franchise opportunities, SBA Loans, starting a business


New Franchise Owner Gets A Helping Hand From Stearns Bank


New Franchise Owner Gets A Helping Hand From Stearns Bank

Troy Ather worked in sales and the business world for 31 years.

When he decided to change course to running a small business franchise, he immediately was interested in Jon Smith Subs after reviewing more than 100 options.

Jon Smith Subs has been providing grilled subs in South Florida for more than 28 years and in nine locations. After two months of research, he and his wife, Tina, purchased their first franchise agreement. The Athers have dreams of possibly having five locations one day.



“This was a new opportunity and a ground floor kind of thing,” Troy said. “Nothing had really been established yet. We ate there and came away impressed with the franchise, food, people and potential.”

To help with their franchise financing, the Athers worked with United Franchise Group and Stearns Bank on an SBA loan. Once the Athers started working with Stearns Bank SBA lender Doras Davila, things started to come together. United Franchise Group recommended Stearns Bank as a lender.

Lessons Learned

► Finding a lender that knows your franchise is a key to success

► Have your lender walk you through each step of the SBA loan process

► Find a franchise that best fits your values and dreams

“Doras did a great job. She gave me guidance, structure, assistance and always held us and herself accountable,” Troy said. “She did her job and any company would be proud of the way she handles herself. She was fabulous with follow-ups, conference calls and handholding us through the process. It’s what we needed.”

Having someone walk them through the SBA loan process is what the Athers really appreciated.

“We needed someone who was that trusted advisor. I needed that personal attention,” Troy said. “There are so many moving parts going on when you start a franchise. Franchise financing is a major one and I was glad Doras was there for us.”

Doras has also become a valued customer of Jon Smith Subs. Troy said she routinely stops in to eat with her family.

“I know she’s blown away by the food,” Troy said. “We have real sirloin steak, real chicken breast, we marinate it and we have quality food from top to bottom. People are really serious about their subs in Florida. I kind of knew it before, but I know it now. If you come here, you’ve never tasted a sub like this before.”


Topics: franchise opportunities SBA Loans starting a business

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