Success as an entrepreneur requires many personal qualities, none more important than perseverance. When combined with determination, resilience, and a strong work ethic, what might seem to be unremitting obstacles can be overcome. For Stephanie Caddy and her quest to buy a business in Palm Coast, there were times when a purchase seemed next to impossible. Fortunately, she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for guidance and achieved her dream of becoming a business owner.
Blooming Flowers & Gifts is a local florist that has been in business for 17 years at European Village, a one-stop-destination for all things dining, shopping, and entertainment, featuring seven eateries, multiple salons and boutique shops, six bars, and a few real estate offices. Blooming Flowers and Gifts offers a variety of flower arrangements, European dish gardens, gifts, and much more. Blooming Flowers was, in Stephanie’s opinion, a diamond in the rough with significant promise for growth, and the then owner was ready to entertain offers. Even so, Stephanie had a myriad of critical questions that needed to be addressed. What’s the market opportunity for a florist in Palm Coast and Flagler County? What’s the right price for the existing business? What kind of changes in marketing and operations would be required to realize the business’s full potential? And where could she find a bank loan to finance the acquisition? For those answers and more, Stephanie connected with the FSBDC at UCF.
“I sought out assistance from the FSBDC on the recommendation of a local banker,” as she recalls. “She told me that Palm Coast-based FSBDC consultant Michael Oppenheim was the one to contact and that he could give me guidance and help me through the process of purchasing the business.” With Oppenheim’s assistance and support, Stephanie set to work. “The services I received from the SBDC ranged from conducting a financial analysis and valuation of the current business, to developing a marketing approach, establishing myself within the community and receiving support in obtaining a loan,” Stephanie says today.
Of all the hurdles, finding a bank and moving through the application process to a successful conclusion was the most challenging. But with Oppenheim and the FSBDC by her side, after 13 months and working with five different lenders, Stephanie finally received the loan she needed. “Navigating the loan process was arduous and complex,” she states, “given that most of the banks have different requirements and paperwork submissions to qualify for their loans. The FSBDC was very helpful in getting me to the point where I was able to succeed at obtaining my loan.”
“My experience working with the FSBDC and Mike Oppenheim was amazing,” Stephanie concludes. “I would recommend to anybody looking to purchase a business to work with the FSBDC, to help them get the reports, do the analysis, find ways to build the business, to guide them through the financing. I am grateful to the FSBDC because going through the loan process was very difficult and without their assistance, I would probably have given up.” Stephanie did not back down however, and, thanks to her own and the FSBDC’s perseverance, she became the business owner she aspired to be, and now looks forward to a successful future.
For information about Blooming Flowers & Gifts, please visit https://www.bloomingflowersandgifts.com/.