Ideas from new places

Did you know that you can find the inspiration to open a small business while eating frozen yogurt at Walt Disney World? For Stacy Kurko, new proprietor of Menchie’s Eisenhower Square..that’s exactly what happened. The Kurko family took a spring break vacation to the “happiest place on earth” and while enjoying the recommendation to visit the Menchie’s for a tasty treat..stumbled on the perfect new venture.

Stacy struck up a conversation with the store’s owner and found out that it was a franchise based out of Los Angeles, California. When they returned from vacation, she went online to find out more about the corporation. Her husband, an architect, loved the circular traffic flow, clean fresh colors pallet and unique architectural features, such as the wavy wall, glass tiled serving wall and usage of the logo in unexpected ways (light fixtures made to look like the swirly cone top). Stacy found the community involvement aspect of the franchise to be very attractive. Menchie’s encourages their stores to give back and help local organizations with fundraising efforts.

A visit to Los Angeles (the home of the self-serve frozen yogurt trend) confirmed their decision that a Menchie’s franchise was the ‘way to go.’ Now, they needed the business plan and access to capital for operating cash, equipment, furniture and fixtures and the franchise fees associated with purchasing the rights to a market area. A chance encounter brought them to Jamie Chisolm at The Heritage Bank who saw the potential in this start-up and directed them to Wendy Jeffers at the Small Business Assistance Corporation to get started on an SBA 7(a) Guaranteed loan application. “Wendy was amazing. Once we submitted the all the paperwork and application to the SBA, we knew there just had to be something else,” stated Stacy. “But, she was so thorough that our application was approved shortly after it was sent. We were stunned, but really excited.” The SBA 7(a) Loan Guaranty program was a strong fit for Menchie’s as it allows the purchase of inventory, construction, machinery & equipment, franchise fees and working capital for businesses.

A few months later, the dream that began at the “happiest place on earth” is open and serving smiles, delicious frozen yogurt and tempting toppings. Stacy continues to look forward planning the opening of a second and third location in the Savannah area. “Just be patient,” she advises. “The vision you have will become a reality. The road there just may have a few more bumps and turns then you anticipated. So definitely, just be patient…it’ll happen.”

You can visit and enjoy a cup of Menchie’s frozen yogurt at Eisenhower Square M-Thu/Sun from 11am – 11pm or Fri/Sat from 11am – 12am.