Located in Orlando, FL TSecret manufactures natural skin care products for the professional spa and salon market with a laboratory in Winter Park, FL, as well as operating a skin care clinic in College Park, FL where treatments for acne and other skin conditions are offered. In September 2017, TSecret sustained significant damage due to Hurricane Irma. Caroline Yachan, president of TSecret, turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (UCF) for help securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about her experience with the hurricane and the assistance received, she recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
We experienced damage to both sides of our business. Our manufacturing facility is also our warehouse and laundry. We spent money on outside labor to prepare for and recover from the storm.
Then we were without power for almost two weeks. Our raw materials and inventory are stored in refrigerators there and they were lost.
And our clinic lost revenues from cancellations before and after the hurricane, and of course during the storm when we were closed.
Plus the power outage at the manufacturing facility meant we had to pay overtime to some of our staff who had power and could do laundry for the clinic.
How helpful was the Emergency Bridge Loan?
With the expenses we have had, the lost revenues and the lost raw materials and inventory, the loan is so important to helping us get us past those costs, replenish our stocks and get our cash flow going again.
How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?
The FSBDC has been so helpful. Incredibly helpful. We were already working with them and they recommended the Bridge Loan. When we decided to apply, we got a call almost immediately. And they were incredibly responsive to all our questions. Then today we got a call to come pick up a check. And we said, “What? Already? This is crazy.” And it was incredible timing because we had big bills that needed to be paid and there was the money. The FSBDC was so awesome.
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.