SBDC Success Stories | Saint Francis University
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SBDC Success Stories

  • Your journey to excellence

    Making an Impact

    In fiscal year 2020, the Small Business Development Center met with 458 clients resulting in 3,528 hours of client work.  Additionally, 117 individuals attended 13 training events conducted by the Center.  The Center also provided a variety of information to individuals through phone conversations, its web site and other means.

    SBDC clients received $8,134,654 in financing from a variety of federal, state, local and private sources.  This encompassed loans for business start-up and expansion as well as the purchase of existing businesses and various environmental grants.  Client businesses reported creating 69 jobs.  24 clients reported starting or purchasing a business in the region.

    Here are some of the local businesses we’ve helped to get started on their journey to success.

  • Hoovers Outfitters, LLC
    Thanks to the SBDC I own my own business! - George (Chip) Meyer

      Hoovers SS

    George (Chip) Meyer
    Hoovers Outfitters, LLC

    2099 Garrett Road
    Rockwood, PA  15557

    Somerset County

    Retail Gun & Ammo

    Year Founded: 1993 (Purchased 2019)

    SBDC Assistance: Business Planning, Projections, Financial Analysis, Financial Projections, Funding Sources                      

    Additional Partners: 
    M & T Bank, Somerset County Economic Development Council (SCEDC)

    Hoovers Outfitting and Supplies

    Hoovers Outfitting and Supplies owners had the business for 27 years and were preparing for retirement, having no family to pass the retail firearms and supplies to, the Hoovers put the word out that the business was up for sale and if they did not have a buyer for the business they would close their successful business.  George (Chip) Meyer was a regular customer and saw this as a perfect opportunity to become an entrepreneur.  Chip had experience in sales, training and business development strategies which he felt provided him with the skills to own the business. He knew the business and was interested in this turnkey operation.  He also knew the next step was to do his due diligence on the business and develop a business proposal to obtain the financing to purchase the business.

    Chip approached the owners to discuss the possibility of purchasing the business.  The owners provided him with the price and the information to start the necessary due diligence on the purchase of the business.  He started to work on the business proposal and contacted Somerset County Economic Development Council to see what assistance they could provide and they referred him to Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance in evaluating the business and developing the business proposal.

    Chip Meyers contacted the SBDC and met with an SBDC counselor to discuss the acquisition and the additional potential opportunity for Hoovers Outfitting.  The counselor worked with him to identify the current condition of the business and incorporate potential additional revenue.  The SBDC review the federal tax returns of the business and calculated the debt service he would incur to evaluate the income the business would need to generate to make the numbers work and be profitable.

    The center assisted in completing the business proposal, actual financials, projected financial statement and assumptions for the projections.  The consultant assisted Chip in exploring the feasibility of purchasing the business looking at the ability to service the debt.  A comprehensive business proposal and financial proposal was completed and the plan was presented to various banks with denials from a few of the institutions, but Chip persisted.  

    The financing for the acquisition was approved by M & T Bank.   The transition of Hoovers Outfitting & Supplies is complete and under new management as Hoovers Outfitters, LLC.  Chip is continuing the tradition of the store with the same dependability, service and personnel that the local community know and respect.  The goal of Hoover Outfitters, LLC is to continue providing product and services guaranteed by the Second Amendment and hard fought for by the forefathers of this nation.

    Elder Berries, LLC
    Thanks to the SBDC I realized my dream. - Laura Long

    Elder Berries

    Laura Long
    Elder Berries, LLC

    Senior Errands & Helping Hands Service

    827 Soap Hollow Road
    Hollsopple, PA  15935

    Somerset County

    Industry: Service

    Year Founded: 10/2020

    SBDC Assistance: Start Up, Marketing Plan, Resources, Business Planning

    Additional Partners:   
    Somerset Chamber of Commerce

    Elder Berries LLC Opens to Assist the Elderly During Trying Times

    Laura Long has over 15 years’ experience working in the service sector of the assisted senior citizens center.  In doing so she realized there was a need for a senior errand and helping hands service. Laura started to test the idea and realized there was a demand for such a service.  She felt that this was an opportunity for her to fulfill her dream of owning and operating her own business catering to the elderly. 

    She knew the business and was interested in fulfilling the dream of offering the area a service working with the senior population running errands and just providing a helping hand service.  Laura knew her next step was developing a business proposal to assist her in starting Elder Berries LLC, Senior Errands and Helping Hands Service.

    Laura contacted the Somerset Chamber of Commerce regarding the steps that she needed to take to launch the business.  The chamber referred her to the Small Business Development Center for assistance in setting up the business.  Ms. Long contacted Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance in evaluating the business and developing her business proposal.  

    The SFU SBDC consultant meet with her to discuss her idea of a senior based errand and helping hands business.  The consultant worked with her to identify the current condition and incorporate potential additional revenue.  Laura developed her promotional materials and had the SBDC review the website and flyers. The SBDC assisted her in researching and identifying potential target markets along with developing a business proposal.

    The center assisted Laura with the business proposal and the steps necessary to start the business.  The consultant assisted Ms. Long in exploring the feasibility of her idea, provided ideas for services and researched the competition.  Her business proposal was drafted which provided her with a better idea of what her startup costs were and what services she would provide and at what price.  

