Return to Backbone of the Economy
Legendary Service was an unexpected cherry on top of this much-needed loan.
Misha Kuryla knows a thing or two about baking up something sweet.
But the Miami-based businesswoman, TD small business client and founder of Misha's Cupcakes is putting something extra special into her culinary delights these days.
When COVID-19 hit Florida, her best friend and Chief of Surgery at nearby Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital warned that the next couple of months "were going to be rough."
With the pandemic coming, this medical professional was ready to step up both physically and mentally to help others and was prepared to be "stretched to the limit."
Misha wanted to help the best way she knew how – with cupcakes. Misha started a Healthcare Heroes donation page, still ongoing, and matches the amount donated, then uses the funds to make and bring cupcakes to local hospitals and organizations for employees on the frontlines saving countless lives.
They are a sign that Misha, her team and the community are beyond grateful for those dedicated healthcare workers.
So far, she's donated $6,000 worth of cupcakes in the past couple months. Considering these cupcakes cost $1.50 each, that's a lot of tasty treats.
But while Misha is busy trying to help others, who is helping her during a government-mandated shutdown? Like so many other small businesses across the country, Misha had to close most of her stores and furlough the majority of her employees for their well-being.
"When COVID-19 hit, we had 75 people working across eight stores to now, there's just five of us and we've closed seven stores … with only a handful of us delivering," she said.
Misha's been hit hard by the pandemic, but she's just as concerned for the financial stability of her employees as she is for the business she's built that used to sell upwards of 10,000 cupcakes a day.
"It's been traumatic, the majority of our employees are living paycheck to paycheck," she said. "One woman, our first employee from all the way back in 2005, is the only one working in my warehouse right now baking."
This selfless entrepreneur needed a financial boost to keep her afloat, while also helping her employees pay rent and put food on the table. She worked with TD Bank to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act). This loan provides businesses with financial assistance to cover payroll, employee benefits, mortgage interest, utilities, rent and other debt.
Misha applied for a PPP loan on April 6 and was approved the next day.
"Then on Easter Sunday, I went to bed at 10 p.m. after signing the closing documents and woke at 3 a.m. to see if the funds were there, I just had this feeling. And I was like, "Oh wow" – $355,000 in total."
Payroll for Misha's Cupcakes is $140,000 a month, so she hopes this will help her employees and get her business back on its feet next month. Her plan is to open one store at first, once the stay-at-home mandates lift, then open others gradually.
"TD has been the bright spot of this whole thing," she said. "This saved my business. This loan lets me continue to do what I love."
For her PPP loan, Misha worked with Business Relationship Manager Oscar Alvarez. His consistent level of strong customer service and dedication wasn't something she was used to in banking. The two connected a few years back when she was looking for a line of credit.
"I've always banked with Bank of America," she said. "I'm not used to a place like TD. I'm not used to not getting in touch with anybody or really having any customer service. Oscar was on it and very responsive. Any time I had any kind of question, he didn’t make me feel stupid or belittle me at all."
For Oscar, his relationship with Misha goes back long before she was a TD customer.
"I used to be a Misha's Cupcakes customer before she became a TD customer," he said, raving about her red velvet cupcakes. "She was referred to me, because she was having issues with her other bank. I think the value we bring, being a big bank but still having that personalized relationship with customers, is something other big banks lose sight of."
While processing applications well into midnight and 1 a.m. for struggling businesses in his area may seem above and beyond, Oscar is just glad he's able to help where he can.
"We've been working around the clock, but at the end of day, we've got to do this for our customers," he said. "They need us now more than ever."