caswell claims. “You think you are out there alone, that your problems are uniquely yours. Then you sit down with other business owners at the CEO XChange who have had the same issues and you get ideas, solutions and support. It’s a confidence builder.”

When callers reach out to the company, the response is apt: “Thank you for using Common Sense. How can we help you?” And using common sense is what their clients have been doing. From being located in a modest warehouse, Common Sense Office Furniture has grown into a fabulous showroom downtown. From a handful of employees 20 years ago, the company has grown to more than 20. And from revenues in the thousands, Common Sense has become a multi-million dollar enterprise.

“It’s great knowing that the Florida SBDC at UCF is there to help. I’m pleased to be part of SBDC Day and to be the FSBDC at UCF’s SBDC Day Company of the Year. It’s too bad that the services of the FSBDC aren’t better known. Like me and my company, a lot of businesses could benefit from working with them” Caswell concluded.

SeaDek, Hyperform, Jill McLaughlin, Jason Gardner, Serenity Gardner

Hyperform Inc.

Hyperform Inc is an All-American success story. What started out as a maker of products for the surfing industry like surfboard fins and traction pads has transformed itself into a hugely successful manufacturer supplying, as its primary business, the marine industry with innovative, functional, and aesthetically pleasing PE/EVA non-skid decking products.

PE/EVA (Polyethylene/Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) is a closed-cell blended foam material that is soft yet durable, and SeaDek has developed a unique formula that is resistant to UV rays and the harsh conditions of the marine environment. Hyperform utilizes PE/EVA as decking (and a variety of other applications) in its SeaDek Marine Products line, its SwimDek aquatic surfaces line for the pool and spa market, and coming soon, the EndeavourDek line for automotive, off road, and multiple other applications. All are alternatives to fiberglass molded-in non-skid, painted-on textures, and other traction products currently available.

Hyperform Inc.

(L-R) Jason and Serenity Gardner with FSBDC Consultant Jill McLaughlin

Hyperform benefits from a strong group of seven principal owners and a dedicated workforce. At the helm guiding the company through its dramatic growth and playing key roles among the principals are President Kurt Wilson, Chief Operating Officer Serenity Gardner, Vice President of Marketing Jason Gardner, and Vice President of Sales Chuck Yates. In 2015, the principals of SeaDek extended ownership to over eighty full-time employees through the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). It’s that team that’s making success happen at the company, say the Gardners.

As unprecedented consumer acceptance throughout the United States placed the company on the forefront of the marine decking industry, word spread overseas. “There was definite demand in the international marketplace,” Serenity Gardner recalls. “We decided we wanted assistance from an outside organization rather than taking a reactionary approach and working with whichever customer came to us.”

Hyperform turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its International Trade Services consultant Jill McLaughlin for assistance. The company applied for and was accepted into the FSBDC’s Export Marketing Plan service. Provided in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, the program is focused on assisting qualified new-to-export manufacturers and service providers with overseas growth strategies through the development of customized Export Marketing Plans. These customized Export Marketing Plans provide comprehensive industry and market analyses, with target market recommendations and country specific market entry strategies.

“Thanks to the Export Marketing Plan,” Serenity Gardner remarked, “we didn’t take a shotgun approach. We looked at markets one-by-one and decided which areas we wanted to target and which ones we didn’t. It allowed us to go into new markets with a good plan and a strong understanding of what we would be dealing with.”

“Working with the FSBDC couldn’t have been easier,” continued Jason Gardner. “Communication was great. It was a positive experience across the board.”

“It’s interesting to look back now at the decisions we made with the help of the report and see that we were really pretty successful,” Serenity Gardner concluded. “Even with taking a measured approach, in just the past year and a half our export revenues have climbed from 1 – 2 % to over 10% now. We’ve gone from being in one country to more than 15 today. If you’re contemplating selling internationally, you absolutely want to use the FSBDC and get an Export Marketing Plan. It’s a really valuable resource.”

Omar Carmona, Partner of the law firm Carmona Law

Carmona Law

Located in Winter Park, FL, Carmona Law is a full-service law firm with a second office in Kissimmee, and with affiliate offices in Tampa, Columbia and Puerto Rico. With six attorneys, the firm specializes in family law, immigration, business law, bankruptcy and issues that have to do with Puerto Rico law.

In September 2017, Carmona Law sustained economic damage due to Hurricane Irma. Omar Carmona, Partner of the law firm, turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for help securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.  When asked about the experience with the hurricane and the assistance received, he recalled:

What type of damage occurred?

Carmona Law

Omar Carmona, Partner of the law firm Carmona Law, with FSBDC at UCF Assistant Director Pauline Davis

Everything is done online in our offices. With the power out, we lost all our security cameras and all internet connections, which prevented us accessing services in the cloud. Our server is in California and with no internet we could not log in. Our employees needed to work from home and were not able to be as productive. And we could not see clients. Our revenues and ability to earn them were adversely effected.

And our building, its elevator and our offices all experienced water damage.

How helpful was the Emergency Bridge Loan?

The loan is going to mean that we have adequate working capital to finish the year with no problems. It gives us peace of mind that we will be fully operational and represent our clients effectively.

How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?

It was a huge relief knowing that there was a place like the FSBDC where we could go to for help after the hurricane. The flow between my office and the FSBDC was really smooth and decision making was really quick so we’re really happy with the whole, entire process.

About the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, and supported by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free working capital loan intended to help small businesses “bridge the gap” between the time of a declared disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance. Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program on Thursday, September 14 and the first loan was distributed the following Monday. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 90 or 180-day terms.

As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function for Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization, the Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.

CEO of BMDM Chuck Barnett

BMDM

Located in Orlando, FL, BMDM is a direct marketing agency that helps their client companies reach the right individuals, specializing in personalized direct mail as well as online and offline contacts like display and Facebook advertisements. The company also implements data-driven digital marketing campaigns including data analysis/segmentation, customized print and return-on-investment reporting.

In September 2017, BMDM sustained economic damage due to Hurricane Irma. Chuck Barnett, CEO of the company, turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for help securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.  When asked about his experience with the hurricane and the assistance received, he recalled:

What type of damage occurred?

Our largest clients are automotive dealerships throughout the Southeast. Before the storm, none wanted to do marketing. During the storm, they were closed. Then after the hurricane, people were buying vehicles to re

BMDM

CEO of BMDM Chuck Barnett (L) with FSBDC at UCF Consultant Roger Greenwald (R)

place what was lost so my customers didn’t need to do any direct mail then either. The combination essentially shut down our business, it put a hit on our cash flow and we were without revenues for more than a month.

How helpful was the Emergency Bridge Loan?

The loan is going help us payback some credit cards we ran up to cover expenses. And replace personal funds used to pay the mortgage, cover the payroll, pay off the loans we have. It will partially repair the damage from the short term loss of revenue.

How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?

The FSBDC and our consultant were exceptional. They informed us of the program, helped us with the paperwork, and kept us informed all through the process. It was two weeks from start-to-finish. The whole experience was as painless as possible and a real relief given our situation.

About the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, and supported by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free working capital loan intended to help small businesses “bridge the gap” between the time of a declared disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance. Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program on Thursday, September 14 and the first loan was distributed the following Monday. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 90 or 180-day terms.

As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function for Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization, the Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.