    Elder Berries, LLC Senior Errands and Helping Hands Service opening is set for October, 2020.  Laura has a website and has brochures developed to attract clientele.  The services of Elder Berries are an errand service which includes shopping, post office stops, dry cleaning, prescription pick up, banking and bill paying.  Additional services that she offers are Home Management:  organization, packing/unpacking, outside service, paperwork, gardening, and small repairs.  In addition, she does the miscellaneous services of holiday decorating, gift wrapping, pet care and genealogy research.  The territory she is covering includes the Johnstown, Somerset and Ebensburg areas.

    Elder Berries Senior Errand & Helping Hands Service is centered around Godly values and a community-based business that understand Seniors.

    Just Breathe Salt Spa
    Jeff and his students have been such a blessing. They have been very professional, knowledgeable and helpful throughout the entire process. - Tracy Dutko, Ph.D., LPC

     Dutko SS

    Tracy Dutko, Ph.D., LPC
    Just Breathe Salt Spa

    1216 Pleasant Valley Blvd.
    Altoona, PA  16602

    Blair County

    Industry: Salt Spa & Float Pod

    Year Founded: 2020

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, proformas

    Additional Partners:

    Start-up Alleghenies

    Salt Spa Opens in Altoona

    Tracy Dutko, Ph.D., LPC has always been interested in helping others.  As a child, she was inspired working on the family farm by her grandmother and other family members.  Her foundation of faith and family grew into her love of health and wellness.

    Tracy has more than 20 years of experience in the mental health field and helping others has always been part of Tracy’s life.  She operates her own private psychology practice in Altoona.  She had been researching the health and benefits of a salt spa and wanted to look into opening such a spa.  She also wanted to add float therapy to the business.  She felt that many of her current patients could benefit from such services.  Through her professional connections in the medical field, she felt many of her colleagues would refer their customers and patients to these services.  The salt spa and the float pod offers health benefits for those suffering from respiratory conditions, skin conditions, seasonal allergies, stress/anxiety as well as some mental health conditions.

    Although she owns a business, she felt this was different from her practice and wanted to obtain information on starting and operating such a business.  She saw an advertisement for our First Step workshop in Altoona and registered for the program.  After attending the workshop, Tracy began to research to market, search for a location, develop the start-up costs, etc.  She then contacted the Center to schedule a meeting to discuss how the SBDC could help her with the project.

    The Center assisted Tracy in completing the business plan, projected financial statements and assumptions for the projections.  The goal was to show the owner’s business experience, the market potential and the ability to service the proposed debt.  The local area does have one small salt therapy location.  There is no float pod in the Altoona area and the closest one is located in State College.

    Tracy approached a few local banks to discuss financing for the project.  She needed funds for the construction of the salt spa, the float pod and working capital.  Tracy also wanted to relocate her current practice to a space that was next door to the proposed spa.  A local bank approved the financing.  The business opened in the Fall 2020 and has two employees.  One of the Center’s SEED students worked with Tracy on various marketing issues related to the spa.  The Center is continuing to assist her by helping her with the application for a marketing grant through the Start-up Alleghenies program.

    Art Farm
    The SBDC connected me with the right people and the business became a reality. - Heather Laird

    Laird SS

    Heather Laird
    Art Farm

    3961 6th Avenue
    Altoona, PA  16602

    Blair County

    Industry: Art classes/custom art

    Year Founded: 2020

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, proformas

    Additional Partners:

    Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation

    Art Business Opens in Altoona

    Heather Laird has been interested in art her entire life.  She was always drawing or working on a variety of projects.  She always enjoyed art projects and teaching others how to do various projects.  She volunteered at her daughter’s school to help out with the art classes.  She would hold summer art classes for local school children.

    She was employed at a local bike shop, but always felt the desire to start her own business.  The owner of the bike shop where she was employed encouraged her to look into starting her own business.  She was then referred to the Altoona-Blair County Development (ABCD) Corporation to see what financing options would be available.  It was also during this time, that she was discussing the idea with a friend and they mentioned a possible location for her proposed business.

    ABCD Corporation suggested she contact the Small Business Development Center, which she did and we scheduled a meeting.  She had several ideas for the business and needed help in organizing them.  She also needed help in identifying potential financing options to get the business started.  She needed money to purchase art supplies, furnishings, etc.  She also needed to look at the operating expenses as well.

    The Center assisted Heather in completing the business plan, projected financial statements and assumptions for the projections.  The goal was to show the owner’s knowledge of the business, the market potential and the ability to service the proposed debt.  

    Due to the small amount of financing required, banks were not an option for financing.  In checking with ABCD Corporation, they did not really have any financing programs for a project this small.  The Center referred her to Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) to discuss a possible SBA Microloan for the business.  This is exactly the type of project the Microloan Program is looking for.  JARI was able to approve a loan through the SBA Microloan program and Heather invested her own funds.  The business opened in February 2020 and has one employee.  The Center participated in her ribbon cutting and grand opening of the business.  Heather is very grateful for the service and for the fact that she was able to start this business by herself.