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South Florida District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories


If you type “Florida Small Business Owner” into your favorite internet search engine, don’t be surprised if your search result includes Elaine Davis, President and owner of Royal Maid Service in Boynton Beach, Fla. 

Davis has been self-employed for almost 20 years.  Two years ago, she opened the doors of her franchise housecleaning business just eight weeks after meeting the master franchiser.  Since starting, she has grown her business and created jobs for five people.

“It was a good business fit for me and I enjoy meeting new clients that come my way,” said Davis.  “It’s a busy job working hard to build trust and demonstrate integrity with your customers.”

But like the greater than 90% of small businesses owners in the country, Davis did not have health insurance. 

“My husband and I are in excellent shape.  We don’t smoke and we try not to take any medications.  We never had health insurance because we resented having to pay up-front costs for... Read More

Sherry Acanfora-Ruohomaki got an idea for a business in her head one day in 2002.  For the next nine years, she poked, prodded and turned over every aspect of the idea in her spare time.  Ironically, her full time job involved using her degree in computer and electrical engineering in helping entrepreneurs develop their own high tech-centered businesses.  Finally, the day came where she decided to act on her idea and there was nothing high tech about it. 

“I guess you can say I got tired of working with the two-legged variety of animal and decided to work with the four-legged variety,” recalled Sherry.

With a U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Express loan of $235,000 from SunTrust bank in August 2009, Sherry opened “K9 Kampus,” a unique one-of-a-kind animal care facility that features day care, grooming and boarding facilities. 

“It wasn’t easy getting a loan during that time.  I was rejected by many banks.  SunTrust Bank met with me and submitted my... Read More

Miami Natural Food Store Buzzing With Business at New Location

Small business owner Robert Penna opened his Miami, Fla., health food store “Beehive Natural Foods” and operated in the 1000-square-foot rented space for 33 years.   But last summer, he and half-dozen small business owners in the same strip-mall received unexpected news from the landlord.  The building was sold and everyone had to move out within the next six months.

“Needless to say, I became very anxious about where I was going to go,” said Penna recalling the announcement that left him and the other business owners shocked. 

Penna had no choice.  This wasn’t something he had ever considered and he had no idea where to move his business.  But one thing he did know was that he was going to need a loan to make the move.  With advice from his mortgage broker, Penna began researching SBA loan program options.  He began the approval process with SunTrust Bank and shortly afterwards found a retail space for sale just a couple miles further down the road.

“I always... Read More

The U.S. Small Business Administration South Florida District’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne is an integral business resource for inspiring women entrepreneurs and helping women-owned small businesses grow and create jobs.   Just ask Jeanne Whitman, owner of Melbourne’s “Achieve Beautiful Skin”. 


Whitman, who opened “Achieve Beautiful Skin” just a few years ago, is one of many south Florida, woman-owned businesses who credit greater success through programs offered at WBC.  Her success is why this year’s theme for Women History Month, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment,” is representative of women-owned small business success in south Florida. 


“I always had a dream of opening my own beauty spa,” said Jeanne.  “My sister Carol was a beauty queen and I was a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins cheerleader for three years.  I wanted to help other women develop and keep a positive... Read More