Wishing Entrepreneurs a Happy Holiday From SBA Southeast

SBA Southeastern Regional Update for Entrepreneurs


December 2020

u s small business administration
Happy Holidays


Make Shopping Small Your Holiday Tradition

Local News from Your

SBA District Office

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director

2020 has been a very challenging year for us all, especially for small businesses across the country. As we enter the holiday season and prepare for a somewhat different holiday tradition, (whether virtually or in a socially distanced manner) let us all reflect on what is important and those we have with us. 

I want to remind you all to support the small businesses in your community and #ShopSmall because when you shop small you are helping to support a local business, their employees and your community.

Anita Watkins of Alabama

Anita Watkins, owner of OH! Hair Design Studio received what was to her, her family and her small business a Saving Grace which has allowed her to stay in business. 

Read the rest of her story here




From the Alabama District Office to all of you, we wish you a Happy Holiday Season!

Michael Barrera

North Florida District Office

Michael Barrera, District Director


The North Florida District Office will be working with our resource and community partners in 2021 to reach more entrepreneurs throughout the North Florida territory. The office is planning on providing training and support for businesses to help them start and grow.

District Director Michael Barrera is actively meeting with businesses throughout the territory to assess what kind of training and support is needed throughout the vast territory.

The district will be providing additional specialized training on disaster preparedness and rural business development in partnership with local groups.

The team would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.

Victoria Guerrera

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director

As we look back over 2020, it has truly been an extraordinary year full of the unexpected. While it may be easy and tempting to focus on the negative and to feel buried by circumstances, it is worthwhile to seek out the positive.

In reflecting on these last several months, my SBA colleagues and I have seen that small businesses are resilient, determined, and resourceful.  Many have adapted and pivoted implementing new strategies to overcome the barriers imposed by Covid-19. 

During this difficult year, I am extremely proud of our role in the recovery of small firms across the nation and in South Florida in particular.   SBA implemented key programs and funding resources that came to the aid of millions of businesses. 

South Florida Dec 2020

They rehired employees enabling them to maintain their payroll with the Paycheck Protection Program.  SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Loan Advance helped them to cover their on-going working capital needs. 

And locally, we initiated an aggressive virtual, online campaign that engaged and provided thousands of small business owners in South Florida the needed information to ensure their access to these programs and resources.  Every member of my team participated and has been dedicated to the success of our small businesses.

In the upcoming year, we are looking forward to strengthening our current strategic partnerships and developing new strategic alliances with organizations that support entrepreneurs and small businesses.


Photo Caption:  Victoria Guerrero, SBA District Director, the City of Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, and members of the Latin Chamber of Commerce and Industry of USA participated in a SAM Signing on Nov. 19.

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

The SBA Georgia District wishes a very Happy Holiday season to entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the Peach State. As we depart a year unlike any other we’ve ever experienced, we look forward to a new year full of opportunities to continue helping small business start, grow and expand. Follow our Twitter page and visit our website to stay up to date on the latest happenings in Georgia.

Georgia December

Left Photo: Small Business Roundtable during Administration Carranza’s visit to Macon Right Photo– GA District Director Terri Denison giving an update on PPP forgiveness


Left Photo: Administrator Carranza visits Macon small business Men About Change Right Photo– GA District Director Terri Denison presents award to Hop City owner Kraig Torres, GA Small Business Person of the Year

Salon DMV

Administrator Carranza visits Savannah small business Salon DM3

Robert Coffey

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, District Director

Helping Small Businesses Transition to “The New Normal” in 2021

 If one phrase were used to describe 2020, it might be this: “Everything has changed.”

Terms like social distancing, shutdowns, working remotely and, of course, COVID-19, will remain in our minds permanently. Business operations have also changed - permanently.

A recent blog by an SBA contributor highlights trends for 2021, including the need for businesses to focus on e-commerce and offer virtual services. Safety and convenience will remain top-of-mind to your small business customers, clients and patrons. Here are other trends you can leverage in the new year.                         

 2021 Leveraging Trends for Small Business

  • Use the “Buy Local” sentiment to set yourself apart from large competitors.
  • Continue to emphasize a safe shopping experience.
  • Ensure that your website and social media are “mobile friendly.”
  • Offer gift cards, online coupons and reward programs.
  • Maintain enhanced services, like curbside pickup and low-cost delivery.
  • Solicit feedback to enhance loyalty and uncover new product/service ideas.
  • Make sure that you have a solid social media marketing plan.
  • Develop alliances with complimentary small businesses to attract more attention and traffic.
  • Your customers are important. Take care of your team and yourself, too.
  • Soft skills are crucial. Community Colleges, One Stop Career Centers and others provide soft skills coaching at low or no-cost.

If you do not know how to address some of these trends, set up a virtual appointment with our SBA resource partners. SCORE, the Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center and Veterans Business Outreach Center offer no-fee, confidential, high quality counseling and have excellent tools and resources. They work with our network of nationwide SBA lenders and others who offer expertise in small business exporting, government contracts and other ways to help you grow.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic this year, we at the Kentucky District Office remain optimistic about the future of small business. SBA and its resource partners will work together to help our entrepreneurs survive, pivot and reinvent their businesses.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director

Holiday Tips in 2020 for Small Businesses & Ways to Support Them Dung this Holiday Season

As we all know, small businesses are the lifeblood of our state and national economy and it really all starts at the local and community level. Without a doubt this year of 2020 has been very challenging for everybody, for families and for entire communities including small businesses and entrepreneurs on every single, solitary level. So, the primary means by which we can support small businesses during the holiday season is to make a targeted effort to do just that – to buy local and support independently owned and operated businesses and entrepreneurs within our very own communities.

