Joseph Malbrough’s UPS store in Cobb County was considered an essential business when most others were forced to close during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with most people sheltering in place, the daily traffic through the store dropped significantly.

“We had to cut our hours because business had fallen off,” Malbrough said.

He applied for loans available to businesses through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but after almost a month hadn’t heard back.

That’s when he called UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant Antonio Barrios.

“He was able to help me walk through the process and reach out to the SBA (federal Small Business Administration) to get an update as to whether or not they had my loan package, where it was in the process and what to expect,” Malbrough said. “The funds helped me stabilize and I was able to work with my landlord to get a deferment during that time as well.”

He’s been able to stay open and keep his seven employees on payroll.

“Under the uncertainty created by COVID-19, it was important to get that additional working capital to help him stay steady in this economy,” said Barrios, who works out of the UGA SBDC office located at Kennesaw State University. “He was able to remain open, but the ups and downs due to the crisis still affected his business. The federal funding provided additional support for him and his employees.”

Malbrough first met Barrios and became acquainted with the UGA SBDC eight years ago, when he decided to move his UPS store to a location with more traffic. Barrios helped him secure a loan for a new site on the busy Cobb Parkway in Smyrna.

Active in the community, Malbrough had heard about the UGA SBDC during a Cobb County Chamber of Commerce event. Since then, he has arranged for SBDC consultants to speak at events held by the Smyrna Business Association, where he has been a board member for seven years. He was recently recognized as Ambassador of the Year by the Cobb Chamber.

“They’re a good resource to have and definitely a resource I encourage people to utilize,” Malbrough said. “The assistance from the SBDC and the funds from the (CARES Act) were simply a great bridge that helped me in a time of need.”


WRITER

Émilie GillePSO Public Relations Coordinator

emilie.gille@uga.edu • 678-997-7542

CONTACT

Antonio Barrios SBDC Consultant

abarrios@georgiasbdc.org • 470-578-6450