A story about partners working together to help small businesses overcome challenges to grow and succeed.
Carriage Way B&B is a bed and breakfast located in the very center of historical downtown St. Augustine, just steps from old St. George Street: home of the walking mall with unique and charming shops, museums, historic sites, and beautiful views. In early October of 2016, Carriage Way B&B was impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The Torres’, a husband and wife team, turned to the Florida SBDC Network for assistance with securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about their experience with the hurricane and the assistance they received, the Torres’ recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
The HVAC units at ground level were damaged by flood waters. We had floor and tile damage, along with lost insulation under floors due to floods, as well as landscaping damage.
How helpful was the Emergency Bridge Loan?
The Bridge loan gave us the ability to immediately repair and replace the HVAC units to keep the inn operating. Fortunately, our properties experienced no flood waters inside, so we were able to re-open within a few days. However, we did experience significant numbers of cancelled bookings due to overly dramatized media coverage. The Bridge loan gave us the short-term working capital to continue operations while tourism recovered.
How helpful was the SBDC?
The SBDC process was very quick and efficient. The staff was very responsive in our time of need, despite the high volume of individuals impacted by the hurricane. We were able to receive funds quickly and the re-payment terms gave us much needed cash flow to get back on our feet. We also received internet marketing advice from your very knowledgeable colleague, which we are using to enhance our web presence and marketing efforts.
About the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Activated by the Governor and administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in collaboration with Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC) and the Florida SBDC Network, these short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to help impacted businesses “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance claims or federal assistance. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $25,000 for 90 or 180 day terms.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 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.
"The staff was very responsive in our time of need, despite the high volume of individuals impacted by the hurricane. We were able to receive funds quickly and the re-payment terms gave us much needed cash flow to get back on our feet. "
- Julio Torres, Owner - Carriage Way B&B