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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 2017. For the year, the SBDC met with 212 clients providing just under 3,500 hours of consulting. SBDC clients reported starting or purchasing 24 businesses as well as creating or retaining 193 jobs. Clients also received financing of over $9 million.

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

  • Uptown Works, LLC

    Uptown Works, Uptown Somerset, Uptown Co-Working

    Thanks to the SBDC, my goal for Uptown Works is a reality. - Emily Korns

      Uptown Works

    Emily Korns
    Uptown Works, LLC

    On the Diamond
    Somerset, PA  
    Somerset County


    Co-Working Space – Real Estate

    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, financials, start-up

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

    Emily Korns had a goal in mind when starting Uptown Works, a co-working space on the Diamond in Somerset.  That goal: make Uptown Somerset awesome!  The idea came to the her as a result of spending several years conducting business out of her home and in coffee shops, libraries, and restaurants.  Unfortunately, these places are not open 24/7, provide no printing services, offer spotty Wi-Fi, and have inadequate privacy for calls.  Emily started thinking about the idea of a shared co-working space and spoke with different people to see if it would spark their interest.  Her research culminated in a thoughtful, determined decision: “Ok, I’ll do it.”

    Emily knew she would need a written business plan and was confident in developing a business proposal but needed assistance with reviewing and preparing financials.  Ms. Korns’ involvement in the community led her to realize that Saint Francis University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) would provide the necessary resources to assist with evaluating the proposal and financing her business venture.

    Ms. Korns contacted the SBDC, and a consultant met with her to discuss her idea.  During the meeting, a co-working space was discussed, which would include shared resources, printing, office supplies, a kitchenette, and desk space.  Clients would have 24/7 access to the building, featuring best-in-class Wi-Fi and copious amounts of coffee and tea.  Emily had already identified the building as the former “World’s Attic.”  Her mission was to develop a proposal that would evaluate feasibility, obtain financing to purchase the building, and complete necessary renovations.  Her initial goals of completing a business plan and financial proposal would be presented to potential lenders and investors.

    The SBDC assisted in the evaluation and development of the business proposal, including sources and utilization of funds, a three-year projected income statement, a monthly cash flow, and a balance sheet with a detailed narrative explaining the projected financial figures.  Upon completion of the business proposal for Uptown Works, LLC, Emily approached the bank and the Somerset County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) to seek financing for her co-working space project.

    Emily informed the SBDC that the financing for Uptown Works, LLC was in place, and renovations to the facility started.  When fully operational, the office space will consist of three floors, including a basement, which will be used as a workspace and a storage area for client inventory. The first floor will have an open collaboration area, private offices on the second floor, a child care center, and various conference rooms and telephone booths.  The co-workspace will create two full-time-equivalent jobs in the community with unlimited potential.

    Renovations to Uptown Works, LLC are in the final stages.  The soft opening took place at the end of June 2018, and the grand opening is expected to occur in mid-July 2018.  Uptown Works is already pre-booking conference rooms ahead of the official launch.  Emily’s aspirations for Uptown Works, LLC are optimistic, especially in Somerset County.


    Walstrom Rentals
    I couldn’t have done it without the help of the SBDC. Thank you. - Ann Walstrom

    Walstrom Rentals

    Ann C. Walstrom
    Walstrom Rentals

    211 30th Avenue
    Altoona, PA 16601

    Industry: Property Rental Management
    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, financial analysis, acquisition

    Additional Partners: 
    Startup Alleghenies Ecosystem, Blair County

    Historical Knickerbocker Properties Under New Owner/Management

    The historical 31-unit Knickerbocker properties located on 5th Avenue, Burgoon Road, and 40th Street in Altoona are now owned and operated by Ann Walstrom of Walstrom Properties.  Ann is excited to sustain the clean and friendly neighborhood atmosphere.  Ann is a hands-on owner and operator of the 18 existing rental units and plans to renovate the additional units, providing the Blair County area with adequate, affordable housing.

    Ann had the ability and confidence to oversee the renovation and property management, but what she needed was a business proposal to present to the bank.  This proposal needed to provide the bank with evidence that the properties could accrue sufficient income to support the debt consolidation, as well as supply sufficient capital to complete additional renovations on the vacant units.  When Ann approached the bank with her request, they referred her to the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 
    Ann contacted the SBDC to discuss the financial analysis and proposal, as well as determine the best course of action.  An SBDC consultant worked with her on evaluating how much financing she would need to consolidate the debt, complete necessary renovations, estimate the total project cost, and determine overall feasibility of the acquisition. The SBDC worked closely with the client in developing the financial proposal for Walstrom Properties.  The Center also worked on financial projections, which addressed the overall needs of the project.

