Cyntia Johnson, a seasoned dance instructor and wife of a world-renowned dancer and judge, launched the couple’s final dance studio in Lakewood Ranch approximately 10 years ago. Dancing on the Suncoast offers private lessons and classes for ballroom and partner dancing to the local community.
Johnson and her husband, Patrick, danced throughout their youth and had open several dance studios throughout their career; however, the COVID-19 pandemic brought on some struggles that caused Johnson to seek help in handling getting through the U.S. Small Business Administration loan process and surviving the pandemic financially.
Johnson searched for help and found the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida and business consultant Greg Manning.
“Since I’ve been working with the Florida SBDC at USF, it’s kept my doors open,” Johnson said. “Without the loan, I could not do anything because our clientele was cut to basically a couple of students that were brave enough to come out and have some lessons. If it wasn’t for them, I would be closed.”
With Manning’s assistance, Johnson was able to get approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) via the SBA, keeping the business alive with less students. “The Florida SBDC at USF helped me get the loan, a loan I could not have done all of the work that needed to be done to apply,” she said. “Without their help, I couldn’t have done it.”
Dancing on the Suncoast is still feeling the effects of COVID-19, with some still wary about taking part in such a close contact activity, but Johnson and her team make every effort to sanitize and follow health protocol to keep the studio a safe and comfortable place for new and returning clients.
Johnson continues to grow and provide dance lessons in the Lakewood Ranch area, and she plans to continue in partnership with the Florida SBDC at USF.
“I would like to use the Florida SBDC at USF to help me keep moving forward with any problem I have,” Johnson said. “Now, I know you guys exist, so I’m going to contact you and say, ‘Hey, can you do this? How can you help me with this, or can you help me with that?’ and then go from there.”
She also encourages other small business owners to take advantage of the no-cost resources as well.
“They can help out quite a bit with different things that you don’t even know that they can,” she said.