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Rural Company Bringing Novel Farm-to-Table Approach to the Spice Business Posed for Growth with SBA 7a Loan

Burma Spice sells gourmet exotic spices on-line from its own website www.burmaspice.com and on Amazon.com. The company started as a home-based business in 2014 and has since outgrown the house and moved into a facility in Glades County Florida. Started in 2015, Burma buys many of its herbs and spices from local south Florida growers as fresh produce and washes and dries all its spices in-house.  

With spices coming from tree to table in days rather than months, the flavors are more vibrant and have been earning several five-star reviews according to the company’s owner, Ed Brakus. Transitioning from a home-based business to a larger organization with the added responsibility of managing employees, suppliers, and finances required a lot of learning on the job training. It was at that point that he turned to the SBA for assistance and expertise.

In helping Burma develop its business expansion strategies, Dave Hamblett from SCORE Ft. Myers Chapter introduced the owner to the Culinary Accelerator in Immokalee Florida which helped the company connect with local growers and suppliers. “Since they’re plugged into a lot of local business and organizations, SCORE is able to make business connections that help everyone in the community.”

“We decided to plunge headlong into all the SBA programs we could find applicable to our business,” said Brakus. “Our experience with the SBA has exceeded all of our expectations. Lonnie Koyama, a local SBA rep, was extremely helpful with helping us navigate through several processes.”

The local SCORE Chapter provided with company a team of energetic and experienced mentors who were instrumental in connecting them to suppliers, customers, and an SBA approved 7(a) lender.

“In addition to SCORE, our SBDC advisor helped us work through our financial planning and to structure our business plan,” he added regarding the assistance he received from Dana Brunett, an SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University advisor. “This exercise improved our execution and also helped us secure our financing.”

Since securing the SBA 7(a) Community Advantage Loan from Anchor Financial, Burkus used the proceeds refinance early debt and free up cashflow to accelerate his business’ overall growth. Burma Spice has been growing rapidly and plans to add a few dozen new employees to its payroll over the next 24 months as it expands its facility in Moore Haven, Florida.

“I really recommend SCORE and SBDC to entrepreneurs,” said Brakus. “You can grow your business faster when you learn from the experience of others rather than trying to figure it out all by yourself.  We found people who genuinely care about our business and have become fully engaged in our success.”

Company Name: 
Burma Spice
Location: 
Moore Haven, Florida