July 29, 2009
The Tile Studio, an authorized dealer of fine American and European art tiles, opened its doors in April of 2003. Since then, owner Frank DiMercurio has turned his fledgling business into the premier source for high quality tiles for retail and wholesale clients from the Monterey Peninsula and beyond. A third generation tile installer with long-term relationships in the tile and construction industries, Mr. DiMercurio leveraged his skills and network of contacts so well that in just six years The Tile Studio had outgrown its 1,200 square foot retail space. With tiles displayed on every surface, and additional tiles kept in storage, it was clear The Tile Studio needed a new home.
In the meantime, the City of Seaside, through its partnership with the National Development Council’s Grow America Fund (GAF), established the Grow Seaside Fund. By making SBA-guaranteed loans, GAF leverages dollars three or four times over to provide loans to small businesses that need capital but may not meet a conventional lender’s requirements. With an initial City investment of $250,000 in 2007, the Grow Seaside Fund was poised to make $1.6 million in loans to healthy growing business in Seaside through GAF’s unique leveraging power.
With The Tile Studio in need of money to fund an expansion and the Grow Seaside Fund ready to provide dollars to Seaside’s small businesses, The Tile Studio and the Grow Seaside Fund were a perfect match. Using money generated by his business, Mr. DiMercurio purchased a 3,400 square foot commercial building with dedicated parking at a prominent Seaside intersection. With money from the Grow Seaside Fund in hand, he plans a renovation of the new space into a showroom to accommodate his entire inventory of tile plus a 800 square foot workspace where architects and designers can work with several tile samples at one time.
As the first recipient of a Grow Seaside Fund loan, The Tile Studio will benefit from the City of Seaside’s commitment to keep its small businesses thriving. The City plans an additional investment in the business with proposed streetscape improvements along the frontage of the new location. The Grow Seaside Fund has plenty of dollars left to lend to its business community and GAF will be there to help make those investments pay off in job creation and economic growth.