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Success Stories

Kraig Torres always had a love of beer. After departing the Coast Guard and moving with his wife to Atlanta, he eventually opened up his dream business, a store offering craft beers from all over the world. Hop City Craft Beer & Wine opened in 2009 when the economy was still struggling to recover from a recession. He had some capital from the sale of a previous auto repair business but still needed a bank loan.

What challenge did you have? “We thought of Atlanta as a city of opportunity and it has been,” he says. “It was a terrible economy to open a business but I saw an opportunity to offer something that was not being offered in Atlanta,” Torres says. “I had some capital from the sale of the auto repair shop but also needed a bank loan. That proved to be very difficult. They kept telling me ‘nobody else is doing what you want to do.’ I ended up going to 32 different banks before finally getting a loan from a private bank that was opening a branch in Atlanta.”

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SBA Helps Concrete Contractor Build a Solid Foundation


 In 2010, Billy Freeman started Technique Concrete, a small concrete finishing company in Atlanta. Billy started the company so that he could spend more time working together with his aging father, a lifelong concrete mason and carpenter. What started as a father and son operation has grown into a major construction company that employs more than 100 workers, with annual revenues exceeding $ 45 million. Technique’s success and growth has not come without its share of challenges. 

Shortly after launching the company Billy’s father passed away leaving him to run the business alone. Looking for help to guide his decisions, he visited the Georgia District Office and found a wealth of resources. He was connected to SCORE, Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center for counseling and training workshops. It wasn’t until he enrolled into the 8a program that was he able to fully appreciate the value of the SBA assistance he received. 

Billy credits the SBA and his... Read More

Restaurant Owner Diego Velasquez


 Meet Diego Velasquez who, after working more than 14 years in the Georgia restaurant industry, decided to open his own restaurant, Tacos and Tequilas Mexican Grill, in Atlanta. What started in 2010 as a small restaurant quickly became successful; prompting Diego to open a second location. The dream and the success continued and today Diego owns four locations spread throughout metro-Atlanta, that have altogether created more than 120 new jobs. 

When Diego launched the first location he used his saving and support from his family. However, when he wanted to expand to additional locations he knew he needed help. He was advised to visit the local SBDC to discuss financing options. In addition to discussing financing options, he received assistance with revenue forecasting, competitive analysis, demographic reports and help compiling all of the information required for his loan package. “I was impressed by how much they helped me. Usually when you apply for a loan, you... Read More

SBA Helps Makeup Artist Create Something Beautiful


Eva Bunkley, a two-time Emmy award-winning makeup artist and serial entrepreneur, developed the idea for the Makeup Bullet while doing makeup for local news in Atlanta and nationally-syndicated shows in New York. The Bullet is a makeup applicator sponge that fits snugly on the tip of a finger while providing smooth, precise coverage. Since launching the Bullet, Eva has seen sales growth of more than 2000 percent. 

Sadly, this innovative tool almost never became a reality. Eva, like many other entrepreneurs, received bad advice, discouraging her to pursue developing her idea. After a seven year hiatus, Eva approached the Small Business Development Center at Georgia State University and received the encouragement and expertise needed to make her dream a reality. “They were so encouraging and made me confident about the decision to launch the Bullet,” she proudly exclaims. 

After her consultations, Eva not only found and retained a manufacturer; she also... Read More