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SBDC Success Stories
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Here are some of the local businesses we've helped to get started on their journey to success.
Allen Barkman Logging716 South Milk & Water RoadEverett, PA 15537Bedford CountyIndustry: LoggingYear Founded:SBDC Assistance: Business plan, ProformasAdditional Partners: Altoona First Savings Bank, Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission
Allen Barkman has been working in the logging business for the majority of his life. In his current operation, he would be notified of certain tracts of timber that would be available for cutting. He would look over the tracts and make a determination as to what they may be worth. He would then figure what he wants to make and what would be returned to the owner. In many instances, he would have to pay for the tracts up front and thus would need short term demand notes to pay for this. He has done this on some smaller jobs, but was now looking at a few larger jobs. He was also looking to upgrade some of his logging equipment. He needed assistance in putting together a proposal that potential lenders would be interested in reviewing.
On June 3, the SBDC met with Mr. Barkman at its Bedford County Outreach Office to discuss his idea. Mr. Barkman had already talked with his bank as well as the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission about potential financing and had an idea as to the type of information lenders would be looking. The goal was to show the bank his background and experience in the logging business, his experience in doing this type of work previously and the ability to service the debt.
The SBDC assisted Mr. Barkman in preparing a three year projected income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow and a detailed narrative explaining how he arrived at the projected figures. Upon completion of these, he approached a local bank and Southern Alleghenies.
On September 22, 2010, Mr. Barkman informed the Center that the bank and Southern Alleghenies have approved his loan request. He received a loan through Altoona First Savings Bank as well as a loan through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission. The business has upgraded its equipment and purchased two tracts of timber.
B. D. Propst Trucking151 Rio Grande RoadClearville, PA 15535-5540Bedford CountyIndustry: TransportationYear Founded: 2001SBDC Assistance: Small Business Advantage GrantAdditional Partners: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Brian and Tracy Propst never gave up. They own B. D. Propst Trucking, a small business located in Clearville, PA, which operates a tractor trailer for interstate freight transportation. In order to reduce fuel consumption and comply with an increasing number of anti-idling laws, Brian’s goal became to purchase an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with the help of a state- funded grant. The APU powers the truck’s heating and air conditioning without the need for the truck to be idling.At an annual safety meeting in March 2009 Brian became informed about the possibilities of a grant to help purchase an APU. “I became particularly interested in the Small Business Advantage Grant Program, whose objective is to assist small PA business owners reduce their energy or pollution handling costs,” stated Brian.
With the help of his wife, Tracy, who manages the business, Brian set out to work. After making several phone calls to various offices, the Propsts contacted State Representative Dick Hess, who pointed Tracy in the right direction to their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They soon began working with Environmental Consultant Charles Haney, who helped them through every step of the application as well as the financial calculations necessary to complete the paperwork. Tracy states, “If I ever had a question that Charles didn’t know the answer to off hand, he would find an answer very quickly.”
“How to overcome obstacles became the theme to receiving this grant,” stated Brian when discussing the many challenges they had to face. The first shock came when they learned that they would have to pay for and install the APU before they would be considered for the grant. Paying for this unit upfront came to be a big challenge for Brian and Tracy. Shortly after applying for the grant, the department contacted them and requested they verify that their APU of choice was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway Program. After overcoming this obstacle they resubmitted their application only to receive more bad news: the state had a spending freeze until a new budget was passed. After waiting months, Brian and Tracy finally received a check in the mail in July 2010.
Brian acknowledges his appreciation for the guidance he received from the SBDC. He explained that through all the obstacles they faced, they would have lost all hope if it were not for Charles. Tracy stated that Charles had always been there to encourage them that it would work out in the end. After reflecting on the consulting received, Brian said, “The SBDC was our cheerleader. I have recommended and will continue to recommend their services.”
Creative Fabrics & Quilt Shop, LLC3135 New Germany Road, Suite #25Ebensburg, PA 15931(814) 419-8227Cambria CountyIndustry: Retail Fabric/Quilt SavesYear Founded: 2010SBDC Assistance: Business plan, Proformas, Start-up assistanceAdditional Partners: Northwest Savings Bank
Cindy Martin had been unemployed for several months and prospects for employment looked bleaker each day. She had been interested in fabrics and quilts and always considered this a hobby. Over the past few years, she had an increasingly difficult time finding local supplier in her area. This gave her the idea that there may be a market for this type of business. She began to research the industry and became convinced that she could turn this into a business. At this time she started to work on the initial draft of her business plan. As she was developing her business plan, she discovered that the local Walmart store would no longer be carrying fabric. She felt this would provide her with an edge. She had talked with many people who purchased fabric at Walmart and even spoke with employees at Walmart that worked in the fabric department. The Walmart employees told her that they would refer customers that came looking for fabric to her new store. She knew that before she presented her idea to area lenders, she would need a professional business plan.
