Success Story

Premium Seafood-Marge July 2017

Premium Seafood

I will always be grateful for the bridge loan program and the professional help I received from Marge, Kevin and the Florida SBDC at UNF.

In September of 2014, Michael Sullivan purchased a 1.44 acre lot next to his shellfish nursery and began construction of his seafood market and raw bar in Crescent Beach, known as the Commanders Shellfish Camp.

Working most of 2015, he secured funding and began construction. He was looking forward to receiving his Certificate of Occupancy from the County in October of 2016. Then, Hurricane Matthew hit on October 7th and changed everything for Michael. His building is 9 feet above sea level but the tremendous surge came up to 8.5 feet. His buildings were spared but the surge washed away his shellfish nursery, scattering equipment and animals that were under his pole barn throughout the adjacent wetlands. All of his ground level pumps and processing equipment were submerged and ruined. All the electrical lines needed to be dried out. Most of the seed inventory ($30,000) in his nursery was lost. His 1.44 acres site was totally flooded to a depth of 4.5 feet. Six weeks prior to the storm, Michael had finished landscaping the area. All of it was destroyed as Hurricane Matthew snapped many of the new trees in half and covered the 120 new bushes with water.

Following the historic storm, Michael went to a disaster meeting in St. Augustine and was told about disaster loans and the Florida SBDC. He came to the FSBDC at UNF’s St. Johns County office where he met with consultants Marge Cirillo and Kevin Monahan. Marge and Kevin were able to assist Michael with completing the State of Florida bridge loan application for $25,000 to gain access to cash quickly so he could recover from the storm. Marge worked very closely with Michael to obtain the information on the company revenues, expenses and expansion of his business for the loan committee.

Michael received his Certificate of Occupancy from the County in January 2017, three months after Hurricane Matthew came and went. He will soon receive his restaurant inspection. Michael said the $25,000 may seem like a small amount of money but without it, he would not have been able to bring his employees back to work and keep his bills paid until he could get the revenue stream from his shellfish nursery back. “I’m sure there will be more hurdles to clear,” said Michael, “but I will always be grateful for the bridge loan program and the professional help I received from Marge, Kevin and the Florida SBDC at UNF.”

Premium SeafoodMichael Sullivan

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