Red Tide Hits Shellfish Operation Hard
Two Docks Shellfish, LLC of Manatee County
When your business thrives in the waterways of Florida, red tide can be the phenomenon that puts your business under. Two Docks Shellfish, a family-owned business, farms clams, oysters and sunray venus clams out of Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound and Gasparilla Sound, and provides those products to businesses across the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Bradenton areas. After enduring nearly a year of red tide, the Welch family reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida to begin the process of applying for a State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan.
When asked about their experience with the damage from red tide and the assistance received, they recalled:
WHAT TYPE OF DAMAGE OCCURRED?
Our farming has been impacted by the red tide blooms that have been going on for the last 12 months. Red tide doesn’t kill shellfish but what it does is make it toxic to humans, so the state and other regulators prevent us from harvesting our product while there’s red tide in the area. So especially for our Charlotte Harbor farms, but to some degree our Tampa Bay farm as well, we’ve been unable to harvest our product for about a year, which has obviously negatively impacted our revenue.
HOW WILL THE BRIDGE LOAN HELP?
The loan’s going to be enormously helpful. We were going to be okay but this is going to give us some breathing room and help us make better long-term decisions. Instead of managing things on a week-to-week basis, we’ll be able to manage things on a month-to-month basis, which makes a lot of difference when you’re running a small business. It’s going to allow us to stay in business and hopefully start making a profit again.
HOW WAS THE FLORIDA SBDC AT USF HELPFUL DURING THIS PROCESS?
We had applied for some other loans and this has been the easiest process we’ve engaged in. The personnel involved have been the easiest to deal with and the most understanding and the most efficient. It’s just been awesome. It’s been great. You have been the most helpful and cheerful people that we’ve dealt with in all these financial situations. We really appreciate that.