On December 14, 2009, the SBDC met with Ms. Martin at our office to discuss her idea. She had an idea of what type of information lenders would be looking for when she approached them for financing. The SBDC explained to her exactly what she would need to present to the lender and reviewed her business plan draft. The goal was to show the lender the research she has compiled on the industry, her knowledge and management experience and the ability to service the debt. As part of her planning experience, she found a shop owner in West Virginia that was willing to let her work at her shop for a few days so she could become familiar with the day to day operations of the business.
The SBDC assisted Ms. Martin in preparing a business plan, three year projected income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow and a detailed narrative explaining how she arrived at the projected figures. As part of our consulting engagement, we discussed start-up information such as filing for a fictitious name, applying for a sales tax license, obtaining local permits, etc. Upon completion of his business plan and projected financial statements, she approached three local banks.
On October 19, 2010, Ms. Martin informed me that all three banks have approved her loan request. She received a loan and a credit line through Northwest Savings Bank and also invested an amount of her own cash. The business is open and doing well. Without Ms. Martin’s willingness to take this risk, many local residents would have had to look elsewhere for these products and services. Ms. Martin is now collecting an owner’s draw. In addition to herself, she has one part-time employee.
Mid-State Chimney Sweeps127 North Chamberlain StreetBedford, PA 15522Bedford CountyIndustry: Chimney SweepYear Founded: 2010SBDC Assistance: Business plan, ProformasAdditional Partners: Hometown Bank
Jeremy Smith currently works in law enforcement, but has always wanted to operate his own business. He has previously worked in the chimney cleaning business and thought there was a market for another one in the area. He has been talking with his former employer, who is no longer in the business, about the market potential. They both felt that there was room for another chimney sweep due to the fact that many of his former employer’s customers were still calling him for service. Jeremy felt not was the time to move forward with his idea. He also received a commitment from his former employer to come on board as the chief technician for the company. Jeremy felt that is was important that the company have a certified chimney sweep on staff and his former employer is certified. Jeremy also plans to become a certified chimney sweep, which will add to the business’s marketability.
On August 19, 2010, the SBDC met with Mr. Smith at its Bedford County Outreach Office to discuss his idea. Mr. Smith had talked with a local bank about potential financing and had an idea as to the type of information lenders would be looking. The goal was to show the bank his background in this business, his experience in doing this type of work previously and the ability to service the debt.
The SBDC assisted Mr. Smith in preparing a three year projected income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow and a detailed narrative explaining how he arrived at the projected figures. Upon completion of these, he approached a local bank.
On November 4, 2010, Mr. Smith informed the Center that the bank had approved his loan request. He received a loan through Hometown Bank. The business is up and running and has one employee. Mr. Smith will remain at his current job until the business is financially able to support itself.
109 Carmello LaneLilly, PA 15938Cambria CountyIndustry: Dental PracticeYear Founded: 2010SBDC Assistance: Business plan, Proformas, Start-up assistance
Nicole Oravec has been a practicing dentist for only a few years when she was presented with the opportunity to purchase the practice from her employer. During her time there, Dr. Oravec was seeing all the patients and learning everything about the business. Her employer knew this would be important to her when the time came for her to purchase the practice. She had always wanted her own practice, but knew it would be difficult to start on from scratch. Purchasing the practice from her employer would give her the opportunity to have her own practice without some of the hurdles that starting her own would create. The current owner will continue to stay on as a staff member on a part-time basis. This will provide her with additional support should she run into any problems. She realized early on that she would need assistance in developing a sound proposal. She wanted to be certain that she has thought this through and was prepared for an eventual meeting with a local bank to discuss financing the purchase of the practice.
On April 8, 2009, the SBDC met with Dr. Oravec at our office to discuss the potential purchase. At this time, she had already started work on an initial business plan and had the tax returns for the practice. The SBDC explained to Dr. Oravec what information we would need in order to assist her in completing the business plan and projected financial statements. The goal was to show the lender that Dr. Oravec thought through the process, did her homework on the market and financials and had the ability to service any debt incurred. Her goal was to take the practice over before the end of the year.
