SAVANNAH, GA (December 9, 2022) — The Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC) recently held its annual luncheon, where it acknowledged the organization’s 2022 successes, announced its 2023 board of directors and honored the winners of its four yearly awards.
The program opened with a warm welcome from Tony O’Reilly, president, SBAC. He also recognized the SBAC staff and the board of directors led by the executive committee, including Brendan Ferrara, chairman; Carol Brooks, vice chair; Lynn Vos, secretary; Kate Rott, assistant secretary; Elaine Campbell, treasurer; and Dan Pavlin, loan committee chair.
“What makes this annual event special is that it affords the opportunity to thank our team of volunteers and partners, acknowledge the service and achievements of SBAC’s staff and recognize small businesses that have put forth great effort in contributing to our community,” said Ferrara. “SBAC continues to make great strides toward being a productive Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and maintaining that certification solidifies SBAC’s stated mission as a nonprofit, mission-driven lender, providing financial services and resources to businesses that lack access to capital.”
The program then turned to the annual awards ceremony. Four recipients were honored for their dedication to the community and to small business.
The T. McCoy Cornerstone Award
The T. McCoy Cornerstone Award honors Terry McCoy, a former SBAC staff member, who for over 15 years managed SBAC’s administrative responsibilities. In her daily work, Terry exemplified the very best aspects of her profession and her tireless dedication to SBAC. This year’s award went to Gloria Greer, administrative assistant for Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center.
“Gloria’s work goes beyond the everyday tasks of filing and answering the phones,” said Victoria Saxton, chief financial officer, SBAC. “She truly cares about the people she works with and is dedicated to the protection of the children they serve. As children are being seen, Gloria makes sure every child leaves the facility with a stuffed animal or a book to take home with them. She encourages the team to provide great service to the community, and whenever a problem arises, she is always there to help find a solution that best fits the needs of the clients.”
Small Business Lender of the Year
Small Business Lender of the Year goes to the loan officer most active in SBAC loan originations and referrals for funded loans. Considering all loan programs, large or small, this award is determined first by the number of transactions closed by an individual lender during the fiscal year. The award went to Trapper Griffith, Savannah market executive and senior vice president, TC Federal Bank.
“Trapper was involved with three funded SBA 504 loans last year, totaling over $3.7 million in project costs and over $1.1 million in SBA loans,” said Wendy Jeffers, director of lending, SBAC. “Seventeen full-time jobs were retained as a result of these projects. Trapper has also contributed to Savannah’s small business community by volunteering at SBAC as a Loan Committee member since 2017.”
Micro Entrepreneur of the Year
The Micro Entrepreneur of the Year award is given to a business that has demonstrated profitable growth and longevity, has a total of five full-time equivalent employees or less and is active in the community. The recipient of this year’s award was Stitch.
“Adrienne Boyce began working for Stitch in 2008 when she was hired by the owner and soon had the opportunity to purchase the business,” said Stephen George, vice president, SBAC. “As the Pandemic hit, Adrienne was faced with the very real possibility of closing her business not just for a few months, but permanently. Adrienne approached Ivory and Beau and together they found a way to support each other. So out of an impending business closure, a solution was found that transformed one business and expanded the offerings of a second business.”
Michael Bunn, Sr. Memorial Rising Star Award
The Michael Bunn, Sr. Memorial Rising Star Award is named for Bunn, the first person hired by O’Reilly at the Savannah Certified Development Corporation, now known as the Small Business Assistance Corporation. The award honors a small business that is considered a rising star in the community. The 2022 recipient was Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar & Cocktails.
“Sorry Charlie’s is located in the oldest continuously operating commercial building in Georgia, which was originally built in 1817,” said Fuller. “Over 70 years later, the building fell into disrepair and was one of the last condemned buildings in the area until the Sorry Charlie’s team of entrepreneurs began to dream of what could be. Almost 140 jobs have been created as a result of these projects and one of the most important, historic buildings in Savannah went from a blighted property to an 18,000-square-foot showpiece in the heart of the historic district.”
For more information on the Small Business Assistance Corporation, visit sbacsav.com.
About the Small Business Assistance Corporation
The Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. SBAC is also a Certified Development Company (CDC) licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and contracted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the City of Savannah, to promote small business development through financing and technical assistance. It offers a wide variety of loan programs for new and existing businesses in Savannah and throughout Southeast Georgia and the South Carolina Lowcountry.