Tampa-based general contractor utilizes PPP, EIDL to weather COVID-19
AGS Stone of Tampa
After serving in leadership positions in the industrial distribution industry for more than 30 years, Gary Rogers, who had always had an interest in starting a business, acquired AGS Stone and relocated to Tampa from Western New York. That was 2010.
Since then, this family-driven company has grown into an 18,000 square foot showroom and fabrication facility on Adamo Drive in Tampa. The general licensed contractor specializing in kitchen and bath remodels, helps clients transform their kitchen or bath into a functional and stylish living space that they will enjoy for years to come.
“From design to material selection and installation, we handle all facets of our client’s project with the goal of achieving their vision,” Rogers said.
After COVID-19 forced a shutdown in the United States in early 2020, Rogers had to close the showroom doors for a month. “There was a great degree of uncertainty at that time so I thought it necessary to seek government assistance if available,” Rogers added. Like many others, he had a difficult time finding a bank that would work with him.
“Our existing bank was in the process of merging and was struggling to keep up with requests,” he said, of the bank’s ability to process Paycheck Protection Program applications. That’s when he reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, for guidance. He was connected with business consultant Karen Krymski, who advised him of a few others banks she thought would be able to assist.
“We were fortunate to find a lender that helped us obtain a PPP loan,” he said. “In addition to PPP, we were able to secure an EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] loan through the SBA.”
The PPP loan enabled the company to fund a COVID PTO program, allowing any staff member missing work due to COVID-19 to continue to draw their regular paycheck. “Funding was a challenge because of the significant revenue loss that resulted from the shutdown,” Rogers said. “We had sufficient reserves to get through the first month and were fortunate that PPP funding came through in early May.”
In addition, the EIDL allowed the company to meet debt obligations and have sufficient liquidity until operations could resume at a normal pace.
Rogers said he’s grateful for Krymski, the Florida SBDC at USF, and the SBA assistance that was available during a difficult period. “In times like this you come to realize how important relationships are,” he said. “As a small business owner, you have to stay connected to your community in both good times and bad. Not just to take what is offered but to give back whenever the opportunity arises. No man is an island. We need to value our government and community and be willing to invest our time and resources into both because you never know when you will need a friend.”