Statistics reflect that many locally owned small retailers earn 25% or more of their total annual sales during the holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 2020 has undoubtedly been a tough year, so these small businesses are depending on this holiday season to at least break-even but certainly are working to turn a profit.

Small retailers often don’t have the sales volume or financial resources to compete with the huge discounts offered by the big box national chain stores and the profit margins of small businesses tend to be thinner allowing very little (wiggle) room on discounts and such, so this is just one of many challenges small businesses face, especially during this time of the year.

shop small 2020

We are encouraging small businesses to help drive more traffic to their businesses – whether it is by the traditional means of visiting their brick and mortar retail stores, restaurants and more (doing it safely, of course), or on-line to their websites.

Choosing to shop local could result in a significant economic impact for our communities and would transcend throughout our state with increased revenues, expanding the tax base and maintaining employment at these small businesses. There are over 262,000 small businesses in Mississippi and 99.3% of all businesses are considered small. There are thousands of retailers, restauranteurs, and others to patronize.

We can also take that one step further by making it a general practice to shop small not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the entire year! That would undeniably have a real economic impact on small businesses which again are the lifeblood of this nation’s and our state’s economy!

So, throughout this holiday season of 2020, each of us has a choice to make so please choose to support the local economy and frequent the entrepreneurs and small businesses that work hard every single day. We know that during this year their burden was even heavier, and together, we could help to lighten their load.

For more information about SBA and its programs and services, please visit SBA Mississippi District Office .

Happy holidays to you and be safe!

Thomas Stith

North Carolina District Office

Thomas A. Stith, III, District Director

NCDO Celebrates Small Business Saturday  

The NCDO highlighted Small Business Saturday by conducting interviews and visiting small businesses leading up to November 28. District Director Thomas A. Stith III discussed shopping small in North Carolina on the show Capital Tonight, while NCDO staff visited small businesses in Asheville, Rocky Mount, Oxford, Charlotte, Matthews, and Carrboro.

Stith Small Business SaturdayNC Small Business Saturday

SAM Patrick Rodriguez (left) and Aaron Nelson, the President and CEO of the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro staff a booth during the Carrboro, North Carolina Farmer’s Market on Small Business Saturday.......Right Photo: From left, Outreach and Marketing Specialist Judykay Jefferson poses for a photo with Books and Beans owners Etaf Rum and Brandon Clarke in Rocky Mount, N.C.

Richard White

South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

Happy Holidays from the South Carolina District Office!

This has been a tough year for small businesses, but as we close the year we would like to reflect on all of the positive moments for South Carolina small businesses in 2020      

                                        Reflections of Success from 2020

  • Our new Outreach and Marketing Specialist position in Spartanburg! (Know someone great for the job? Apply here for General Public or here for Status Candidates!)
  • 5 new 8(a) certified firms in South Carolina!
  • The 5,000+ lenders that came to together to provide over $525 billion in PPP funding to 5 million small businesses in South Carolina.
  • The $2 billon of Economic Injury Disaster Loans that helped 47,000 small businesses meet their payroll and obligatory needs.


And last but not least, we want to recognize the perseverance of small businesses across the state, and their ability to pivot their business model to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities they serve. If this year has taught us anything, it is the importance of planning for the unthinkable.

If you haven’t already, you can create a plan for your business here.

Thank you for all that you do, and our office is honored to serve you. If we can be of any assistance, please reach out to our office by calling 803-765-5377, or by visiting www.sba.gov/sc.

Stay safe and may you have a prosperous and blessed new year!

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director

Tennessee District Office (TNDO) Promotes Shop Small on Small Business Saturday and Throughout the Holiday Season

For Small Business Saturday, LaTanya Channel, SBA Tennessee District Director, visited – virtually  - with these four small business owners and then shopped online at their businesses.

TN Success
  • Pam Campbell, owner of Bonediggity Barkery and Gifts, a Gatlinburg, Tennessee, pet treats and gift shop benefitted from the services of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC)-Knoxville in addition to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for Covid-19. These financings allowed her to keep staff on the payroll and replenish inventory during the pandemic where the Gatlinburg tourist area has been booming after the Great Smoky Mountains re-opened.
  • Patricia Bible, Chief Executive Officer of KaTom Restaurant Supply, a Kodak, Tennessee small business that sells restaurant equipment and kitchen accessories online and in a retail space received an SBA guaranteed loan to expand, and SBA PPP loan to keep its employees on the payroll. KaTom also began selling PPE during  the pandemic with its other small business partners.
  • Anita McAlpin is the owner of Charlie Pop!® Gourmet Popcorn, a Puryear, Tennessee, business that sells a variety of flavored popcorn both online and in a retail space received counseling and training services from the TSBDC- Martin to open a brick and mortar shop and market the business such that popcorn sales are now nationwide.
  • Kelsey Loebel, owner of Muff’n Connections and Confections, a full service bakery in Germantown, Tennessee, outside of Memphis, received counseling and training from the TSBDC-Memphis as well as graduated from SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program. These services helped launch the business and make Miss Muff’n bankable so that a storefront could be purchased.


New Year