GyroplaneGuy, Inc. of Highlands County
Editor’s Note: (Wednesday, October 31, 2018) – Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Chris Lord and Dr. Christopher Brugger. Both were killed in a gyroplane accident still under investigation Tuesday afternoon. Additional details can be found at: https://www.abcactionnews.com/
The 2017 hurricane season got off to a swift start with Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Irma left a wide swatch of damage to property and the economy, in its wake.
In Sebring, Christopher Lord’s GyroplaneGuy, Inc., was no exception. Having just opened the business in Florida in May 2017, Lord imports gyroplanes from Spain. Built as kits, the company also does flight training for those interested. People from all over the United States come to Sebring to buy, build and train in gyroplanes.
Once the storm cleared, the Highlands County Board of County Commissioner’s Economic Development office quickly set to work canvassing the community to let businesses know about the available recovery resources. Meghan DiGiacomo, Business Development Manager, advised business owners to complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey and informed them of some recovery options available.
Once he completed the survey, Lord was contacted by the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, based at South Florida State College in Avon Park. There, he found assistance applying for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about his experience with the storm and the assistance received, he recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
The commercial hanger we rent had damage to the roof. The roof peeled back exposing everything in the hanger for two weeks. We had wet insulation on everything. One aircraft had paint damage and we lost some tools and office equipment. Our office and bathroom had to be torn down due to water damage, which still has not been rebuilt.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
This bridge loan will help our business with payroll for the employees. We were unable to operate for three and a half weeks, as we moved everything out of the hanger, cleaned everything off and moved back into the hanger.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
SBDC has been a tremendous help and relief in the aftermath of Irma. They reached out to us and offered their services. All of our questions were answered very quickly. Thank you SBDC!