Longwood Small Business Development Center supporting new & existing businesses 2018-02-23T16:54:13Z http://sbdc-longwood.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Colin Werth <![CDATA[SBDC offers a window of opportunity]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7785 2018-01-09T16:50:13Z 2018-01-08T22:09:23Z David WalwerDavid Walwer and his family-owned business, Virginia Auto Glass, have been giving residents of Petersburg and the surrounding communities a clearer view of their world for nearly four decades.

In addition to auto glass repair and replacement, Virginia Auto Glass offers repair or replacement services for door and window glass, commercial storefronts, screens, storm doors, mirrors, headlight restoration/cleaning, shower doors and retractable awnings.…

The post SBDC offers a window of opportunity appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
David WalwerDavid Walwer and his family-owned business, Virginia Auto Glass, have been giving residents of Petersburg and the surrounding communities a clearer view of their world for nearly four decades.

In addition to auto glass repair and replacement, Virginia Auto Glass offers repair or replacement services for door and window glass, commercial storefronts, screens, storm doors, mirrors, headlight restoration/cleaning, shower doors and retractable awnings.

“We take care of anything in glass,” Walwer says.

Walwer started in the glass business at a young age.

“My dad opened this business in 1978,” he says. “I went from cleaning the office to handing tools and assisting in the garage to managing the shop.”

Walwer took over the business and incorporated it under his name in 2010.

Shortly after that Walwer visited the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

“I went to SBDC for some help with financing,” he says. “The recession in 2007 really hit us hard.”

An SBDC consultant put Walwer in touch with the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA), the Commonwealth of Virginia’s business and economic development financing arm. VSBFA offers programs to provide businesses, not-for-profits, and economic development authorities with the financing needed for economic growth and expansion throughout the Commonwealth.

“At the time we needed money for our inventories and to bring another employee on board,” Walwer notes.

Over the years, times have changed for the 1970s business.

“I’ve seen changes in everything from the way glass is measured to the way we write tickets — from hand-written to computerized,” Walwer says.

For help with some of these changes, Walwer returned to SBDC for a class on Quickbooks. He’s also looking into some social media marketing.

“This is a competitive business,” he adds. “There are some reputable companies out there, but there are also some people who go out in a pickup truck with a caulking gun.”

Some competitors’ ads have actually helped Walwer’s business.

“When a national company started doing glass repair commercials, our business actually jumped up,” he says.

Customers started calling to see if Virginia Auto Glass offered the same service.

“Our answer was — yes we can come out to repair or replace a window or a windshield,” Walwer adds.

More recently Walwer returned to SBDC for assistance with another loan to replace an aging server in the office. Again the loan came through VSBFA.

“Working with SBDC made it easier for us,” he adds.

While the family-owned business has seen its ups and downs over the years, Walwer is pleased to see that his business is picking up again.

“People are starting to come back downtown,” he says of his North Market Street location. “The phones are ringing and people are busy.”

Walwer points to a framed sampler on the wall presented by a satisfied customer. It reads: “We take care of your pane.”

“That’s what we do,” Walwer concludes.

Virginia Auto Glass is a company that obviously believes in its slogan: “Better known for being the best.”

The post SBDC offers a window of opportunity appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Event Décor Galore – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7769 2017-12-18T18:30:33Z 2017-12-18T18:30:33Z Seithia MartinSeithia Martin traded a career in property management for a more personal form of management — event planning. This September she opened Event Décor Galore in Petersburg.

“I’m a people person,” Martin says. “I love to decorate and design with colors and flowers.”

Martin’s first stop in planning her business was the Crater Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Longwood University where she met with Crater SBDC Director Ellen Templeton.

The post Event Décor Galore – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Seithia MartinSeithia Martin traded a career in property management for a more personal form of management — event planning. This September she opened Event Décor Galore in Petersburg.

“I’m a people person,” Martin says. “I love to decorate and design with colors and flowers.”

Martin’s first stop in planning her business was the Crater Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Longwood University where she met with Crater SBDC Director Ellen Templeton.

“Ellen is wonderful,” Martin says. “She helped me with a business plan and how to figure my start up costs. She showed me how to build a great foundation.”

Martin found the SBDC Entrepreneur Planning Guide especially helpful.

“This booklet helps you understand the ‘whys’ of what you need to do,” she adds. “This helps you write your vision and also puts it into perspective.”

“SBDC is a true blessing,” Martin concludes. “Good information makes all the difference in the world.”

The post Event Décor Galore – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Boutique grows from college dream to downtown success]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7765 2017-12-18T18:10:55Z 2017-12-18T18:10:55Z Sarah RoddenThe Lizzy Lou Boutique in Danville’s River District started with a plan Sarah Rodden made while she was a student at Virginia Tech.

