Clinic Owners Use Covid-19 Crisis as Opportunity for Introspection

July 14, 2020

Keene PerspectivesSuccess Story: Vermont. By Amanda Kuhnert –

“We’ve tried to make the best of this extremely stressful time by focusing on the things we can control and imagining how to improve our business when we eventually reopen,” said Cortney Keene, co-owner of Keene Perspectives in White River Junction, a behavioral health center for children with autism and other developmental disorders.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, Cortney and her husband Chris implemented procedures at the clinic to help limit the spread of the virus, from restricting the number of visitors to increasing cleaning. But when schools were ordered to close, they decided to temporarily pause operations. They contacted Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) advisor Ross Hart for advice, and began researching federal and state assistance programs.

“After chatting with Ross, we immediately approached VEDA (the Vermont Economic Development Authority), which helped with our first small business loan,” Cortney said. “We were approved for a PPP loan on April 4. Now we’re working on telehealth, bringing back staff little by little, and planning for the summer when we typically have more kids and need more staff.” Click To Tweet (more…)

Email security tips for small businesses

June 23, 2020

By: Hiscox –

Google has reported that 18 million phishing emails related to COVID-19 were identified daily during just one week in April. Many of these emails look like they come from government agencies, such as the World Health Organization, and play on the fear many people are feeling during the pandemic. Although Google says that they have AI protections in place that block roughly 99.9% of these malicious emails, they have also partnered with WHO to implement a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) system to make it even harder for these types of messages to get through to Google’s users.

So what does this mean for small business owners? Now is the time to take steps to ensure your internal communications are protected. That starts with email. Use these 5 tips to make sure that your company’s email communications are protected. Click To Tweet (more…)

Integrity Martial Arts: Staying in Business and Fulfilling Service to Customers

June 16, 2020

Success Story: Connecticut

Integrity Martial Arts is a martial arts studio in Enfield, Connecticut that’s having a big impact on its students. Respect, self-control, and discipline — these are the founding principles owner Jonathan Metcalf teaches the young people who are enrolled in his classes.

Jonathan began working with CTSBDC advisor Denise Whitford in 2016, and since then he has been able to successfully grow his business through her advice, support, and guidance. Anticipating the state-mandated closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19, Integrity Martial Arts immediately shifted to serving its customers online. Click To Tweet In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic, the business has been able to maintain its customer base and find new opportunities to keep growing.

“Working with Jonathan has afforded me a dynamic view of his business challenges and opportunities,” stated Denise. “Yet when the impacts of COVID-19 forced him to close the doors for the safety of his instructors and his clients, he immediately pivoted his classes to a virtual setting. Although working in a virtual setting was not a new path for him, converting his martial arts studio was definitely outside the box.” (more…)

Transportation and Event Company Planning to Ride Out Virus Disruption

June 2, 2020

Success Story: Arkansas –

Arkansas Destinations owner Jana Cohen can point to the exact day the coronavirus pandemic disrupted her business.

“On March 12 all bookings for bus tours, events, and incoming travel cancelled or postponed. That was the last day we ran a trip,” said Cohen.

“Overnight, half of our business disappeared, and we had customers asking for money back from deposits they had made.”Eileen Devereux Dailey of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center advised Cohen as she applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL. Click To Tweet

In business since 2000, Cohen’s Little Rock-based company offers tours and event planning, primarily for convention groups. She also operates a fleet of mini buses, trolleys, motor coaches, and vans. (more…)

Auto repair business gets federal loan with SBDC assistance

May 19, 2020

Success Story: Georgia. By Emilie Gille –

ATC Auto CenterATC Auto Center in Augusta has been in business since 1972, with a second location in Grovetown added later. Brothers Brian and Chris Weeks own and operate the auto repair business they took over from their father nearly 20 years ago.

They’ve built a good clientele over the years and have 21 employees.

It all was threatened by COVID-19. Business slowed as Georgia residents sheltered in place, and businesses closed. The brothers realized that their savings would only last so long, and they didn’t want to lay off employees. But they knew that’s where they were headed.

“We worked too hard for too long to get the team that we have, and we didn’t want to have anything happen to them,” said Brian Weeks.

As longtime clients of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, the Weeks were among the local businesses that UGA public service faculty member Eric Frickey reached out to when the federal government approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included money for small businesses. (more…)