Elite Dental’s StoryRachel Matson
As COVID-19 cases surged, Juliana Bermudez was among the millions of small business owners that had to close operations, risking everything she worked so hard to accomplish since her arrival in the United States. Originally from Colombia, Bermudez moved to California to finish her dental studies at Loma Linda University, graduating with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2008. A few years later, she moved to Florida to jumpstart her career and eventually started her practice at Elite Dental in 2010. Bermudez had a turning point when she became the dental clinic’s official owner in 2016, which allowed her to broaden the facility’s general and cosmetic dentistry services, focusing especially on seniors and children. Her brother Camilo began working in the business and together they grew Elite Dental from a small practice to a successful, full-service dental office that takes pride in serving the community. As the virus spread, Bermudez had to shut down the dental office for operations.
Desperately searching for ways to navigate these uncharted waters, Bermudez contacted Prospera. The organization guided her through the strenuous application processes for government relief programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and PPP. She was also awarded business plan and branding grants to bolster the business.
During the first months of the pandemic, Elite Dental retained most of its employees and implemented a set of strategies to restructure the business and meet the demands of a new normal. They shifted their efforts to provide a safe environment for customers through rigorous safety procedures, which included acquiring personal protective and sanitation equipment as well as reducing the number of patient appointments.
Additionally, the business went through a rebranding process and created new promotional materials to inform clients about their preventive measures and announce their reopening. With a new business plan and image, combined with Juliana and Camilo’s resilience, Elite Dental has been able to reestablish its mission and continue growing. As of February 2021, the company’s sales have returned to pre COVID-19 levels, and they have been able to hire more staff to keep up with the demand.
To connect with Prospera, visit https://prosperausa.org/