The Mill

May 29, 2019

Success Story: Wisconsin –

Wisconsin Success - The MillNancy Helms loved the vintage aesthetic of the former feed mill in downtown Chetek so much that she decided to fill it with a new business. The Mill is now a one-of-a-kind event venue with a modern-industrial vibe.

Nancy and her husband Leonard (Buddy) purchased the abandoned feed mill in May, 2016 and opened for business in May, 2017. Renovations included repairs to the roof and floor, and removing scrap steel and more. “We found an old tank of molasses and removed 1,000 gallons by hand, in 5-gallon pails.”

Nancy, a self-described antiques fanatic, loved restoring the building to its original state, only better. “We are ADA-compliant — we worked very hard to accomplish that,” said Nancy, who mentors developmentally delayed adults. Her aesthetic is an elegant mix of old and new that sets The Mill apart from competitors. (more…)

Ohio SBDC at Youngstown State University Wins National Award

April 30, 2019

Excellence Award - Ohio SBDC at YSUThe Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Youngstown State University is the national SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award winner for 2019. The award will be presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the celebration of National Small Business Week, from May 5-11.

During National Small Business Week, the SBA recognizes the contributions of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and organizations that support America’s small businesses in all 50 states and U.S. territories. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year.

The Ohio SBDC at Youngstown State University is a partnership program supported by the U.S. Congress and the President, the SBA, the Ohio Development Services Agency and Youngstown State University. Through its programs and services, the SBDC at Youngstown State provides entrepreneurial development assistance, training programs and high-end business consulting to existing businesses and start-up ventures. (more…)

St. Johnsbury, Vermont Child-Care Center Expands

April 10, 2019

By Amanda Kuhnert –

ABC & LOL Child Care CenterHeather Hudson had been running a successful child-care business in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for five years when she saw an opportunity to expand. A competing child-care center became available for purchase, and she wanted to buy it.

But was it a good idea? Hudson needed to determine whether the purchase was a sound financial move.

For help assessing the viability of the venture, Heather’s bank referred her to business advisor Ross Hart at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). Hart specializes in finance and business planning.

“Heather had a high degree of expertise in her industry and had been successful with her existing business,” Ross explained. “But she understood that there was a degree of complexity with purchasing another business that she didn’t fully understand. So she connected with me to help her review and assess the financials of the business she was interested in and develop some financial projections to complete her loan application package.” (more…)

From $7.25 to More than $15: Understand the Changing Dynamics of Minimum Wage Legislation

April 2, 2019

By ComplyRight –

Minimum Wage Monitor mapMinimum wage workers doing the same job are paid drastically different wages and it all depends on where they work.

States, cities, counties – and even corporations – are setting their own minimum wages for workers. This year alone, rates will go up in 20 states as well as numerous cities and counties. These are just the latest round of increases due to inaction at the federal level.

The national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed in a decade – despite many lawmakers pressing for an increase. However, it just might happen. A bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour has recently been introduced. And the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue in the coming weeks. (more…)

Making a Business Vision Clear

March 25, 2019

Success Story: Idaho –

Little Wood Vision Clinic, IdahoMatt Kent became interested in optometry as a 19-year-old, while serving as a volunteer at eye camps for under-served populations in India.

In 2015, he and his wife Becky started working with the Twin Falls CSI Small Business Development Center on a business plan for his own practice, closer to home. Since many grants and loan forgiveness programs available for rural areas are not offered to optometrists, support from the Idaho SBDC was important to Dr. Kent’s efforts to provide local eye care and employment in his small community. (more…)

America’s SBDCs Host 3rd Annual SBDC Day

March 20, 2019

SBDC Day logoThe nation’s largest, proven, cost effective small business assistance program invites you to the celebration!

For almost 40 years the America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has helped aspiring and emerging small business owners achieve the American dream of entrepreneurship. Today, March 20, SBDCs from around the country are coming together for one special day to celebrate their work, their impact, and most importantly, their clients — America’s small businesses.

With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDCs provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources to succeed. In 2017, America’s SBDC clients experienced annual sales growth of 18.1%, almost 4.5 times greater than the national average. SBDC assistance resulted in 93,471 jobs created; $7 billion in sales growth; $5.9 billion in capital investments; and 14,716 new businesses started. (more…)

The Julian Family Farm

March 18, 2019

Success Story: Wisconsin –

Jason and Katrina JulianKatrina and Jason Julian want to feed your family affordable, delicious, healthy dairy and beef products. Three generations, from Jason’s mom to the Julians’ three sons, work in the family business.

The Julians raise certified organic, grass-fed and grass-finished Fleckvieh cattle, a breed remarkable for its suitability for both meat and milk production. The Julians’ horses are just as remarkable: their team of American Brabants (a relative of the Belgian draft horse) takes the place of tractors for much of the farmwork.

Katrina and Jason, who both grew up on farms and met in the agricultural program at UW-River Falls, began farming conventionally when they bought a dairy farm in 1996. But a desire for a lifestyle more in line with their family values led to a switch in 2007. (more…)

America’s #SBDC Showcases Clients in the Nation’s Capital

February 14, 2019

America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SBDC leaders, advisors, clients, partners, and stakeholders gathered on Capitol Hill for the fifth annual Client Showcase and Reception on Tuesday, February 12. Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business, addressed the reception guests. Several of his colleagues also visited the reception, in which America’s SBDC Network showcased 11 SBDC clients from across the country.

(more…)

Creating a High-End Gaming and Technology Center – #SBDC Client Showcase

February 12, 2019

JesterLine (@JesterLineGT)
Countdown to the 2019 Client Showcase: #1.

SBDC: West Virginia SBDC – Upshur County EDA Center (wvsbdc.com)
JesterLine logoSBDC Advisor: Susannah Higgins.

JesterLine is West Virginia’s first high-end gaming technology and innovation center. It specializes in bringing the newest gaming technologies for all ages to the surrounding community, staying up-to-date with technology trends and advancements.

JesterLine offers customers a safe, family-friendly environment where they can experience the best that modern gaming has to offer, including competition with other gamers, both locally and globally through its network platform. It also gives its customers the opportunity to build necessary skills through computer-based training. It provides options for K-12 technology solutions and SMB services, with IT consultations, hardware and software solutions, and repairs. (more…)

Expanding its Exhibit Market Internationally – #SBDC Client Showcase

February 11, 2019

FLEXHIBIT (FLEXHIBIT.com)
Countdown to the 2019 Client Showcase: #2.

FLEXHIBITSBDC: Washington SBDC, Spokane (wsbdc.org)
SBDC Advisor: Vern Jenkins and Duane Fladland.

FLEXHIBIT is an exhibit manufacturing company that provides innovative, engaging, and high-quality STEM exhibits to Science Centers and Children’s Museums. With help from the Washington SBDC, FLEXHIBIT has successfully expanded its market internationally.

The company’s exhibits work with a portable, modular wall system called FlexWall, which allows customers to switch out inspiring STEM exhibits in a highly affordable manner, with quick turnaround times. Mounting on modular wall systems means you can rotate FLEXHIBIT exhibits – they can be swapped out in hours for new exhibits that can be arranged in a variety of patterns, which helps the science center or children’s museum stay relevant to its visitors. (more…)