America’s SBDC Blog

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From Big Box to Building Trust: Dr. Clark’s Journey to Personalized Pharmacy Care

December 26, 2023

Dr. Andrew Clark knew there had to be a better way to do pharmacy. Tired of the impersonal service at big-box stores, he dreamed of opening his own pharmacy where patients could come first. But starting a business is no walk in the park, especially for someone with no business background.

That’s where the Mississippi Small Business Development Center (SBDC) came in. The SBDC provided Dr. Clark with the free resources and expert advice he needed to turn his dream into reality. From writing a business plan to navigating the ins and outs of marketing and finance, the SBDC was there every step of the way.

“The SBDC was the secret weapon I never knew I needed,” says Dr. Clark. “They helped me with everything from choosing the right location to setting up my finances. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help.”

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Mobile Bartending Business ‘Accidentally’ Expands

December 19, 2023

Friends and business partners Misty Willbanks and Stacy Drilling started their entrepreneurial journey together in 2021 when they launched Southern Sippery Mobile Bar.

Previously, Willbanks worked with her local Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center on a different idea that didn’t materialize. But when the mobile bar idea came along, things fell into place.

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College Student Grows A Unique Business In Vermont

December 12, 2023

By Amanda Kuhnert

Peter Miller started his first business when he was eight years old. He made duct tape wallets and sold them at school and craft fairs. In high school, he ran a clothing company that sold shirts, hoodies, and stickers. And in college, after discovering a passion for woodworking, Miller and a friend created a YouTube channel, FishOverChicksWoodworking, that now has over 10K followers. They make videos of woodworking tutorials and projects.

“I’ve always been entrepreneurial minded,” said Miller, who is now a junior at Champlain College, studying business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship. His latest business venture, The Portable Mini Golf Company, pairs his career aspirations and woodworking prowess. He rents out 9-, 18-, and 36-hole mini-golf courses for group events. Rentals include the course, clubs, balls, scorecards, and pencils. The course can be erected indoors or outdoors, and the price includes set up and take down.

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SBDC Corner Coaching Supports Bellingham Small Business Growth

December 5, 2023

By Hope Tinney, Washington SBDC

BELLINGHAM, Wash.— In Jeff Shaw’s previous work, he was fighting to save the planet. Now, as owner of Bellingham BJJ, a training academy for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he’s helping students learn to fight for their own improved physical and mental health.

“It’s definitely as rewarding [as my previous work was],” said Shaw, a former deputy director of communications for the Sierra Club, who has been practicing jiu-jitsu since 2010. Creating Bellingham BJJ has been a passion project, Shaw said, something he felt compelled to do for his own physical and mental health. He said sharing it with others and seeing the business grow has been the most gratifying thing he’s ever done.

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UGA helps with strategic marketing and business decisions to help expand business

November 30, 2023

By Jenny Giarratano

Marty Hooks could have chosen a life of leisure after working 30 years in the metal buildings industry. However, when his employer began downsizing and offered him an early retirement buyout, he decided to open his own business to create jobs for veterans and young people in his adopted hometown of St. Mary’s, Georgia.

Hooks, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, used his buyout to fund his vision of a service company that sells, drafts and engineers pre-engineered metal buildings, opening PEMB in May 2020. While planning, he contacted University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC) consultant Jennifer Lee at the UGA SBDC in Brunswick.

“I knew about the UGA SBDC program early on and reached out to Jennifer to tell her what we envisioned doing,” Hooks said.

Lee worked with Hooks to secure a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) CAPLine loan, designed to help small businesses meet short term and cyclical capital needs. Hooks previously had some loan-related issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic.

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