CLEVELAND, OH—A small business owner in Cleveland has used three loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to expand a successful food market business and create 31 jobs, with the expectation of creating up to 50 more when his new store opens later this year near University Circle. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills visited Constantino’s Market on January 27th to highlight the success of SBA loans and recent efforts to help small businesses grow.“Constantino’s Market is the classic American success story. Thanks to three loans from the Small Business Administration, Costas Mavromichalis has been able to turn his father’s convenience store business into the successful, unique grocery store itis today,” Brown said. “And in just a few months, he will open a new store in the growing University Circle neighborhood, adding as many as 50 additional jobs in the process. This is a perfect example of the federal government working with private industry to help small businesses grow, expand their sales, and add new jobs.” “In Tuesday's State of the Union, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy built to last—built on small businesses and the strength of American workers,” Mills said. “Constantino’s Market is an example of just what the President was describing—a business that is growing stronger every day with a tireless work ethic, a commitment to the community and a little help from the Obama administration. The SBA is working hard every day to make sure Constantino’s Market and all of Ohio’s small businesses have the tools they need to grow and create jobs.”
“I’m extremely grateful for the loan programs through the SBA,” said Costas Mavromichalis, owner of Constantino’s Market.“These critical resources have allowed me to expand my business and achieve the goals that I’ve worked so hard to accomplish.” The Constantino’s Market Story The Mavromichalis family emigrated from Greece to the United States in 1955 when Costas,the present-day owner of Constantino’s Market, was 12 years old. Costas became involved in the grocery business in 1976 when he opened stores on the west side of Cleveland. In 2003, Costas obtained an SBA loan to open a showplace store in downtown Cleveland, on West 9th Street. He later obtained a second SBA loan in February 2010, through the Recovery Act, to expand the store. That store employs 31 workers and has enjoyed a 19 percent increase in sales thanks to the expansion. Seeing the success of the store on West 9th Street, the Mavromichalis family decided to open another market in the University Circle neighborhood, and recently received a third SBA loan to open their new store in March 2012. The new store, which will also be family-run, plans to initially employ 35 people and will increase to 50 within the next year or two. All three SBA loans have been provided to Constantino’s Market by Cleveland-based KeyBank. SBA and Small Businesses In Fiscal Year 2011, the SBA approved nearly $760 million in loans for Ohio small businesses, for a total of 3,228 loans. From Fiscal Years 2009 through 2011, the Northern District of the SBA saw more than a 65 percent increase in the volume of SBA loans to area small businesses.