Army Veteran Keeps Her Atlanta Jimmy John’s Franchise Going Strong with CDFI Support
Client: Felicia Parks, owner of Fourth Village LLC dba as Jimmy John’s
Client Location: Atlanta, GA
CDFI: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)
CDFI Service Area: GA
Financing and technical assistance, with support from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org Grant Program
An Atlanta native, Army veteran, and single mother of two sons, Felicia Parks has owned her Jimmy John’s franchise in Southwest Georgia for nearly six years and has hired more than 75 employees. Despite hitting a stride in her business, however, nothing could have prepared her for the pandemic and resulting shutdown mandates. She applied for SBA EIDL and PPP funding, but the process took longer than expected and forced her to tap into personal and retirement funds to maintain operations. With the help of a $25,000 emergency working capital loan from Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) in April 2020, Felicia was able to withstand a 63 percent decline in sales.
Also receiving support from her sons and franchisor, she began promoting pickup and added DoorDash and a loyalty program to keep the doors open and her team employed. Felicia also utilized ACE’s newest business development tool, Initiate, which is an online platform offered in English and Spanish with more than 100 money, marketing, and management tools, videos, templates, and guides, including COVID-specific support. ACE’s technical support, coupled with initial loan payment deferments followed by six months of earned loan forgiveness, gave her the time and space to recalibrate and stabilize operations.
“The ACE team is amazing. My lender truly saw me and my business needs,” Felicia said. “At the beginning of the pandemic, I was struggling financially and unable to pay some vendors. With the continued support of ACE, I’ve been able to get back to my passion of serving the community and supporting youth – particularly those of color – with jobs as they build life skills.”