SBA loan volume, approvals increase

The U.S. Small Business Administration Louisiana District Office approved $328 million in loans to 497 small businesses during fiscal year 2018, a 69 percent dollar increase and 28 percent jump in loans over the same period last year.

"Our increase in lending this year is in large part due to our lending partners’ dedication to lending to the small business community," said District Director Michael Ricks.

The Louisiana District office also added two lenders to the program during the fiscal year in an effort to increase loan amounts across the state.

SBA information and resources are at www.sba.gov. For assistance, contact the Louisiana District Office at (504) 589-6685 or www.sba.gov/la.

Piccadilly opens 'To Go' restaurant

A Piccadilly To Go location has opened at 216 Lee Drive in Baton Rouge as the Baton Rouge-based cafeteria chain responds to consumer trends with plans for more stores in 2019.

The 1,320-square-foot location offers online, call-in, drive-thru window and walk-in orders for Piccadilly To Go meals prepared on-site and served behind a traditional serving counter.

Throughout all the company’s locations, to-go orders represent about a third of sales. Based on sales since the first Piccadilly To Go store opened earlier this year in Cordova, Tennessee, and in anticipation of success in Baton Rouge, the company plans to open more Piccadilly To Go stores in 2019.

Piccadilly To Go is open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. The Baton Rouge location also delivers through the Waitr mobile app and Uber Eats. Online orders can be placed on the piccadilly.com website, or customers may call in orders at (225) 330-6849.

Founded in 1944, Piccadilly Restaurants has 41 locations in seven states throughout the Southeast, along with customized meal service for clients in a variety of industries, including schools, senior centers, and business and medical parks. In addition, Piccadilly Emergency Services provides meals in disaster situations.

Spanish-language resources showcased

The League of United Latin American Citizens National Convention and Cox Communications recently announced the expansion of the Cox Digital Academy to include free Spanish-language resources that will now be showcased by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana to broaden opportunities for the Hispanic population through technology.

Cox Digital Academy offers online resources for parents, students and educators seeking to improve their digital skills.

The Hispanic Chamber of Louisiana will use Cox’s Spanish-language Digital Academy in its resource center and promote the online tool with its partners across the state, said Mayra Pineda, president and CEO of the organization.

“This partnership will enable the Hispanic community throughout the state of Louisiana to gain access to more opportunities, increase performance in schools, cultivate and improve skills vital to developing careers, and broaden and advance overall digital knowledge,” she said.

Farm profitability workshop scheduled

A workshop on farm profitability will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Cade Farm, 1234 W.J. Bernard Road, in St. Martinville.

The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program are holding the event, sponsored by the SARE program along with the AgCenter Grow Louisiana Beginning Farmer Training Program.

“This daylong workshop will help both producers and those who serve them learn how to increase farm profits through recordkeeping,” said Louisiana SARE program assistant Sydney Melhado. “Participants will learn to identify where funds may be wasted on the farm and where some inputs could be more effective.”

Farmer and business consultant Ellen Polishuk will lead the workshop. She is a first-generation sustainable vegetable farmer with a degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech. Her company, Plant to Profit, helps both new and experienced farmers find and address the factors limiting their success. Polishuk recently retired from 25 years of farming at Potomac Vegetable Farms in northern Virginia, where she grew produce for two roadside stands, seven farmers markets and a 550-member community-supported agriculture group.

Registration for the workshop is $10, with preregistration required online at lasarefarmprofits2018.eventbrite.com. The cost of lunch is included in registration.

C.J. Brown Realtors opens Gonzales office

C.J. Brown Realtors has opened an office at 7499 La. 44 in Gonzales in support of the Conway development as its sales broker.

The 2,000-square-foot office is C.J. Brown's fourth office in metro Baton Rouge, joining locations on Airline Highway and Perkins Road in Baton Rouge and in Denham Springs.

Robert Merrick, chief executive officer of Latter & Blum, C.J. Brown’s parent company, has said the location serves as the agency's Ascension Parish office. About 15 to 20 agents will work out of the office.

Scotlandville grant supports financial seminars

The Scotlandville Community Development Corp. has been awarded $16,000 for educational and financial seminars.

Scotlandville CDC is a volunteer-based organization that provides financial training and resources to low- to moderate-income families and individuals in Baton Rouge.

The funds from the Partnership Grant Program were announced by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and member bank Hancock Whitney Bank. The grant program structure allows member institutions like Hancock Whitney to make a contribution of $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization, which Federal Home Loan Bank Dallas matches at a 3:1 ratio.

Verizon-authorized TCC store opens in BR

Round Room LLC, the nation’s largest Verizon-authorized wireless retailer, has opened a TCC store at 18143 Perkins East, Suite C, in Baton Rouge.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (225) 800-9080 and website is www.tccrocks.com.

Lane, Mary Bird offer infusion therapy

Lane Regional Medical Center and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center are offering infusion therapy services at Lane Cancer Center, 6180 Main St., in Zachary.

The two organizations announced a new partnership in September to provide enhanced medical oncology care to Zachary-area cancer patients.

The phone number is (225) 658-4400 and website is lanermc.org/cancer.

Outlook event set for DBE contractors

An outlook for business opportunities in 2019 is being held for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contractors from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 7 at the Urban League of Louisiana, 4640 S. Carrollton Ave., Suite 110, in New Orleans.

The event is being sponsored by the Urban League's Contractor's Resource Center and will feature updates on current opportunities and upcoming bids from procurement officers and prime contractors. Other programs and resources that support capacity-building and profitability for the contracting community also will be featured.

Among the participants are city of New Orleans' Office of Supplier Diversity, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, Veterans Administration, Broadmoor LLC, Landis Construction, Woodward Design + Build, and Hernandez Consulting and Construction.

The event is free and to all DBE firms, but space is limited. Register at www.eventbrite.com/o/urban-league-of-louisiana-contractors-resource-center-17727097090.

Training program expands for SNAP recipients 

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and United Way of Southeast Louisiana are partnering to help expand workforce training programs to recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in seven parishes in Southeast Louisiana.

Under the agreement, the United Way agency will coordinate its members' efforts to provide workforce training through the SNAP Employment and Training program. The program is designed to help low-income, under-skilled residents receiving SNAP benefits return to the workforce and helps underemployed individuals obtain additional skills to advance in their careers.

The United Way agency will facilitate the reimbursement of eligible program expenses for nonprofit organizations providing job search assistance, job search training, education and vocational training services for SNAP recipients in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. Providers are eligible for federal reimbursement for SNAP-recipient expenses related to transportation, dependent care and supportive services, such as clothing, uniforms, equipment, emergency temporary housing assistance, books, supplies and tools. The amount and percentage of reimbursements vary based on the program and the types of expenditures.

"The United Way of Southeast Louisiana and its partner agencies have an excellent track record delivering services that improve the well-being of Louisiana families," DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters said. "We see this partnership as a great opportunity to expand the SNAP E&T program statewide and to present Louisiana's SNAP recipients with more opportunities for a brighter future."