“I was taking a small business class my last semester, and we had to write a business plan for opening a small store front,” Rodden says.

The post Boutique grows from college dream to downtown success appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Sarah RoddenThe Lizzy Lou Boutique in Danville’s River District started with a plan Sarah Rodden made while she was a student at Virginia Tech.

“I was taking a small business class my last semester, and we had to write a business plan for opening a small store front,” Rodden says.

Rodden, who graduated with a degree in communications and apparel product development, remembered that plan after she graduated when she realized how hard it was to find a job.

Rodden started small with an online boutique she operated from home on nights and weekends.

“I did a few trunk shows, and my customer base grew,” she adds.

In 2015 Rodden opened her storefront on Main Street in Danville.

“The building was an empty shell — I put up the racks and lighting and planned the layout,” she said. “I still sell online, but most of my business is in-store. I’ve found that customers prefer to touch and feel — and try things on.”

From the start Rodden’s goal was to bring the latest style in women’s apparel and accessories to Danville at an affordable price.

Her business plan is working well.

“My business grows every year,” she said. “It keeps getting better and better — I have two part-time employees now. The River District Association has also helped our downtown. Just in the last two years since I’ve been here, it’s grown tremendously.”

It was through the River District Association that Rodden made a connection with Lin Hite and Marc Willson from the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Danville.

The Association recently contacted SBDC to work with downtown merchants in Danville.

“We each got an hour to spend with Lin and Marc and bounce ideas off them,” Rodden added.

The small business consultants have been back several times to meet with Rodden, discussing marketing strategies and even social media marketing.

“It has all been helpful,” says Rodden.

Rodden also sees a strong downtown association as a definite plus.

“It helps when we all work together,” she noted. “If all the stores decide to stay open at night, for instance, downtown becomes more of a shopping destination. We try to emphasize the shop local aspect.”

Customers, Rodden found, appreciate the individual attention a small business can provide.

“The people I meet in my store make this job fun — I have amazing employees and customers,” Rodden says.  “I’m glad I took a chance and opened my business in Danville. I feel blessed to have this opportunity.”

The post Boutique grows from college dream to downtown success appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Uptech – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7756 2017-12-01T00:02:09Z 2017-11-30T23:58:01Z CONSULTANT Brandon Hennessey
CLIENT SINCE 2017
INDUSTRY IT services

Kayla Baldino and Jane WhalingUptech, as the name implies, knows what’s up with technology.

“We started as a business-to-business model doing IT work, website development and security work,” Jane Whaling said. “Recently we’ve added cell phone and computer repair.”

This is the second Uptech location for the Whalings who live in Richmond.…

The post Uptech – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
CONSULTANT Brandon Hennessey
CLIENT SINCE 2017
INDUSTRY IT services

Kayla Baldino and Jane WhalingUptech, as the name implies, knows what’s up with technology.

“We started as a business-to-business model doing IT work, website development and security work,” Jane Whaling said. “Recently we’ve added cell phone and computer repair.”

This is the second Uptech location for the Whalings who live in Richmond.

After opening in October, the Whalings joined the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.

“Within a week we were contacted by the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC),” Whaling said.

A second meeting followed with SBDC business analyst Brandon Hennessey.

Also assisting with community relations is student intern Kayla Baldino, a Longwood senior majoring in marketing/graphic design.

“Kayla’s been very helpful — we have a good rapport,” Whaling noted. “Everyone’s been very welcoming!”

The post Uptech – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Mattie B’s – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7748 2017-11-30T23:50:53Z 2017-11-30T23:49:59Z CONSULTANT Michael Duncan
CLIENT SINCE 2015
INDUSTRY boutique store

Matilda HunsickerMattie B’s in downtown Stuart specializes in “a little something for everyone.”

“I bring the city to town,” Matilda Hunsicker said of her Main Street business in the town of 1,300.

Hunsicker started her business with a booth in the town emporium.…

The post Mattie B’s – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
CONSULTANT Michael Duncan
CLIENT SINCE 2015
INDUSTRY boutique store

Matilda HunsickerMattie B’s in downtown Stuart specializes in “a little something for everyone.”

“I bring the city to town,” Matilda Hunsicker said of her Main Street business in the town of 1,300.

Hunsicker started her business with a booth in the town emporium.

“Then I moved across the street, and Mattie B’s blossomed,” she added.

Hunsicker, who has a degree in economics, met Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant Michael Duncan two years ago. He worked with Matilda one on one.

