Bridge Loan Helps Automotive Shop Rev Up Again Following Irma

Tristan Sothern, owner of Circuit Motorsports, and Roger Greenwald, Florida SBDC at UCF

When Tristan Sothern’s (left) automotive shop suffered physical and economic injury from Irma, he turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF and consultant Roger Greenwald (right) for help securing a bridge loan.

Disaster is a team effort. Read this story about partners working together to help Florida’s small businesses recover from Hurricane Irma.

Located in Casselberry, Circuit Motorsports provides high quality, aftermarket vehicle performance parts, service, and tuning for automobile enthusiasts. The company specializes in performance upgrades, installations, maintenance, and repair and other forms of custom work.

In September 2017, the company sustained physical and economic injury from Hurricane Irma. Seeking assistance, owner Tristan Sothern 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 his experience with the storm and the assistance received, he recalled:

What type of damage occurred?

Our building was damaged, with leaking through the roof and water intrusion through the walls. Besides that, we didn’t have internet for about two and one-half weeks. We were essentially closed. It hurt revenues and cash flow and our working capital.

How will the Emergency Bridge Loan help?

Just getting us going again, and try to make up for those lost weeks of revenue, getting the schedule filled back up and cover payroll as we do.

How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?

[The] Florida SBDC was very helpful. I called in and got my questions answered, sent in the paperwork I was supposed to send in. It was a pretty quick turnaround: about a week. Here I am getting a check. It all worked pretty well.

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.

Tristan Sothern, owner of Circuit Motorsports, and Roger Greenwald, Florida SBDC at UCF

"[The] Florida SBDC was very helpful [through the bridge loan process]. I called in and got my questions answered and sent in the paperwork I was supposed to send in. It was a pretty quick turnaround: about a week. Here I am getting a check. It all worked pretty well. "

- Tristan Sothern, Owner - Circuit Motorsports

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