Disaster is a team effort. Read this story about partners working together to help Florida’s small businesses recover from Hurricane Irma.
Located in Leesburg, Pet Lodge & Spa is a professional pet lodging, daycare and spa.
In September 2017, the business sustained economic injury from Hurricane Irma. Seeking assistance, president Sandra Metcalf 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 storm and the assistance received, she recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
The Financial impact was significant. With the announcement of the impending hurricane, we lost about 70% of our bookings and all the associated revenue. In addition, we have a no-layoffs philosophy so we kept our employees working and incurred the related payroll expenses. Drastically curtailed revenues while maintaining full operation overhead expenses over a 7–10 day period damaged us financially.
How will the Emergency Bridge Loan help?
This is our slow period in advance of November when the snow birds arrive. The loan will be used for just what it’s called: a bridge to get us to our busier times and increased revenues. It makes sure that hit from payroll doesn’t sap our resources.
How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?
I’m a retired banker, on the lending side. I am flabbergasted by how fast and professional this experience has been. We sent our application in last Tuesday, and here we are a week later on Thursday – 9 days later -- and we’re closing and the loan is being disbursed. Unheard of. Unbelievable.
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.