The SBDC assisted Dr. Oravec in preparing a business plan, three year projected income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow and a detailed narrative explaining how she arrived at the projected figures. The projected cash flow was a very important aspect of the planning process. She would have limited cash flow for the first few months until she started receiving insurance reimbursement. Upon completion of her business plan and projected financial statements, she approached her bank.
On October 27, 2010, Dr. Oravec informed me that the financing for her project was approved. She received two bank loans through Altoona First Savings Bank, one for the practice and the other for the real estate. The current owner agreed to finance and she received a credit line through the bank. She is now officially the owner and things are doing well. The practice has six employees.
171 Front StreetHooversville, PA 15936Somerset CountyIndustry: Tree ServiceYear Founded: 1990SBDC Assistance: Pre Business Seminar, Business Evaluation, Business Plan and Financial Projections, Loan Assistance, Start-Up AssistanceAdditional Partners: First Commonwealth Bank
Joe Nicklow was an employee at Read’s Tree Service. He contacted the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center to discuss purchasing the business. In looking at the business, Joe realized he had many items to consider. He knew how to drop trees and provide quality service but nothing about developing a business plan.
In looking at getting guidance for his plans, Mr. Nicklow attended an SBDC a Pre-Business Planning seminar. Additionally, local banks recommended that he should contact the SBDC. In August, Annette Chunko met with Mr. Nicklow at the Johnstown outreach location to discuss his idea and plans. Annette assisted Joe in evaluating and reviewing the business financials and assisted with a business analysis to evaluate the opportunity.
In the weeks that followed Joe, working in conjunction with the SBDC, developed his business plan in relation to financing and purchasing the business. A part of his plan was to continue the same quality service and reputation of Read’s Tree Service.In late September 2010, Mr. Nicklow presented the plan to his bank and about a month later received his financing. The funds were used to purchase the business as well as the additional supplies and working capital.
Joe Nicklow went from employee to owner and operator of the company. While he will continue to provide the services that customers have come to expect from Read’s Tree Service, Joe has plans to expand the business into additional areas depending on demand and opportunity. Read’s Tree Service has served customers of Cambria and Somerset Counties for more than twenty years and Joe plans to continue the high quality for years to come.
Rogers Brothers Corporation100 Orchard StreetAlbion, PA 16401Erie Countywww.rogerstrailers.comIndustry: Lowbed trailersYear Founded: 1905SBDC Assistance: Marketing Assistance/Development of Marketing Materials, Representation at the trade show, Development of trade leads,Conduction of researchAdditional Partners: U.S. Commercial Service
Rogers Brothers Corporation has been in business for over 100 years, building high quality lowbed trailers in Albion, Pennsylvania. Thousands of Rogers® trailers are now in service around the world and Mr. Mark Kulyk, Rogers Brothers president, constantly strives to find new opportunities and expand his company further.
As a result, this company has sold its trailers in 65 countries on five continents.
Rogers Brothers Corporation has been working with the Saint Francis University SBDC Center for Global Competitiveness (CGC) for a number of years. It is also a part of the Pennsylvania Mining Industrial Group established by the Saint Francis University SBDC over 10 years ago.
The Pennsylvania Mining Industrial Group (PAMIG) consists of a group of companies involved in the mining equipment manufacturing and construction industries that offer high quality and specialized products and services. Every year the Saint Francis University SBDC Center for Global Competitiveness represents PAMIG at mining shows all over the globe. It has hosted mining trade shows around the world including: Electra Mining in South Africa, EXTEMIN in Peru, EXPOMIN in Chile, AIMEX in Australia, and UGOL & Mining in Ukraine. The nominal $250 per company participation fee makes it easier for companies to test the waters in foreign markets.
Rogers Brothers Corporation participated in the EXTEMIN catalog show in September 2009. The Saint Francis University CGC represented the company by displaying marketing materials, developing trade leads, and conducting research on its behalf. At the conclusion of the trade event, the CGC submitted the trade leads, buyer information, and contact materials obtained from the show to Mr. Mark Kulyk. The center also worked closely with the U.S. Commercial Service to make the show a success.
Two months later Rogers Brothers received an inquiry for a trailer as a result of the EXTEMIN catalog show participation. Mr. Kulyk is currently working on the logistics for this sale and says that it was the best money he had ever spent.
