SBA Tours Avondale Shops

SBA Tours Avondale Shops
SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns; Sandi White, owner of Green Alligator; District 14 Councilman Jim Love, and Wilfred Gonzalez, Director of the SBA North Florida District

One Friday in December, Washington came to town. SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns toured – and shopped at – three small businesses in historic Avondale to highlight the importance of supporting small businesses during the holiday season. Her visits to Design Additions, the Green Alligator and the Florida Creamery underscored the important role small businesses play in growing local economies.

According to Johns, small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating two out of every three new private sector jobs. “When you buy something at a local small business, like the ones here in Avondale, it’s an investment in the community,” she said.

Design Additions, 3569 St. Johns Avenue, was the recipient of an SBA guaranteed loan and was visited by Deputy Administrator Johns as well as staff from the SBA’s North Florida District Office and Jim Love, District 14 Councilman. Owner Chris Hardison noted, “As a small business owner, I was thrilled not only that the Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration would visit our store, but it also made me feel like small businesses really do matter.”

Angela Wilcox, owner of the Florida Creamery at 3566 St. Johns Avenue, received business advice from Kevin Monahan, Special Projects Director of the UNF Small Business Development Center. “He suggested I create a presence in the community and get involved with a nonprofit,” said Wilcox. “I have a love of nostalgic Florida and want to see its waterways restored.” The Florida Creamery is a site for collecting signatures for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment Campaign.

The SBDC network provides a wide array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs and is made up of a unique collaboration of SBA, state and local governments, and private sector funding resource.

While The Green Alligator does not currently have a formal relationship with SBA or its partners, touring the unique toy shop at 3581 St. Johns Avenue was an opportunity for Sandi White to learn about SBA programs and services. White will be able to reach out to the SBA or the SBDC as an additional source of support for her business.

Wilfredo Gonzalez, District Director of the SBA North Florida District Office is positive about the future for small businesses and shares his thoughts in a letter to our readers.


By Kate A. Hallock

Resident Community News



Local SBA director encourages small businesses


Dear Readers:


Small businesses continue to be the job creators and champions of local economies, and small business owners face multiple challenges. The one most often heard is access to capital. In a recent survey by the National Small Business Association, nearly 70 percent of small businesses report that the credit crunch has impacted their businesses in some way.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers programs to support the diverse needs of small business owners, including a variety of loan programs for specific purposes.  In the San Marco/Mandarin area of Jacksonville, SBA guaranteed approximately $4.8 million for small businesses in Fiscal Year 2012. These loans were made to business owners in various industries including transportation/warehousing, manufacturing, professional services, and arts/entertainment/recreation. SBA loans in this area contributed to creating 64 jobs and helped business owners retain 99 jobs.

As a new year is launched, business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to give themselves an edge by turning to the SBA or our many resource and community partners for guidance and assistance. We work closely with the Small Business Development Center located at the University of North Florida, the Jacksonville SCORE Chapter, and the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center to provide counseling, training, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs.

I invite everyone who is interested in starting or growing a business in North Florida to visit our website at or call the District Office at (904) 443-1900. To stay informed about SBA programs and services in your area, sign up for our local district office newsletter and email updates on our district website.


With Regards,

Wilfredo Gonzalez

District Director

SBA North Florida District Office

SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns; Sandi White, owner of Green Alligator; District 14 Councilman Jim Love, and Wilfred Gonzalez, Director of the SBA North Florida District

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