Lake City, FL (May 20, 2022) – Ellianos Coffee, the southeastern-based drive-thru coffee shop franchise, has announced a new partnership with First Federal Bank, securing $25 million dollars in funding for franchisees. The new partnership will allow franchisees to streamline the lending process to confidently and quickly attain their business loans, allowing their stores to become operational as soon as possible.

Ellianos Coffee is experiencing accelerated growth throughout the southeast, with twenty-two stores currently open and over sixty stores in some stage of development. The new partnership with First Federal Bank comes at a pivotal moment in the franchise’s history and will mean even more expedient growth and franchisee satisfaction.

First Federal Bank is a community-based bank founded in 1962 in Lake City, Florida, the same hometown as the coffee franchise. First Federal Bank has grown from four employees in 1962 to over 800 employees in 2022 and offers a complete line of business financial solutions, services, and loans. With SBA and USDA lending offices throughout Florida and in multiple states, First Federal Bank is optimally positioned to work with new and existing Ellianos franchisees.

Gigi Register, First Federal Bank’s Senior VP, pictured with Ellianos Coffee cup outside of First Federal’s John S. Flood Financial Center in Lake City, FL.

Offering two different types of loans for franchisees, skilled loan officers at First Federal Bank will carefully evaluate the needs of each Ellianos franchisee to provide them with the best lending option to suit their business goals.

The first lending option First Federal Bank offers franchisees is the Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan. This option includes terms up to 15 years, requires less personal liquidity, and requires a 10% minimum cash down at closing, among other qualifications.

The second lending option available for Ellianos franchisees through First Federal is a traditional Commercial Loan, which includes terms up to 10 years. The franchisee needs higher personal liquidity, a higher minimum credit score, and a larger down payment at closing, in addition to a few other requirements. In comparison to SBA financing, this option has lower closing costs.

In a recent interview, Rob Hughes, CGGL Division President of First Federal Bank, commented on the partnership stating, “Lending to people opening small businesses is helping them fulfill the American dream.” He went on to state, “Being able to offer flexible programs ensures we can meet the needs of all Ellianos’ franchisees whether they are in startup mode or expanding their existing businesses.”

First Federal Bank stands by its core values to be community-oriented, focus on customer service, provide financial stability, and be trustworthy. These values support its mission and vision, shape its culture, and provide a foundation for its future.

Ellianos Coffee President, Scott Stewart, spoke on the partnership, stating, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with First Federal Bank. Every member of their team is truly committed to their core values and ready to help our franchisees accomplish their business goals. We’re looking forward to seeing our new and existing franchisees succeed as a result of this key relationship.”

The coffee industry proved to be recession-proof throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to grow annually by 4.32%. Because of its distinctive double-sided drive-thru-only model, Ellianos Coffee experienced record-breaking sales throughout 2020 in the heart of the pandemic, perfectly poised to accommodate the unique conditions. Since the pandemic, the demand for drive-thru service has, in part, catapulted Ellianos into an unprecedented growth stage. First Federal Bank’s lending program will ensure franchisees can take full advantage of the current booming coffee industry climate as quickly as possible and transform their stores from a dream to a reality.

About First Federal Bank 

First Federal Bank is a community-based mutual savings bank offering consumer and commercial banking solutions, services, and loans through banking offices in Florida’s Panhandle, North Central and East Florida, and coastal South Carolina. Mortgage, SBA, and USDA customers are served through lending offices across the Southeast and Midwest. First Federal is headquartered in Lake City, Florida, with assets totaling over $3 billion.

First Federal has received a “5-Star, Superior” financial rating from BauerFinancial, Inc., of Coral Gables, Fla., for more than two decades and was recognized by Newsweek as “Best Small Bank in Florida” in 2020. For more information, visit

About Ellianos Coffee

Ellianos was founded in 2002 with the mission to serve ‘Italian Quality at America’s Pace.’ Founders Scott and Pam Stewart have continued their dedicated work of expanding the franchise while making everyone feel like part of the family. The franchise is experiencing exponential growth but remains true to its core values and mission. There are currently 22 operating store locations, with over sixty more locations in some stage of development.

In 2022, the Franchise Business Review (FBR) named Ellianos a Top Franchise, following its 2021 recognition as a Top Food Franchise. Entrepreneur Magazine also named Ellianos on its Top Food Franchise list in 2021. If you would like to learn more about Ellianos Coffee franchising opportunities, please visit

Scott Stewart

About Scott Stewart

Scott Stewart has over thirty-five years of business experience, including expertise in franchising and business development, construction management, leasing and lease negotiations, and land development. Scott and his wife Pam founded Ellianos in 2002, with the mission to serve Italian Quality at America’s Pace® and have been on the journey to expand the brand ever since. Scott also holds various other business roles, including Developer and President of The Preserve – a premier residential neighborhood – and commercial real estate specialist at Rockford Realty Group. Scott has created and managed several projects, including planning and developing shopping centers, hotel and restaurant sites, retail business parks, warehouses, and residential developments. Furthermore, Scott is a Little Caesars Pizza franchisee, opening twenty-three stores, and has won several awards, including Best New Franchisee of the Year, Highest Opening Sales, and Outstanding Marketing Award. While he is an ardent businessman, Scott is also committed to giving back to the communities he is a part of and beyond. He finds joy and fulfillment in helping to meet the needs of others. On the weekends, Scott can be found building tables, his favorite pastime, and has become known for his generosity for his table give-a-ways. Scott enjoys teaching his grandchildren and others, exposing them to the joys of table building. Scott genuinely enjoys hard work, values time spent traveling with his wife and family, or even playing a competitive card game with his mom and dad.

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