Four years later, Mattie B’s continues to experience growth.

“We have a growing base and have seen a growth of 50 percent in sales,” she said.

Hunsicker advises potential business owners to seek advice.

“I tell them to see SBDC!” she concluded.

The post Mattie B’s – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Four Paw Bed & Biscuit – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7742 2017-11-30T23:33:21Z 2017-11-30T23:33:21Z CLIENT SINCE 2017
INDUSTRY pet care

Amanda WellsAmanda Wells turned a love for animals into a business — but first she turned to Longwood SBDC.

Wells, who graduated from Longwood University with a degree in biology, initially hoped to become a veterinarian.…

The post Four Paw Bed & Biscuit – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
CLIENT SINCE 2017
INDUSTRY pet care

Amanda WellsAmanda Wells turned a love for animals into a business — but first she turned to Longwood SBDC.

Wells, who graduated from Longwood University with a degree in biology, initially hoped to become a veterinarian.

“Life steered me in another direction,” she said. “When I was in college I started pet sitting in people’s homes. When I started bringing dogs home, I decided to expand.”

A mutual friend steered Wells to SBDC.

“I’m good at my job, but the logistics of a business — I had no clue,” Wells said. “SBDC helped me with a business plan — I couldn’t have done it without that.”

In August Four Paw Bed & Biscuit opened for business.

“SBDC is a great asset,” Wells concluded. “They provided me with a wealth of resources.”

The post Four Paw Bed & Biscuit – Client Celebration appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[JR’s puts the more in music]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7738 2017-11-30T21:57:43Z 2017-11-30T21:54:45Z Lloyd and Toni France When Lloyd France Jr. opened for business in the former Woodall Music location in Collinsville, he wanted more than a music store. JR’s Music and More lives up to its name and his dream. France offers everything from instrument rentals to sound system support.…

The post JR’s puts the more in music appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Lloyd and Toni France When Lloyd France Jr. opened for business in the former Woodall Music location in Collinsville, he wanted more than a music store. JR’s Music and More lives up to its name and his dream. France offers everything from instrument rentals to sound system support.

“I’ve loved music all my life,” France said. “Coming up in school, I played drums in band and sang in the choir.”

Along with his parents, France sang in The Family Five Gospel.

“The group’s special because his grandparents started it 72 years ago,” France’s wife Toni said.

While a novice business owner, France knew something about the retail music business. He was employed for ten years at Woodall’s Music.

“I was a sales rep and did guitar repairs,” France noted. “When Sandy Woodall closed the business, I saw an opportunity and decided to take it.”

France also saw a need in the community. For years Woodall’s Music had provided band instruments for local schools.

“I wanted these kids to have the same chance I did,” France commented of his decision to start his own business.

Admittedly “a big leap” for France, plans began to take shape when he connected with Longwood Small Business Development Consultant Kelvin Perry.

“Kelvin and I sat down one afternoon and discussed everything I wanted to do,” France said. “The second time we met we started putting plans into action.”

Perry also helped France create a business plan.

“I worked with Kelvin for about four months,” France noted.

France also attended a small business class taught by Perry at Patrick Henry Community College.

“I learned about keeping financial records and how growth is important,” France said. “They told us to keep inventory low at first. If you don’t plan carefully, that can take you out of business.”

Following Perry’s advice paid off — since opening last December JR’s has seen a steady increase in its customer base.

Lloyd and his wife Toni also participated in the SmartSTART program offered through Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Division.

“We received two grants through that program that came to about $6,000,” Toni noted. “That was very helpful.”

From the beginning, being helpful hit the right chord with France.

“We want JR’s Music to be a hands-on business,” he said. “It’s family oriented — come in, sit down — try a guitar!”

JR’s also offers sound system support. If a microphone goes out in church, JR’s is ready to help — often before a service starts.

Local schools continue to depend on JR’s for band instruments.

Toni points to a display of clarinets, trumpets and flutes.

“We have affordable rent-to-own plans,” she adds.

For older students JR’s offers piano and guitar lessons. “Stop dreaming, start playing” is the store motto.

That motto also applies to would-be recording artists. There’s a recording studio upstairs for demos or making CDs.

Future plans include a venue for local performers. JR’s Pickin’ Porch will soon be open, and anyone who’d like to sing or play is welcome.

“For Christmas, we’re planning a recital for our students,” Toni added.

“The whole purpose at JR’s is sharing music,” France concluded.

What more could anyone ask of a music store?

