The Dance Academy of Pasco County
The Dance Academy, of Land O Lakes, specializes in gymnastics, tumbling and dance instruction for children ages 18 months to 18 years. Like many other businesses in Florida, Hurricane Irma left a path of economic damage in its path, in the form of lost revenues and customers as residents fled the state and then began the cleanup efforts.
President Susan Sisk and Vice President Jill Bosack, were searching for a way to invest in an additional employee to help them recoup lost enrollments after the hurricane, so they reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida for assistance in applying for a State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan. The loan is an interest-free, short-term loan meant to help bridge the gap as businesses attempt to get back to normal.
When asked about their experience with the storm and the assistance received, they recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
We didn’t have any physical damage to the facility but our enrollment was down 33% immediately following the hurricane. Typically, September is one of our strongest months for new enrollment.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
We are going to use the proceeds from the loan to invest in an employee who will specialize in social media to increase awareness of what we do at the building and programs that we already offer. We are also going to add new programs to the facility to help draw new students and new demographics.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
I would say overall that Mitch was very timely. He always had quick responses to any questions that I had either via email or via phone and he was always very accessible. He always got back with me and got the answers. We both walked away from our meeting with Mitch confident that we were going to get the help we needed and that our plan for moving forward would actually have a chance of working. We’re thankful that you’re here. We know our positions very well but we’re not a banker, we’re not an investor, so we need organizations like this.