SBA 504 Loan Program Helps Growing Franchise Expand Florida Footprint

In 1984, Craig and Lea Culver, along with Craig’s parents George and Ruth, opened the first Culver’s fast casual restaurant in the family’s hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin. Known for their trademark ButterBurgers and frozen custard, six years later the Culver’s opened their first successful franchise in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and business quickly doubled.

Culver’s Expansion Has Hit Full Force in FloridaSoon after, the increased recognition that the second store earned this small-town chain prompted expansion into the Madison and Milwaukee areas. Today, there are more than 500 Culver’s locations across 22 states and growing, including an aggressive expansion campaign into Florida.

Culver’s expansion has hit full force in the Sunshine State and the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program administered by Florida First Capital has been the major source of funding for 8 of the new ground-up construction locations in Central and Southwest Florida totaling over $24,500,000 in SBA 504 financing to date.

“Franchises are a large and growing segment of small businesses in Florida and the SBA 504 Loan Program provides an excellent path for obtaining the necessary capital that ensures the success of these projects,” said Scott Radway, Florida First Capital Vice President and Business Development Officer for the Tampa Bay Area and Southwest Florida.

Culver’s has been able to maximize efficiency by designing their franchise program to work around three basic store designs — small, medium and large. Although there are variations among the models, the costs for each category remain constant thereby allowing each individual franchisee to anticipate start-up costs much more accurately. These efficiencies combined with the 504 loan program’s low down payment and long-term, below-market fixed interest rates create an ideal environment for success.

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