The post JR’s puts the more in music appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Gymnastic success – SBDC puts idea in motion]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7730 2017-12-01T17:57:17Z 2017-11-30T21:31:07Z Natalie KimmelAs a gymnast Natalie Kimmel likes to keep moving. When Kimmel had an idea for a gym and tumbling center, she took it to Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Motion Gymnastics, now in its second year, is on solid ground and growing.…

The post Gymnastic success – SBDC puts idea in motion appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Natalie KimmelAs a gymnast Natalie Kimmel likes to keep moving. When Kimmel had an idea for a gym and tumbling center, she took it to Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Motion Gymnastics, now in its second year, is on solid ground and growing.

Kimmel, a pre-K instructor at a local preschool  in Farmville, grew up in a small town in Indiana.

“I got my degree in special education in elementary education  from Indiana University,” she said. “I taught for six years in Indiana before my husband’s job brought us to Farmville.”

Kimmel, who trained and competed in the USA Gymnastics (USAG) Junior Olympic program, was dismayed to find that Farmville had no gym.

“I taught tumbling classes at the YMCA for four years, but when that position ended, I started thinking about opening my own gym,” she said. “A friend of mine had just consulted SBDC for assistance in starting her own business, so I decided to give them a call.”

At Longwood SBDC, Kimmel found a welcoming attitude and a wealth of information.

“They helped me run the numbers and price equipment,” she related. “My consultant put me in touch with the owner of the building where I’m located.”

Kimmel continued to plan and meet with SBDC.

“I’d do my homework and then come back,” she added.

During the planning stages, SBDC helped set up a focus group that included local families with small children.

“In the focus group we talked about different ideas about classes and pricing,” Kimmel said. “That gave me some feedback — and the confidence to go ahead.”

The next step was to secure a business loan.

“Creating a business plan was a very valuable piece when looking for a loan,” Kimmel added. “With a projection sheet I could speak to the bank. I’m very glad I had that tool.”

Kimmel, now in her second year as a business owner, still refers to her business plan.

“I have that as a sounding board,” she said. “I know where I stand.”

Kimmel started her business in October 2016 with roughly 100 students.

“I actually had people sign up a month before I opened my doors,” she said. “That was encouraging.”

Now Kimmel teaches 20 classes a week with 150 students — an increase of 50 percent in one year. While she is currently the only employee, Kimmel plans to add more instructors in the future.

Whatever that future brings, Kimmel is reassured by the fact that she can return to SBDC for assistance and advice.

“I called my SBDC consultant after I opened my business,” she said. “I remember asking him — ‘Am I supposed to stop calling now?’”

He assured Kimmel that she was always welcome to come back to SBDC.

“He said that some of his best clients continued to call SBDC on a regular basis,” she said. “He told me that if you’re asking questions, you’re doing something right.”

“The attitude at the SBDC office was great,” Kimmel concluded. “As a small business owner I appreciate that very much.”

The post Gymnastic success – SBDC puts idea in motion appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Longwood SBDC welcomes consultants in new regional structure]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7717 2017-11-29T01:20:28Z 2017-11-17T20:55:41Z SBDC TeamThe Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) has adopted a new regional approach that utilizes experienced, independent consultants to better serve the small businesses in 19 counties and six independent cities in South-Central Virginia.

“Where we had five specific office location before, we’ve created  three sub-regions,” Longwood SBDC Executive Director Sheri McGuire said.…

The post Longwood SBDC welcomes consultants in new regional structure appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
SBDC TeamThe Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) has adopted a new regional approach that utilizes experienced, independent consultants to better serve the small businesses in 19 counties and six independent cities in South-Central Virginia.

“Where we had five specific office location before, we’ve created  three sub-regions,” Longwood SBDC Executive Director Sheri McGuire said. “We’ve shifted Mecklenburg and Brunswick into our central region covered from Farmville. Lin Hite manages client services in our western region as regional director. Ellen Templeton manages client services in our eastern region as regional director.”

In addition to LSBDC’s staff of regional directors and general business analysts, the independent consultants will provide a broader menu of services and higher level of skill sets.

New to the LSBDC consultant team is Jon Van Cleave, who has 25 years of experience with the global corporation, Reynolds Metals/Alcoa, as well as working as an independent consultant.

“Billion-dollar companies put a lot of money behind financial planning and analysis. Small businesses need the same analysis — just on a smaller scale,” Van Cleave said.

“I do financial planning and analysis including business evaluations and acquisition integration, product and customer profitability analysis, and budgeting and forecasting.”

Van Cleave, who has been traveling on a weekly basis for the past seven years, looks forward to settling in Farmville. He and his wife are currently renovating an older home on High Street.

