Juan Carlos and Viviana Ramirez, owners of Eclectic 79 Home Furniture Store in Dalton, first learned about ACE when they needed a small business loan to purchase inventory in January 2020. Furniture sales were going well until the pandemic hit in March and traffic in the store came to a standstill. They became very concerned because the store was the livelihood for their whole family as well as supporting other employees. ACE was able to immediately offer payment deferrals to help relieve the pressure and their ACE SBA microloan was eligible for the CARES ACT payments from April through September. This fast action was much appreciated since they were denied their SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan due to an administrative issue.
Temporarily forced to close the store, they had to find a way to redirect their business. Fortunately, the couple was already fully engaged in building a stronger business community in Dalton, had a great website and social media presence. They were able to increase their website sales by providing specials and quotes online, as well as making private appointments in store as needed.
Juan Carlos and Viviana are part of an ACE group called “Empresarios in NW GA” (Hispanic Entrepreneurs of NW GA) which offers business advisory services in addition to capital to small business owners in the area to help them be successful. In September, about 25 local entrepreneurs joined the Ramirez family for a networking event. ACE loan officer, Zab Mendez, was there to connect and guide them to helpful resources.
The store is open again and sales have begun to pick up nicely. They are still showing increased sales from website traffic and look forward to building revenue.