It’s one thing to get approved for one of the Small Business Administration loans that were authorized by the federal coronavirus relief bill, but it can be quite another to actually receive one. The disconnect between the two can be excruciating, as Dan Bavaro — founder and owner of Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria, a chain of Italian restaurants in St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Tampa — has found.
Bavaro applied and was approved for Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding for the eight business entities that are part of his restaurant group. He received payment, via wire transfer, for seven of them — all except the Bavaro’s restaurant in downtown Tampa.
“My bank, Valley National Bank, was searching high and low” for the money, Bavaro tells Coffee Talk. “One way or another, someone typed in the wrong number.”
The SBA’s records, Bavaro says, showed that the $180,000 EIDL payment had been processed. And indeed it had — but instead of going to Bavaro, it went to Norman Silk, a 92-year-old retired lawyer in Clearwater whose daughter, Stephanie Silk Abdo, contacted Bavaro after paying her father’s monthly bills and reviewing his bank statements.
“She called the downtown Tampa restaurant saying her father had received a large sum of money with our business name on it,” Bavaro says. “She’s a regular customer of ours, so I thanked her profusely and am preparing a Bavaro’s ‘care package’ for her.”
Bavaro has not been shy about his company’s struggles during the COVID-19 crisis, but he says Bavaro’s commitment to giving back to the community has not wavered because of the pandemic. In the past, he’s donated to causes like OnBikes.org, which provides bicycles to children in need. Charitable giving, he says, “is part of our business model” and maybe, just maybe, brought some good karma his way.
“I would have never expected anyone to call and own up to” receiving the $180,000, Bavaro says. “They could have just kept it. It shows you that there are good people out there. Honest people for these times.”