Make us your home page

Pasco online retailer receives state 'economic gardening' loan

ODESSA — An online retail corporation that sells everything from Autoharps to tomato milling machines has received a $250,000 Economic Gardening Loan administered by the Black Business Investment Fund for the state.

Web Direct Brands Inc. will use the money to increase manufacturing capacity and expand its marketing and IT departments. The company plans to hire skilled manufacturing personnel, technical writers, graphic designers, programmers, and IT support.

"Having the right tools and the proper financial support is of critical importance as we take the big leap toward the next stage of our growth," company president and chief executive officer Anthony Gaeto said in a news release. "Without doubt, this low-interest loan will help us rev up the economic motor of our company, create full-time positions, and give us an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community."

The company began in 2002 in Gaeto's garage. Web Direct Brands owns and operates a growing number of online "e-tailers." These Web sites all operate independently of each other, but are governed by the same customer support.

The company employs about 30 people and is now the world's largest Autoharp dealer, said vice president Matt Raab. It also sells gate openers and youth chairs and tomato milling machines.

The state Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development created the "economic gardening" loans in 2009 to help existing businesses grow. Web Direct Brands first learned about the loan program through the Pasco Economic Development Council, which hosted a conference on it November.

"Small, innovative and entrepreneurial companies like Web Direct Brands are the backbone of our economy," said Denise Sanderson, the EDC's business retention and expansion manager. "We're excited about the opportunities Web Direct Brands has before them and look forward to continuing to assist the company as they grow in Pasco County."

For information about the program or to receive an application, contact Sanderson at or call (813) 920-6480.

Pasco online retailer receives state 'economic gardening' loan 02/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  2. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.
  3. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers, thousands of concealed weapons holders


    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson …

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  4. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?


    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary


    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]