2019 Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery

2019 Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery


Music In late 2017, Hurricane Irma one of the
most powerful Atlantic storms in a decade, swept through the Caribbean Sea
and up the Florida coast. Despite its devastation, many residents
were eager to rebuild and get back to work. In the nineteen months since
Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved over 1.7 billion
dollars in disaster loan assistance to renters and businesses. The Phoenix award acknowledges small business owners who focus on their communities despite
severe setbacks. Here at Cheeseburger Baby, we sell the
best burgers not only in South Beach, but I think across the country. We use a 100 percent ground beef with an 80/20 cut, a little bit of fat in there to give you a good
nice juicy burger. We cook on a flat top grill instead of a charcoal so it’s like
cooking in your mom’s cast-iron skillet. We’ve been around since 2001 and we’re
going strong. When Hurricane Irma hit one of my
employees who decided to not evacuate was the first one on the scene to let us
know you know what the damage was. My wife and I and our five dogs evacuated
and one of our good friends in a U-Haul van. We packed it up and we just drove
until we got away from the storms. We didn’t have power for over two weeks. We
ended up hooking up the generator from the truck to run whatever we needed.
Thank God both the stores actually run on propane and not on electric, so we were still able to cook. It was tough. The truck had damaged. A big tree fell on the
roof and over the truck so that damaged the roof of the truck. We had both of our
ACs were done. There was flooding. We lost all of our food because of the
power and lost the freezer. So there was just a lot of damage. Originally I
reached out to FEMA, that’s when FEMA referred me to the SBA and from there
they brought me to the SBDC for the bridge loan. In the meantime because I was in
such a panic and I was desperate there was no business in the stores and so
that’s when we jumped on the trucks and I went up there and just started taking
events and same with here I took events and we were doing whatever we could with
the community too. If somebody needed water, I would drop off cases of water and you
know it was just the community was working together.
I don’t know without each other we could have done this and without the
help of the SBA and SBDC. I just don’t think that we would have been able to
get through this. The SBA in the SBDC helped cheeseburger
baby by giving me the low interest amount loan to help me get back on my
feet. I think I’m always gonna have a lifetime relationship with them. What
sets Stephanie apart from other businesses that we work with was just
the resilience she’s basically survived working through getting financing
challenges all businesses face in terms of the market in terms of growth and
Hurricane Irma. She was extremely resilient. Stephanie found out about SBA’s
disaster loan program and applied and was able to recover using SBA funds to
repair, replace and obtain working capital to keep the business in
operation. And, as a result of her tenacity, the fact that she kept
employees employed and for her dedication to the businesses around her,
to her business and the community, she is deserving award winner for the 2019
Phoenix award. I can tell you this, if the future for me is only brighter because
I’ve been through what I’ve been through with Irma and if I can make it through
this I know I could conquer so much more in my future. Cheeseburger Baby has a
bright future ahead. That’s what I feel. you

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