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SBDC Success Stories

  • Your journey to excellence

    Making an Impact

    The Small Business Development Center continued to achieve strong results in 2018. For the year, the SBDC met with 245 clients providing just under 3,100 hours of consulting. SBDC clients reported starting or purchasing 29 businesses as well as creating or retaining 111 jobs. Clients also received financing of over $6.5 million.

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

  • Nail Envy Salon

    The Nail Envy Salon of Somerset

    "Thanks for all the help to launch my dream!" - Brianna Baker

      Nail Envy Salon

    Brianna Lee Baker
    Nail Envy Salon

    265 Plank Road
    Somerset, PA

    Somerset County

    Beauty Salon 

    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business Planning, Projections, Financing                      

    Additional Partners: 
    Somerset County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) Southern Alleghenies, Startup Alleghenies 

    Brianna Baker has been involved in the manicure and pedicure industry for a number of years and realized that the Somerset area was a perfect opportunity to open her nail salon and become the envy of the area.  Brianna’s passion has always been to make people feel better about themselves.  When she figured out that she could do that by manicuring people’s hands and feet she knew what she needed to do.  Brianna knew she had expertise in the manicure and pedicure arena but fell short on starting her own salon.  She went to her local bank for a loan to start her business and they indicated that she would need a business plan. She did not know where to turn.   Fortunately the bank referred her to the SBDC for assistance.  

    Brianna contacted the SBDC for assistance and we met with her to discuss what all would be involved in opening her nail salon.  She had already researched the area and knew the location and what supplies, equipment and inventory she would need to start the business, she was just not sure what to do with the information.  

    The SBDC assisted her in completing her business proposal and the projected financial statements based on her current clientele.  The center also discussed potential resources for funding her project and the network of organizations to assist her in the business.

    With the business proposal in hand, Brianna approached the banks, friends and family and was able to secure the necessary financing to start Nail Envy Salon.  The salon opened in July and her passion and dream of making people feel better about themselves has become a reality with the opening of Nail Envy Salon.  Brianna feels blessed that her local clients have followed her and business has increased.  She has increased hours and added additional help.

    Merchant Village, Inc.
    "I did it with the SBDC help!" - Alecia Zimmerman

    Merchant Village

    Alecia Zimmerman
    Merchant Village, Inc.

    1534 N Center Avenue
    Somerset, PA

    Somerset County

    Industry: Retail Vendor Mall

    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business Proposal, Financing, Market Research

    Additional Partners:   
    Somerset County Economic Development Council (SCEDC), Southern Alleghenies Start Up Alleghenies

    Check Out Merchant Village Vendor's Mall

    Alecia Zimmerman wanted to provide a central location where all the local products and talent would provide a showcase to tourists and the local residents.  Her vision was to encourage local spending by having so many wonderful options in one place.  Her mission and vision were to assist Somerset County in becoming a destination stop for tourists to spend their money.  To take advantage of this opportunity to start a vendor’s mall she would need financing.  Alecia approached the bank with the idea and they told her she would need to provide a business proposal.  Alecia had been involved with numerous businesses and had worked on a business proposal but felt uncertain about how to tackle this new venture.  She had knowledge of the SBDC centers and the services that they provide so she contacted the center.

    The center met with her to discuss her idea and the best way to proceed.  The SBDC consultant worked with her on evaluating how much financing she would need to fund the project.  The center also assisted in researching and examining the overall feasibility of the business.   

    The SBDC worked closely with Alecia on developing the business proposal and identifying financing options.  The SFU SBDC also worked on the financial projections which addressed the overall needs for the project along with arranging meetings with potential funding resources.

    With the business plan and the financial projections complete, Alecia approached the bank and the Somerset County Economic Development Council for financing.  The funding was secured and Ms. Zimmerman secured the lease on the property and started all the necessary renovation to the facility. 

    In October 2018, Merchant Village opened and secured the first vendors to the facility.  Merchant Village, Inc. is operational providing space to Vendors/Crafter’s Mall/Farmer’s Market offering space to a wide variety of local products.  This business model aims at providing a wide variety of benefits to all areas of the community.  Not only does it create a few jobs for the employees of Merchant Village, but more than 400+ part time income opportunities for the vendors that rarely have to be present to participate. 

    Alecia states “the concept of Merchant Village simply works! No matter what type of vendor mall it is, for the buyer, the convenience of having so many items, varieties and vendors in the same place is just too good to pass up.  And for the seller, being able to market their products with such cost effectiveness and convenience also makes sense.”  Since opening, she has already started to expand the facility to compensate the demand for space for new vendors. 

