Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, visited Arlington Mayor Jim Ross and toured Arlington-based Paragon Furniture on Friday as part of a visit to talk about economic recovery in the north Texas region.
During her multi-city tour, Administrator Guzman highlighted the economic impact of the SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program and the American Rescue Plan, met with small business owners who utilized various SBA programs to help with their economic recovery, and discussed their continuing needs during recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Friday’s visit was Guzman’s first to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region.
Guzman said that making products in America, as Texas-based Paragon Furniture does, fuels the country’s economic recovery. The business, which manufactures K-12 educational furniture in an East Randol Mill Road facility near Globe Life Field, continues to grow after pivoting and recovering with help from a Paycheck Protection Program Loan, COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and an SBA export loan.
“The SBA has been able to help so many small businesses. It has been exciting to visit some of them, including Paragon who has really leveraged all of SBA’s traditional lending products as well as Covid relief,” Guzman said. “The SBA has invested $34 billion in Covid relief in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, really demonstrating the strength of these communities and the ability to be resilient during this time.”
CEO Ricky Kassanoff said the SBA assistance was vital when many of their school clients slowed down their furniture orders as students were temporarily shifted to virtual learning during the pandemic.
“We have purchased equipment, we have built up a team, and the SBA has been there all along to help us to build the business,” Kassanoff said. “Growth requires the financial stability to do it. The SBA has been great for us, the perfect fit.”
In Tarrant County, 2,920 businesses received a combined $23,309,136 in funding as part of the Small Business Covid-19 Relief Program. Of those, 1,055 Arlington small businesses received a combined $8,171,800 in relief funding.
“Arlington—a lot of people think we are all about the big business because we are home to the Cowboys, the Rangers, Six Flags and the huge Entertainment District. But our backbone is small businesses,” Ross said. “Our small businesses could not have survived—could not have thrived—without support of the SBA and our federal partners.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Thank you to the City of Arlington for sharing this with us!