I concur with Ms. James. The appeal means that the case will go before a different judge, to be tried de novo (anew), as though you had never had it heard by the small claims judge. You will need to prepare your case again to prove it and hopefully get a judgment again.
Unlike small claims, in the new trial, you may have an attorney present if you like. You may also get advice from an attorney in advance how to present the case, even if you appear as your own representative.
Assuming defendant appeals and the case is reheard, it will be reheard in Superior Court which means you can have an attorney represent you. Consider the comments of the Small Claims court in decision in your favor as well as the dollar value to help decide if you want to retain an attorney. You will need to prepare the case again and this time, you may be arguing against an attorney that the defendant has hired. Try to determine if the defendant is hiring an attorney.
This answer is not intended nor shall it be deemed to be the rendering of legal advice. The answer is given based on the information provided which is insufficient to give meaningful advice. You should seek legal counsel in your state. Be aware, statutes of limitations / repose may be running and you should timely protect your legal rights. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Thank you.
One important point is that lawyers can represent litigants on small claims appeal. If you hire a lawyer, and win the appeal, you MIGHT be able to claim reasonable attorneys fees (if there is such a clause in the contract). But even this is subject to the judge's discretion. Lawyers or not, the court might handle it basically like a small claims case with the parties doing most of the talking.
Responses to Avvo questions are based on a general discussion of the law and in no way constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created, and you should not take or fail to take actions based on my answers. Consult an attorney in your area. Time is often of the essence. Act quickly!