November 2017
Borrower Profile
SBA 504 Loan Helps Promote Local Seafood Farming in St. Augustine

The farm to table concept – acquiring local foods through direct acquisition from the producer – is becoming increasingly common in the world of gastronomy today.  But, “sea” farm to table and within the same location?  That’s innovation according to Mike Sullivan, owner and operator of the Commander Shellfish Camp in St. Augustine.

The Commander Shellfish Camp in St. Augustine FloridaSullivan has been farming shell fish for over 25 years. His idea for a restaurant was to make it a showcase featuring clams and oysters that are grown onsite.  The process takes 18 months from start to harvest and every step is carefully supervised to ensure the best dining experience for his patrons.

In order to make his dream a reality, Sullivan first purchased a property in 2014.  Once off the ground, he then sought the expertise of Florida First Capital to expand the operation by financing the construction of two new buildings using the SBA 504 Loan Program.

One building serves as a hatchery and nursery for rearing shellfish seedlings and the other as more of a retail/wholesale operation with a raw bar where the processing and packing of the clams and oysters takes place.  The total project cost of $700,000 also included refinancing $200,000 of previous debt.

“This is a perfect example of dual benefits of an SBA 504 loan to help with both refinance and expansion capital,” said Kristen Tackett, Florida First Capital Vice President and Business Development Officer for Northeast Florida.  “The concrete benefits of this program helped Mr. Sullivan create a truly innovative niche for his small business.”

For more information about SBA 504 loans in Florida, South Alabama or South Georgia, contact a Florida First Capital Loan Officer or email us at  Phone: 850.681.3601 or toll-free at 888.320.5504.