Business Briefs


Ameris Bank food drive benefits 10 Northeast Florida food banks

Ameris Bank’s 7th annual company-wide Helping Fight Hunger food drive initiative collected more than 39,500 non-perishable food items locally that were donated to 10 food banks in Northeast Florida.

The Helping Fight Hunger food drive initiative allowed for a food bank in every town with an Ameris Bank location to receive the donation of goods collected at the local Ameris Bank branch. In total, Ameris Bank collectively gathered more than 825,000 food items through the initiative.

In addition, Ameris Bancorp will contribute a monetary donation to each local food bank that received contributions during the food drive. Last year, Ameris Bank collectively donated a total of $100,000 to local food banks.

 “The bank’s Helping Fight Hunger initiative is our opportunity to help eradicate hunger and food insecurity in Northeast Florida and help make a difference for those who need it most,” Market President Kendall Spencer said. “We are committed to helping local organizations that provide nutritious meals for those in need.”

 According to Feeding America, more than 46 million people in America struggle with hunger, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

 Turning Points in America to produce directory of veteran-owned small businesses

A nonprofit organization is producing a new directory that aims to help small businesses owned by U.S. veterans.

Turning Points in America will produce the first Veterans Small Business Directory that will be made available in both print and online formats. Inclusion in the directory is free to all veteran-owned small businesses, which must also pledge to prioritize the hiring of both U.S. veterans and U.S. citizens.

Veteran business owners may complete their directory registration online at the Turning Points in America website:

Tax-deductible donations to support the directory or Turning Points in America may also be made on the website.

Ponte Vedra Beach among cheapest cities to insure a car

Ponte Vedra Beach is among the most affordable cities in which to insure a car, according to a study by personal finance company ValuePenguin.

According to the study, the average premiums in Ponte Vedra Beach are $2,027, or 18 percent below the Florida state average. Florida is one of the most expensive states for car insurance, with a state average of $2,479. The study also found that drivers in Southern Florida pay up to 90 percent more than North Florida drivers, with drivers in the most expensive city – Hialeah – paying 3.3 times more than residents of Niceville, who pay the lowest premiums.

SBA approves $24 million in disaster recovery loans for Hurricane Matthew damage

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $24 million in low-interest disaster loans for businesses and residents in Florida affected by Hurricane Matthew from Oct. 3-19, 2016. The deadline to file an SBA disaster loan application for physical damage is Dec. 16, 2016. The deadline for economic injury applications is July 17, 2017.

“Currently, 661 disaster loans have been approved in the amount of $24,036,200 for affected survivors,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. “We are pleased to get these loans approved so residents in the disaster area can start to rebuild and resume their normal lives. I encourage anyone who has not submitted an SBA disaster loan application to do so before the deadline.”

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes as well as many private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the hurricane. Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at or download the FEMA mobile app.  If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at (800) 621-3362. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at, or receive assistance at the local Disaster Recovery Center located at the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce offices at 1 News Place, St. Augustine.