Premiere Commercial Furniture & Design of Polk County
Hurricane Irma swept across the state of Florida in September 2017, leaving a path of destruction in her wake. While some businesses in the Tampa Bay region experienced physical damage to their businesses, many were hit with economic damage from loss of revenues. Premiere Commercial Furniture & Design, a Lakeland-based furniture and design company, is one of those businesses.
Owner Vicki Wolf, says that many of her long-term client projects have been indefinitely halted, creating a loss of income that the company can’t sustain on its own. Seeking assistance, Wolf sought assistance from the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, in applying for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, an interest-free loan program repayable within six months. Below, she recalls her experience:
Tell us about your business.
When I opened this business I wanted to take care of the customer’s needs in every way, so I have four divisions to my company. We start with office furniture. We do interior design, space planning…we sell wall paper, window coverings, framed artwork, silk plants, flooring, custom cabinetry and appliances for breakrooms.
The next division of my company is to do all the signage that would go on a new building.
After that business opens, we then have a printing division that would print business cards, letterhead, envelopes, forms, label, statements, billboards, and vinyl wrap for vehicles. And then we wrap up the last part of that with their promotional side.
So, from beginning to end, we are all business.
What type of damage occurred?
Due to the nature of our business where we plan so far out with doing drawings or designs for a building, my larger clients have put everything on hold for the rest of this year, so that means no revenue stream for me other than maybe a dozen shirts or two dozen pens with their logo on it. That’s not enough to sustain us. As of today, our two largest clients in South Florida and
Clearwater are still without power…preventing their employees from returning to work which, in turn, eliminates any revenue stream for Premiere Commercial Furniture & Design.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
This halting of business is devastating to us as these customers are the backbone of our
income and revenue strength, which allow us to pay our monthly overhead. So we had to reach out to the relief that’s offered and it’s a blessing.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
The SBDC just was faster than I expected. The response from the first email; the first phone call, has been exceptionally fast. I guess it’s exactly what we need in this crisis type situation where your revenue stream comes to a complete halt, and here you are at our rescue.