    Woodhaven B & B and Event Venue
    "The SBDC provided us with the insight to help sell our project." - Bryn Keller

     Woodhaven BB

    Bryn & Dan Keller
    Woodhaven B & B and Event Venue

    749 Mill Road
    Schellsburg, PA  15559

    Bedford County

    Industry: B & B/Event Center

    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, financial analysis

    Additional Partners:

    Community State Bank, Business on Banking & Bedford County Chamber of Commerce

    B & B and Event Center Opens in Schellsburg

    Bryn and Dan Keller have had their eye on a property in Schellsburg that they felt was perfect for their vision.  They feel with all the tourism activity in Bedford County there is a market for a bed and breakfast as well as an event facility. 

    The facility would have three rooms, all with private baths as well as a barn venue that would enable the business to host weddings, reunions, parties, etc.  Alternative event venues have been growing in popularity and the facility and property offers many amenities to potential guests.  The Keller’s will be living on-site and be available to meet any guest needs.

    The location will offer a beautiful view from the spacious wrap-around porch, access to a nearby stream, Colvin Covered Bridge and Forbes Trail and proximity to Shawnee State Park.  The barn venue will provide space for 150 guests and the B & B will provide facilities for the wedding party to get ready for the big day.  Guests will also have the ability to choose from several local caterers to provide the food for their event.  Bryn has experience in marketing as she was formerly the Bridal Reservations Coordinator and the Catering Sales Manager for the Bedford Spring Resort.  This gave her the knowledge and experience to work with customers in planning their special events.  Dan is the manager of the Village News in Bedford and is experienced in all aspects of operating and managing a retail business.

    The Keller’s contacted a friend of theirs that was in business for help with their project.  In turn, their friend referred them to the SBDC for assistance in discussing their options and in completing their business plan and projected financial statements.

    The Center assisted the Keller’s in completing the business plan, preparing the projected financial statements, and completing the assumptions for the projections.  The goal was to demonstrate the background, experience, and knowledge of the owners, as well as the ability to service the proposed debt.  They put a great deal of work into the plan, particularly the market.

    The financing for the project was approved by a local bank as well as the Business on Banking program.  The project also included private financing along with owner investment.  The business opened in July and the SBDC attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting that was conducted by the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.  The business is doing well and the renovations have started on the event center.  They have seven weddings booked for 2019 and the B & B is booked most weekends.  The business has two employees.

    American Family Chiropractic
    "Jeff helped me get started in 2002 and was there for me on this project." - Dr. Wendy Pehonsky


    Dr. Wendy Pehonsky
    American Family Chiropractic

    1705 N Juniata Street
    Hollidaysburg, PA  16648

    Blair County

    Industry: Chiropractor

    Year Founded: 2002

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, proformas

    Additional Partners:

    Altoona-Blair County Development and First National Bank

    Blair County Chiropractor Relocates Practice

    Dr. Wendy Pehonsky has been operating American Family Chiropractic in Hollidaysburg since 2002.  Prior to starting the practice, she was referred to the SBDC for assistance in preparing a business plan by her lender.  She received an SBA 7a loan to get the practice started.

    The practice has been operating from the same location on Penn Street in Hollidaysburg.  She had been considering a move for the past few years, but could not find a suitable location.  She then became aware that another local chiropractor was retiring and looking to sell his building.

    Wendy felt this would be a great location for her practice.  Plus she would own this facility, which is what she has been looking to do for the past few years.  On top of this, the building where she was leasing space was being sold and the new owner wanted her to commit to a new lease and she did not want to do that.  Wendy started to look at financing options for the building and contacted her lender at First National Bank.

    Her lender felt this would be a good project to partner with the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation.  In turn, they referred her to the SBDC for assistance in completing their business plan and projected financial statements.  Wendy was surprised to learn that the SBDC consultant that she originally worked with when she started the business was still working at the Center.  She said this made her feel better about working with the Center on the project as the consultant was familiar with the practice.

    The Center assisted Wendy in completing the projected financial statements and assumptions for the projections.  The SBDC used her historic financial information to work with Wendy on the projections.  Her projections were also compared to industry averages through Bizminer.  The goal was to show the history of the practice, the benefits of the move to the new building and the ability to service the proposed debt. 

    The financing for the project has been approved by the bank as well as the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation.  The practice moved to the new facility in 2018 and she has seen an increase in patients.  Her existing patients are pleased with the move as there is more parking and easier access.  She has also gained patients from the chiropractor who was operating from this location as they were familiar with going there.  The practice has two full-time and two part-time employees.