Winter Haven Gardens Inn and Banquet Center of Polk County
Winter Haven Gardens Inn and Banquet Center, a hotel, banquet and wedding venue centrally located in Polk County, sustained physical damage to both the interior of the hotel and the grounds, due to Hurricane Irma. The inn is owned by Secura Properties Management.
Damage included severe roof damage to four buildings, floor damage, sleeping room leaks, furniture and content of the hotel ruined, landscape and tree damage, electrical and computer damage and loss of business as a result of the hurricane.
Secura Properties Management owner, Mark Ramnauth, wasn’t sure how the company was going to be able to start making repairs with such a high insurance deductible. That’s when he sought out the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, with multiple circuit ride office throughout Polk County, for assistance in applying for a State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about his experience with the storm and the assistance received, Ramnauth recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
Well we had a lot of leaks to our roof which caused interior damage to the flooring and a lot of our curtains and then all of our exterior furniture and fence were damaged, which is not covered by insurance.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
This loan will be a good bridge until we get more funding since we have a lot of damage to repair and our deductible is so high that we’re not going to get anything from the insurance. This loan will help us get through the next three months so we can help clean up the property –especially the exterior. Some of our sleeping rooms have damage so we have to repair some interior walls as well.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
The good thing is I think it’s reasonably quick and what was nice was that Carl – who was helping us locally – had an office nearby and we were able to get down there pretty fast. It was quick, straightforward, and accessible. I think it’s good that the State of Florida is offering people this opportunity. People are finding it very hard to bridge the gap until they can get the financing elsewhere. A lot of businesses have short-term needs.