Dana Maloney, was referred to the SBDC in 2017 by her middle son, Dylan Maloney who was starting a business and had requested assistance from the SBDC. At the time, the client and her husband resided in North Carolina, but plan to move to Fairhope to be closer to their sons and grandchildren. Jim was an employee of Microsoft and Dana had started a business renting out their home on AirBnB. They decided to purchase a bed and breakfast in Fairhope and identified an approximately 12,000 square feet building, in need of substantial repair, overlooking Mobile Bay. The asking price for the building was nearly $2 million, but the client was able to purchase it for substantially less.
Dana requested assistance with writing a business plan and securing capital. Mel Washington has worked closely with the client for the past 5 years, and he continues to meet with her quarterly. He helped her complete her initial business plan and counsels her plans and strategies as she updates the plan regularly. He played a significant role in Dana’s decision to establish a ROBS Program to fund the business, and in assisting her in securing PPP and EIDL funding. Mel was also instrumental in Dana’s decision to investment more in marketing in order to grow the business. They meet regularly to review the Profit & Loss and Cash Flow Statements, discuss staffing, marketing, and other operational issues. His guidance has helped Dana better manage the growth of the business, a jewel overlooking the Mobile Bay. Dana gives back to the community in many ways. She often hosts events for artists, writers, and yoga enthusiasts, as well as display their work in the suites. She also give her guest free gift certificates to spend at local businesses, plus her ads often feature downtown Fairhope, Alabama.
Because of Dana’s energy, professionalism, dedication, and commitment to the Fairhope community, Jubilee Suites has become a nationally recognized place of destination in South Alabama.
Dana’s description of her experience with the Alabama SBDC:
“Our middle son, Dylan Maloney, was a client of Mell Washington, SBDC Mobile Alabama. He introduced us to Mel Washington while we were still living in Charlotte, NC. I worked with investment bankers in Charlotte, and I was happy to find Mel, a real “Wall Street Banker” in Mobile Alabama!
As a female growing up in the 70’s I was really excited about the new opportunities available to women entrepreneurs. We gained the right to vote 100 years ago but it’s taken us a long time to navigate equal opportunities in the workplace and the financial world.
I had never worked with the SBDC before, and I needed all the help I could get to navigate the purchase of our property for Jubilee Suites and setting up our business. In my case, our family and friends were mostly against setting up this business when it’s time for us to retire.
Time and time again, I hit “walls “that stopped me in my tracks. Cash flow and financing are the toughest things for me. Mel helped me get the “miracle money” of ROBS financing and PPP / EIDL when Covid hit. If it wasn’t for money from both of those, I wouldn’t be in business today.
Mel Washington listened to my plans and helped me navigate what was possible. At least 5 times I hit a wall that I thought I couldn’t navigate around. I have to say finding money for financing, repairs and operations has been much harder than I expected. The bank mortgage was almost impossible because our home has 7 apartments, the home equity line, the second “wall”, almost didn’t happen either.
I hit a the third “financial wall” when my husband retired from Microsoft a year after we moved here. Without his income, ROBS financing seemed to be my only option. I didn’t want to use the big firms of Guidant Financial or Benetrends for ROBS financing. My team of advisors here in Fairhope led me to execute $600K ROBS financing from my retirement plan and later also set up a new 401K profit-sharing plan for my employees.
The fourth “financial wall” I hit was COVID. Just as I finished repairs and setting ourselves up for success – the world stopped. Business fell just as it was picking up steam.
If COVID weren’t enough, I hit my 5th “wall” navigating the PPP and EIDL loans because I had closed my NC company Colectiv LLC and opened a new corporation in Alabama, Maloney Hospitality, with my 401K profit sharing plan (ROBS). Thanks to Mel’s help, I was able to borrow almost $300K EIDL in two tranches and be forgiven for almost $71K PPP. Those loans kept me going when things were dismal.
Financing and cash flow are the biggest challenges for anyone starting a new business. It’s hard to sleep at night when you owe more than a million dollars! Mel Washington has met with me quarterly for the last 5 years and has been invaluable in helping us get through all the unexpected difficulties we’ve encountered. Mel has also helped me with the normal challenges of setting up a lodging business, moving an S Corp here from NC to AL, starting an Alabama corporation and profit-sharing plan.
I know Mel would like for us to cut expenses to improve our profitability while we wait for occupancy to increase. But I believe he’s proud of us for putting people over profits. I know he will support me as I continue to find new ways to develop our business and our amazing staff. I love having a happy “work family.”
Even when we were losing money, Mel Washington convinced us to budget a considerable amount of our projected income on marketing. Mel stresses marketing plus managing and forecasting financials. He says the miracle is in the marketing when growing my business. Maybe the miracle is in Mel because he always encouraged me to keep going and he helped me get the financing I needed to be in business today.
Miracles happen every day – we just have to look for them!