Soho South Cafe

(912) 233-1633

Bonnie Retsas purchased a fledgling restaurant in the fall of 1997 with the high hopes of turning it around into an establishment that boasted a list of regular and repeat clientele. Thus was the transformation of a “soda shop” into Soho South Café. Located in the heart of the downtown Savannah historic district, Soho South Café is both a restaurant and a local art gallery where artists display their work in and among the facility’s set up. The art provides an ambience and atmosphere that no other Savannah restaurant can match. That, and the food is terrific – chocolate lovers need to check out the brownie sundae!

Bonnie was faced with a momentous decision in the winter of 2002. She wanted to expand her business operation to include catering and Sunday brunches in addition to the lunch hours she currently offered. In researching these possibilities, Bonnie learned that it would be more cost effective to purchase the building she operated in than to pay the increase in rent that the additional operating hours would cost her. As such, Bonnie began her quest to find financing for the purchase of the building.

Bonnie contacted Darby Bank & Trust with her request for financing. Darby Bank & Trust involved SBAC as the bank would only finance the real estate acquisition as an SBA 504 loan. The working capital that Bonnie needed for the expansion would be provided by Darby Bank if they could obtain an SBAC Guaranty. Bonnie worked with the local SBDC office to prepare an expansion plan and accompanying projections. When the plan and projections were complete and the bank commitments were in place, Bonnie’s 504 loan was submitted to the SBA for review and the guaranty request processed through SBAC. The loans were approved and closed shortly thereafter – much to Bonnie’s delight.

As you walk around the historic district appreciating the architecture and history of Savannah, stop by Soho South Café and partake of a chocolate brownie sundae and peruse the different painting, sculptures, and photographs – art – of Savannah while you’re there. Bonnie will love to see you!