A story about partners working together to help small businesses overcome challenges to grow and succeed.
Viola's Pasta & Seafood Restaurant is located in St. Augustine. In early October of 2016, Viola's was impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Helen Viola turned to the Florida SBDC Network for assistance with securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about her experience with the hurricane and the assistance she received, Helen stated:
What type of damage occurred?
We lost almost everything in our restaurant. All of our kitchen equipment had to be replaced. All of our ovens, coolers, bar equipment and even office equipment. Total loss/replacement value came to approximately $75,000.
How helpful was the Bridge Loan?
Without it we would not have been able to re-open our restaurant! We have 25 employees that were out of work (including us). The Bridge Loan gave us the opportunity to employ some of our employees during the two months it took to re-build and re-open. It helped us pay salaries, bills & start purchasing new equipment.
How helpful was the SBDC?
AMAZING is the first word that comes to mind. The quick response was essential. Every time I called with a question or need the phone was answered or I received a call back within hours. I have to give special thanks to Marge Cirillo for her personal care during the process. She even supplied us with big scissors and ribbon for our re-grand opening!
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.