How A Fitness Franchisee Got A Lift From Stearns Bank

How A Fitness Franchisee Got A Lift From Stearns Bank

Jonathan Moravecs and Carla Palavecino
Virginia Beach, VA
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Jonathan Moravecs and Carla Palavecino of Virginia Beach dreamed of owning a small business.

The Soldierfit fitness franchise seemed like an ideal match for their shared goals and values. When the partners started working with Stearns Bank, that dream became a reality.

After getting a recommendation from the franchise company they were with, Jonathan and Carla were introduced to Stearns Bank.

“This is our first business together and they really took over and held our hand through the SBA financing process,” Carla said. “They walked us through what they needed from us at every step.”

During the SBA financing process, Carla and Jonathan used the Stearns Bank SBA customer portal to upload their documents for review. The portal led to easy understanding on what Stearns Bank needed from them.

The SBA customer portal that Stearns Bank offers makes for a more streamlined communication process between the customer and the lender they’re working with. The customer can see a visual of where they’re at in the financing process and what documents still need to be submitted to complete the loan.

“The SBA customer portal has a checklist and you can upload it easily. You can write notes and keep track of everything in one place. It also gives you a nice chart of where you’re at in the process,” Carla said.

Carla had a previous job with an architectural firm and had to do a lot of real estate work with financial institutions. Looking back on that experience, she was impressed with Stearns Bank.

“Having access to people and documents when you needed them was amazing. The Stearns Bank team has been very good to me,” Carla said. “I’ve worked with a lot of banks before, but Stearns Bank is the best I’ve ever worked with.

“As somebody who understands how businesses work, and understands how loans work, this SBA financing process couldn’t have been smoother. The transparency in communication was amazing.”

Soldierfit opened in early December 2017 and Carla and Jonathan are excited to bring the franchise model to Virginia Beach. The facility is 5,300 square feet with 4,000 square feet of new turf for workouts.

Soldierfit offers one-on-one and semi-private training sessions for specialized workouts. Soldierfit is open seven days a week and offers more than 140 boot camp classes monthly.

“This is something we always wanted to do together,” Carla said. “We believe in Soldierfit’s mission ‘to revitalize the American dream by creating a culture of civic engagement, humility, and unyielding optimism for the future.’

“Because of Stearns Bank, we are not only able to own a business, but create jobs for our community as well as strengthen people emotionally and physically one boot camp at a time!”

Lessons Learned

  • Find a franchise that aligns with your values
  • Do careful research to find the best SBA lender for you
  • Online tools, such as a lender portal, can expedite the financing process