Mr. Kulyk is very pleased with the results of the catalog shows and is looking to continue his participation. Through the center’s assistance, Rogers Brothers was recently represented at the Electra Mining trade show in Johannesburg, South Africa in October 2010. Mark Kulyk is also planning to participate in the Mining World Russia trade show that will be hosted by the Saint Francis CGC in Moscow in April 2011.
Somerset Office Supply117 N. Center AvenuePO Box 269Somerset, PA 15501Somerset CountyIndustry: Retail office supplies and furnitureYear Founded: 1975SBDC Assistance: Business Consulting, Business Plan and Financial Projections, Loan AssistanceAdditional Partners Local Bank, Accountant and Attorney
Heidi Klink, owner of Somerset Office Supply, first contacted the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center in November 2009 after being referred here by her accountant and attorney. This was in relation to refinancing the business consolidating it into one location. Ms. Klink had worked for years at the business and purchased it in 2008 through owner financing. After a year under her ownership, she realized she needed help in evaluating various options in relation to the business.
Ms. Klink met with SBDC business analyst, Annette Chunko, to assist her with these various issues. After meeting with the SBDC Consultant, Heidi realized it made business sense to consolidate both the business financing and its location. She could save money and have better control. Heidi worked with the SBDC on developing a complete business proposal to present to local financial institutions. This included a business plan projected financial statements and detailed assumptions. The assistance also included discussions on various financing.
The plan was completed in January 2010. By July 2010, Heidi relocated the business and worked out the financing of the project. The total project cost was approved with continued financing from the previous owner and a line of credit from the local bank. In evaluating the financial statements it made more sense to stay with the owner financing option.
Somerset Office Supply, LLC now serves the business community of Somerset County from one location. Through the SBDC assistance received, Somerset Office Supply has improved its overall cash flow and allowed Heidi more time to focus on the core aspects of her business.
55 N. Riverside Dr.Mt. Union, PA 17066(814) 542-3211New Proposed Location:22960 Croghan PikeShade Gap, PA 17255(814) 542-3211www.tinytotschildcarelearningcenter.comIndustry: Daycare CenterYear Founded: 2001SBDC Assistance: Financial Feasibility, market research, business plan development, proforma financial statement development, financing proposal.Additional Partners: Community State Bank
In 2001, Dawn Try-Myers began watching children in her home as a way to help out people she knew needing childcare services in the evening and on weekends. Her reputation grew and soon she began getting inquiries about services needed in the Mt. Union area. With such a rural area, most people had to travel to Huntingdon or Orrstown – a 20 to 30 minute commute in either direction - and no centers offered evening and weekend care. So, she and her husband purchased a house in Mt. Union and opened a second location. Between both locations, Dawn employees three full time employees. And with the changes that came about in the childcare industry with the onset of the Keystone Stars program, Dawn recognized that it would be an advantage to her business if she took the steps necessary to become certified through the program. She has continued to do so and mandates that all employees get the same training she goes through.
Over the years, Dawn has wanted to transition her original center out of her home and into a place of its own, but still maintain its presence in the Shade Gap area. Her first opportunity to pursue expansion was with the availability of a foreclosure property that was coming up for sheriff sale. At that time, Dawn was directed by her community bank to contact the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center. Working with one of the SBDC Consultants, Dawn began exploring the possibility obtaining the necessary financing to purchase the property at auction. Unfortunately, that property didn’t work out. Through various contacts, Dawn became aware the property was probably going to go higher than what she wanted to invest. So, she held off on pursuing it.
But Dawn didn’t let that stop her from continuing her plans. Taking her own initiative, Dawn talked to her neighbor who had previously been trying to sell his property, which was set up to house, which was set up to house a former retail and service business. The neighbor made her an offer and she accepted. Dawn contacted The Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Labor and Industry to check on the regulations and codes and found that very little would need to be done to the property to get it certified.
Dawn again followed up with the Saint Francis SBDC consultant who began working with her on her business plan. The consultant assisted Dawn with exploring the financial feasibility, generating the demographic information to support the market, and assisted her with developing a comprehensive business plan and financing proposal.
In December 2010, Dawn informed the SBDC that she received a preliminary approval pending the appraisal of the property she was buying. She anticipated final approval and closing in January 2011. She had already started interviewing for positions as she intends to hire two full time caregivers for the new facility. How supportive was Dawn’s husband during the whole process? He must have had pretty good faith in her; he allowed her to sell his and her Harley Davidson motorcycles to use as down payment towards the purchase of the property.
117 Evergreen Drive P.O. Box 600 Loretto, PA 15940