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Maria Harrington


Started business in August 2013, has approved SBA Loan for $50,000.00, owner has invested $43,000.00 and has retained 4 employees. Expanding to a larger location.

Maria Harrington and husband, Johnny Walker, opened CASA de ESPAÑOL (CASA) in September 2011 with 25 students and today it has grown to over 350. This along with their goal to make CASA a center for culture, as well as language, has made its current location on J Street much too small for its growing student population. Realizing the need for working capital to be able to make a smoother transition to their new location on 11th and R Street, they turned to the SBDC to seek counseling for a small business loan in January 2015. It was Panda Morgan’s advice and step by step support that lead to a small SBA working capital loan for $50,000.

At the new site, CASA will triple its size to 3900sf and be able to offer three of its part-time employees full-time staff positions. It will also be able to increase the number of classes offered, provide a larger Spanish immersion after-school and summer program for kids, expand its travel program for adults, and continue to grow its community outreach programs. Additionally, the larger space will allow CASA to host a multitude of events, such as Floricanto, a multicultural festival which celebrates the myriad of literary, culinary, and fine and performing arts found throughout Latin America and Spain. Maria and Johnny are very excited to be able to add to the diversity in R Street’s art and cultural scene. CASA is just the latest of a number of businesses to announce plans for this flourishing neighborhood. They’re expecting to move in early June 2015.

The SBDC folks share this enthusiasm. They navigate you through the maze of regulations, educate you on the skills necessary to be an entrepreneur, and connect you to well qualified professionals that give you the details necessary to expedite your decision making. Of course, this means they won’t (and shouldn’t) do the work for you, but they narrow down the choices that best match your goals.