2860 PEACHTREE INDUSTRIAL BLVD., STE. 1000
DULUTH, GA 30097
TELEPHONE: 770-813-9895 x 202
CONTACT: ARTHUR SALUS, OWNER
APPROXIMATE LOAN AMT: $400,000
FIRST MORTGAGE LENDER: Gwinnett County Bank
TYPE OF BUSINESS:
Duluth Travel is a full-service travel agency providing business, leisure, government and incentive travel services. Over the past few years, Duluth Travel has emerged as a key contractor for travel service both for the military and other government agencies. Currently, Duluth Travel provides an estimated 20% of travel for the United States Air Marshall Program. Other government clients include the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Duluth Travel agents provide specialized and individual corporate travel as well as group and incentive trips with a focus on strong customer relations.
CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES TO BE SOLVED WITH SBA 504 LOAN:
Founded in 1993, Duluth Travel has steadily grown its business despite major challenges to the travel marketplace including shrinking revenue as the airline industry reduced commissions to agents as well as the impact of the Internet as travelers have become increasingly savvy at booking their own travel.
Having tapped the Government travel market successfully some three years ago, Duluth Travel needed additional operating space for its 13 employees. Salus wanted to purchase property and said that location was paramount to the deal. Salus sought a location with strong retail potential and good visibility.
"This deal was all about location, location, location," Salus explained. "The SBA loan allowed me to look at property and secure one in the best location possible."
ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITH THIS SBA 504 LOAN:
The SBA 504 loan through GCDC allowed Salus to relocate his company from its much smaller original space (1,993 sq. ft.) to a 4500-square foot retail space with frontage on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, a well-populated area of north Metro Atlanta.
The move to new space and the business's subsequent growth has also made way for a partnership with American Express Travel (one of only three such retail relationships in the Metro Atlanta area). The association with the American Express brand is extremely important to Salus and Duluth Travel moving forward as a successful company.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle named Duluth Travel the seventh top travel company in Atlanta.
IMPRESSIONS OF GCDC & THE SBA 504 LOAN:
Salus noted that he was aware of many business owners' skepticism at working with SBA to secure funding for expansion. "Most people have the perception that the paperwork with an SBA loan is going to be long, involved and troublesome. It's no different than working with a traditional or local bank. It was a very easy process for us. We provided GCDC with the documentation they requested and everything went very smoothly."
IMPORTANCE OF SBA 504 TO BUSINESS PLAN:
According to Salus, the SBA 504 Loan has been paramount to the expansion and success of his business today.
Salus would certainly consider another SBA loan in the future. This is actually his second SBA loan. The first one he secured several years ago.
IMPORTANCE OF SBA PROGRAM & RECOMMENDING IT:
Salus would absolutely recommend GCDC and the SBA 504 Loan program to other small business owners.