Above the Sill of Sarasota County
Above the Sill, located in Venice, is a woman-owned business providing window treatments and privacy curtains to hospitals, assisted living facilities, schools, hotels, and restaurants. The company, which has been in business for 13 years, also provides residential services, working with contractors throughout the state.
After Hurricane Irma passed through Florida in September 2017, owner Joan Serio found business at a standstill for more than a week, as deliveries could not move throughout the state. This created a temporary cash flow problem for the business.
Serio promptly reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida for assistance in applying for the State of 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?
We were without electricity for over a week. We were not getting deliveries or able to deliver our goods because of the damage in other parts of the state. We were told by many of our local contractors that we would not be receiving payments that were due to us, for another four to six weeks because they were behind with their work due to Irma. This put us in a financial bind with our vendors and employees. We have not experienced this kind of situation in 13 years of doing business so it was frightening.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
This is amazing. We will be able to get caught up with payroll and also pay our vendors so that we can continue our flow of operation.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
I am so thankful. I did not know this kind of help was available. Pat Gordon came into our office and was so friendly and helpful. I told her our problems and I really did not hold out much hope. We had not suffered any visible damage but we were worried about our employees and what would really happen if we could not hold out financially.