    With the financials and projected financial statement complete, Ann approached the bank.  The financing was approved to pay off the existing loans, eliminate contractor debt, and provide sufficient capital to complete the necessary renovations for five additional units.  

    Renovations on the properties started immediately, and Walstrom Properties currently has a waiting list of potential occupants.  According to Ann, the process has been difficult, but with the funding in place and help of the SBDC, she feels confident that all 31 units will be completed and leased.  

    Olde Bedford Brewing Company
    The SBDC has become a valued part of our team - Dave & Mary Heller

     Olde Bedford Brewing

    Dave & Mary Heller
    Olde Bedford Brewing Company

    109 Railroad Street
    Bedford, PA  15522

    Industry: Microbrewery/Brewpub
    Year Founded: 2018

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, financial analysis

    Additional Partners: 
    Bedford County Development Association, First Commonwealth Bank & the Small Business Administration

    Bedford County Welcomes First Brewpub

    Dave and Mary Heller have been homebrewing their own beer for the past four years.  They wanted to turn their passion for brewing into a business.  Realizing that Bedford County did not have any existing brewpubs, they felt now was the time to move forward with their idea.  They are both retired and can devote full-time to the brewery and pub.
    Their goal is to operate a brewpub that will provide an eclectic and original style of beer to customers that will leverage the brewing renaissance that is exploding across the country.  In addition to in-house sales, outside distribution of beer will establish the business as both a pub and production microbrewery.  They wanted to be the first licensed brewpub in Bedford County since its inception in 1771.

    One of the pillars of the projected success of the business will be to define it as a farm-to-cask pub/microbrewery.  The beers will be crafted with spring water and often hops grown on their Hideaway Ranch, which is located in the mountains of Bedford County.  This location provides an outstanding agricultural environment to obtain some of the essential ingredients to enhance their beer recipes. 

    The Hellers contacted the Bedford County Development Association to find out more about financing options for their project.  In turn, they referred them to the SBDC for assistance in discussing their options and in completing their business plan and projected financial statements.  Their initial business plan was fairly complete, but the numbers needed revision before being formally presented to a lender.

    The Center assisted the Hellers in completing the business plan, preparing the projected financial statements, and crafting an accompanying narrative 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 fused a great deal of work into their plan, and it shows.  

    The financing for the project has been approved as a Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a loan.  The brewpub opened in March, and the SBDC attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting.  The business has been doing very well.  They do not have a licensed kitchen, but rather have been partnering with a few local food vendors to supply customers with eating options while at the brewpub.  The brewpub is open five days a week and has two full-time and two part-time employees.


    Spring Tool & Die
    The SBDC helped in a very timely manner. - Eric Huber

    Spring Tool

    Eric Huber
    Spring Tool & Die

    408 East Main Street
    Roaring Spring, PA  16673

    Industry: Machine Shop

    Year Founded: 1983 (purchased 2018)

    SBDC Assistance: Business plan, financial analysis

    Additional Partners: 
    Altoona First Savings Bank, Altoona-Blair County Development & BOB program

    Blair County Machine Shop Will Remain Open for Business

    Eric Huber has been working in the machining industry for the past 17 years, and his passion and knowledge reflect onto the customers he serves daily.  He always wanted to be a machinist, manufacturing new parts from scratch and redesigning existing parts to make them more durable and long-lasting.  Eric enjoys helping people solve problems through machining.

    He graduated in 2003 from the Industrial Technical Education Center in Ridgeway, PA, earning an associate’s degree.  He then worked for a local wood products company in the maintenance department.  The company purchased machine tools and moved a portion of their machine work in-house.  He put his knowledge and training to use and started completing some of the company’s machine work.

    In 2005, Eric went to work for Spring Tool & Die.  The experience working there enabled him to expand his skill set and gain valuable experience in machining.  Since 2012, he has been the shop foreman for Spring Tool & Die and manages the shop’s employees.

    In early 2017, the owner of Spring Tool & Die conveyed that he wanted to sell the shop and asked Eric if he was interested.  He informed Eric that if he or another buyer did not purchase the shop by the end of 2017, he would close the business permanently.  Eric started the process of trying to obtain financing for the project.  His bank was unable to help him, and he turned to the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation for assistance.  In turn, they referred him to the SBDC for assistance in completing his business plan and projected financial statements.

    The Center assisted Eric in completing the business plan, reviewing the business’s historic tax returns, preparing the projected financial statements, and crafting accompanying assumptions for the projections.  The goal was to demonstrate Eric’s experience at the shop, as well as the ability to service the proposed debt.

    The financing for the project has been approved by Altoona First Savings Bank, the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation’s RMA program, and the BOB program.  The business has six employees and is doing very well.  If Eric had not pursued the purchase of Spring Tool & Die, it is very possible that the business would have closed, and six local people would have been left unemployed.