“I’m looking forward to focusing on Virginia,” he added. “I’m the kind of consultant that likes to work side-by-side with a client — not just come in, advise and leave. I want to work as a partner.”  Van Cleave will be available to work throughout the SBDC territories.

Michael Duncan and Kelvin Perry continue to serve as independent consultants in the western region and are available for online consultations throughout the territory as necessary.

“Michael Duncan specializes in manufacturing and operations for existing businesses ,” McGuire explained. “Kelvin Perry, who works for the City of Danville in the economic development office, also works as an independent consultant  for LSBDC on an as-needed basis.”

“I provide counseling to start-ups or for clients who want to grow an existing business,” Perry said. “I meet with clients in Martinsville after hours, but I’m flexible.”

Randy Lail provides independent counseling on a volunteer basis.

“He’s a retired CFO for Peebles Department Store whose specialty is retail and finance,” McGuire said.

A recent addition the LSBDC office in Farmville is Brandon Hennessey, who completed his MBA at Longwood University. As business analyst, Hennessey assists clients with marketing, financial analysis, and developing a business plan.

“I can give clients a good practical abstract of where they’re headed and what actions they need to take to be successful,” Hennessey said. “Developing interpersonal relationships with my clients is important to me — I want them to feel comfortable in discussing their plans and problems.”

McGuire sees the regional structure with new consultants and analysts as a way to provide greater service to small business owners in the LSBDC service area.

“We believe that providing specific and specialized resources to grow existing businesses can create an even greater impact in the community,” she concluded. “Assisting start-ups also remains an important part of what we do.”

The post Longwood SBDC welcomes consultants in new regional structure appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
Colin Werth <![CDATA[Southern Plenty, SBDC and a plan — a recipe for success]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=7682 2017-10-10T17:55:41Z 2017-10-10T17:55:41Z South Boston’s Southern Plenty is a café that lives up to its name. Advertised as “nourishment for the body and mind,” the Main Street business offers a variety of southern-style menu items — and plenty of other choices as well.

“I opened Southern Plenty eight years ago as a bookstore,” Mary Bagwell said.…

The post Southern Plenty, SBDC and a plan — a recipe for success appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>
South Boston’s Southern Plenty is a café that lives up to its name. Advertised as “nourishment for the body and mind,” the Main Street business offers a variety of southern-style menu items — and plenty of other choices as well.

“I opened Southern Plenty eight years ago as a bookstore,” Mary Bagwell said.

“Then I met my husband, Don, and expanded,” she added with a smile.

She’s been adding new things ever since.

A second-floor renovation currently is underway. Helping to fund the project was a $10,000 grant Mary received in the SoBo Start Up grant competition. The expansion plan includes more seating, a bakery for specialty cakes, a wine bar and a gallery for local artists.

“Lin Hite, Regional Director for the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC), taught the SoBo business boot camp,” Mary said. “He was wonderful — everybody connected to the program was wonderful.”

A small business owner for years, Mary had never written a business plan. For her, the plan was an eye-opener.

“Mary’s been through a lot of businesses, but she’s never had any business education,” Don said. “Writing a business plan supplemented her understanding of her own business and the restaurant business in general.”

“That really brought together all my ideas,” Mary added. “Also financially it was good to see where we’re at and where we’re going. It made me feel like I had a hold on the reins in this wonderful evolving business.”

In addition to food, Southern Plenty offers a variety of artwork, craft item and specialty foods.

“Just look around,” Don said as he pointed to an array of gourmet items. “This is not what you’d expect to find in Southside Virginia.”

Although she’s not from the south, Mary designs her menu with southern palates in mind.

“I also use a lot of local produce,” Mary added.

Today the menu includes a root veggie stew.

“I think the restaurant is successful because Mary is such an eclectic thinker,” Don added.

Mary is excited about her upstairs bakery. Named “Pleasantries,” her new line will include cakes made to order, ice cream sandwiches featuring with homemade cookies, fine chocolates and fruit bouquets.

While this product line seems assured of success, Mary noted that new ideas often come with risks.

“I’ll risk $500 on a new item,” Mary noted. “If it doesn’t work out, I put it on sale and take a new direction.”

SBDC classes, Mary noted, helped her see her business growth.

“When I opened, it was just me and my ex-husband, and I think we had seating for eight,” she said. “Now I have six employees — eight counting myself and Don — and can seat 60.”

This year Mary expects Southern Plenty to realize a 15 to 20 percent increase in volume.

“With SBDC classes and a business plan, I could see I’d done the right things,” Mary concluded. “Business boot camp brought it all together. It was wonderful!”

The post Southern Plenty, SBDC and a plan — a recipe for success appeared first on Longwood Small Business Development Center.

]]>