The success stories below represent a small fraction of the clients we work with. We have, however, tried to present a representative sample across a broad range of business types.
By Randy Wells, IUP Magazine, Summer 2012 issue.This article highlights four local businesses who received assistance from the IUP SBDC:Cherryhill Manufacturing, Plant-It Earth,Environmental Service Laboratories, andLingrow Farm. Read about their successes and future plans.
Founded with the help of the SBDC in 1999, the company has returned to the SBDC for assistance twice; once when ownership transitioned to a new ownership group and a second time for expansion. Each time, the SBDC delivered a business plan that helped provide a foundation for funding and growth.
Necessity and passion also led to the development of Cessna Motorsports, which builds out racing chassis for dirt tracks, sells racing after-market parts, and services race cars.
The founders developed a breakthrough concept for floor sanding. The SBDC helped them through the prototype development and refinement process and then through the initial commercialization of the product. The company has added a number of product lines and built a headquarters building.
With years of experience working with and selling supplies to the operators of stone quarry and coal mining business, Casey Heckman was familiar with the operating costs and the opportunities available in these industries. One opportunity he wanted to pursue was in providing drilling services to the operators of stone quarries and surface coal mines. The SBDC helped Casey transform his knowledge of the operating costs into credible pro-formas into balance sheets, income statements, and cash flows.
When Bob Kovalcik moved his small manufacturing operation to Indiana County, the IUP SBDC helped him obtain financing for the move by working with him to develop a business plan. His business seemed to expand and contract with the economy. As the shale gas industry began to expand into Pennsylvania, Bob searched for ways to diversify his product base and was able to identify some potential opportunities.
Dino Caporossi wanted to assess the advisability of purchasing an operating Aamco franchise. The SBDC helped him review the historical financials, research the industry, develop a business plan, discuss various financing options, etc., so he could make an informed decision.
The announcement of the extent of the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shales cause Daron Murton to identify an opportunity to establish a business serving the industry. The SBDC helped Daron package his ideas for presentation to lenders and to do financial projections showing the viability of the idea.
Everyone knows of a nonprofit organization in search of funding. When Heidi Malin returned to live in her hometown after fifteen years, she realized there was a need in Indiana County for her fundraising experience. Heidi and the SBDC staff spent time brainstorming taglines, marketing strategies, and developing a business plan.
When Linda Alworth wanted to turn her farm into a venue for weddings and corporate events and an all-occasion meeting facility, the SBDC helped her to develop a financing proposal for the bank.
When Zoltan Connor returned to western Pennsylvania, he was dismayed to see the condition of the golf course on which his United High School golf team had played. Yet, he saw a great opportunity. Featuring great views of the Laurel Highlands from every hole, the course is a hidden gem. In Zoltan’s words, “Pleasant Valley is a sleeping giant.
Jessica Jujak had a vision and a dream to own her own ultimate dream salon. Her desire was to provide the services and quality of a top-level hair priced salon at affordable prices in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. The IUP SBDC helped Jessica review and revise her concept and guided her through conducting market research and forecasting her revenues and costs.
James Fichtner wanted to purchase an existing mower repair business and build its sales based upon his experience in sales and with hydraulic repair. The SBDC helped him through the acquisition process by identifying the information he would need from the seller to develop a plan acceptable to the bank and to refine his projections based upon that information.
Walter Aguirre, a student at IUP with an entrepreneurial bent, was seeking a way to provide additional income for his family. He approached the IUP SBDC with several ideas for starting a business. The SBDC helped Aguirre research his ideas and decide on the path he would take. Walter felt there was a gap in the market when it came to Hispanic foods. He decided this was an excellent time to launch a business providing food services based on Latin cuisines.
Karin Eller had a vision and a dream. She wished to build a business focused on her interests in gardening and on growing heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Not only was the concept a new and unfamiliar one with most potential customers, but her family’s land was miles away from the most travelled roads. The SBDC helped Karin realize her vision.
What do you do when you decide to not pursue the usual career path for your field of study? T. J. Fairchild faced that question after obtaining a master’s degree in philosophy and his wife had obtained a degree in social work. Both had experience working in coffee shops to support themselves through school. They learned as much as they could about coffee and launched their coffee. When they were ready to expand, the consulted with the SBDC and Small Business Institute for marketing research, product development, and cost analysis.
Business plan assistance helped the new owners obtain bank financing to refurbish a bar and restaurant near the Chestnut Ridge Golf Course and downtown Blairsville. The reenergized facility has helped create another option for golf course visitors and area residents.
Samantha Crissman has created a unique venue outside of Blairsville where Walnut Hill Winery specialty wines are produced and sold, wine tastings are offered, and entertainment events are held. Ms. Crissman credits the SBDC as being of assistance at start-up and as the business has grown. “The SBDC has played a critical role in getting our product to market and then in helping us grow.” —Samantha Crissman
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