2014 annual report

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Annual Report

Seventeen South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) across the state offer individual, confidential business consulting at no cost. Consultants assist both existing and startup companies. Consultants provide a variety of services, including advisement on business plans, fiscal and operations management, financing options, marketing strategies, human resources and much more. Centers conduct affordable education workshops and provide referrals to useful business resources. Specialized services include government contracting, exporting, technology commercialization, veterans business assistance and minority outreach.

South Carolina Small Business Development Centers by region Gr







Winthrop Region

Pickens Oconee


Florence Myrtle Beach Rock Hill








Union Anderson



w en









Marion Florence







Clemson Greenville Spartanburg Greenwood




e Gr

Clemson Region


Edgefield Calhoun




Georgetown Orangeburg Barnwell




te es

h rc r

Allendale Colleton

SC State Region Orangeburg

Hampton Charleston



Office includes a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

Visit us! SCSBDC.com Like us! Facebook.com/SCSBDC Follow us! Twitter.com/SCSBDC

USC Region

Aiken Beaufort Charleston North Charleston Columbia Hilton Head Newberry Sumter

Contents 1 2 3 4 5-7

About Us/Advisory Board

8 From Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce, SC DOC From Michele Abraham, State Director, SC SBDC From Dr. Roger Weikle, SC SBDC Consortium Chair

9 9-15


State Star


Success Stories



In appreciation of Frank L. Roddey for his leadership and support in the creation of the SC Small Business Development Centers

We’re big on small business. For 35 years, entrepreneurs have turned to the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers. The SC SBDC’s mission is to advance the state’s economic development by helping entrepreneurs grow successful businesses. This means not only assisting the formation of new ventures, but also helping existing businesses find new markets and faltering companies to stay on course. SC SBDC consultants tailor their approach to meet the needs of any business—from a technology startup to a local restaurant to a manufacturing plant with 500 employees. The SC SBDC offers client education and no-cost confidential counseling on financing, marketing, employee management, importing and exporting, strategic planning, market expansion, bookkeeping, technology commercialization, manufacturing and government procurement. There are also focused programs for veterans and minority-owned businesses. The SC SBDC is always evolving and developing new programming to meet the needs of an ever-shifting economy. Visit www.SCSBDC.com for more information on educational seminars, workshops, business resources and consulting services available throughout the state.

Advisory Board Steve Bailey, CEO and Chairman, Merus Refreshment Services Barbara Blau, Chair and President, DP Professionals H. Greg Hyman, Owner, Hyman Vineyards Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes, Owner, Thee Matriarch Bed & Breakfast Dr. Alonzo Johnson, President and CEO, Agape Certified Nursing Assistant Academy Frank Knapp, Jr., President and CEO, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Noel, Deputy Secretary, SC Department of Commerce A. O’Neil Rashley, Jr., Senior Vice President and Counsel, SC Bankers Association Raymond F. Reich, Downtown Development Manager, City of Florence James Rohrer, Senior Credit Team Lead, TD Bank Louise Schmidt, President, Life Industries Corporation John A. Walter, President and CEO, PMG Management Group and Owner, Clemson Cleaning Co. Robert (Rob) F. Youngblood, President, York County Regional Chamber of Commerce Honorary member, Elliott Cooper, District Director, Small Business Administration


Bobby Hitt Secretary of Commerce, SC Department of Commerce As South Carolina’s business agency, the Department of Commerce knows that companies of all sizes contribute to the health of our economy and the stability of our communities. Small businesses are in a sense the backbone of our economy, employing today more than 719,000 people in the state’s private sector–nearly half of the state’s overall workforce. South Carolina is focused on maintaining and enhancing our business-friendly climate that attracts global firms and local startups alike. We are fortunate to have a partner in the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) who help ensure that our small businesses have the tools they need to succeed. Throughout the last 35 years, the no-cost services provided to our small businesses seeking assistance have paid dividends all across our state. In the past five years alone, the SC SBDC has served 22,660 small business clients and assisted in the creation or retention of more than 7,200 jobs in our state. Bringing jobs and opportunities to our rural communities is a special area of focus for our agency, so I am especially proud of the partnership we forged last year with the SC SBDC to establish resource centers in some of the state’s more rural areas. Knowing that rural businesses traditionally have been underserved, I believe that the consulting services and additional resources in these areas of the state will be beneficial not only to those communities, but to the overall economic growth of our state. We congratulate the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers on their ongoing efforts to support the small business community and get results. The SC SBDC’s team is built on integrity, commitment and professionalism and Commerce is proud to continue our relationship for many years to come.

Warm regards,

Robert M. Hitt III Secretary of Commerce, SC Department of Commerce


Michele Abraham State Director, SC Small Business Development Centers Dear Friends, Partners and Clients, I am pleased to present the third annual report for the SC SBDC. This report provides a snapshot of the success and economic scope of South Carolina’s small to mid-sized companies. It also describes the results of the SC SBDC efforts to support and assist these enterprises that are so vital to our economy. The data included in this report confirms the improving state of our economy, which has finally started to positively impact our smaller businesses. The state has done an outstanding job of bringing in new business, which has stimulated growth in industries ranging from aviation/aerospace to logistics and services. Much of the business infrastructure to support this growth comes from homegrown small businesses. These companies were not recruited into the state with grants or incentives to locate and expand here. They are South Carolina companies already committed to our state and critical to the health of our economy. The mission of the SC SBDC is to help these small to mid-sized companies grow and thrive in all 46 counties. We accomplish this through in-depth one-on-one management consulting and educational programs. We work with existing firms with up to 500 employees, as well as entrepreneurs in the early stages of their companies. In 2014, we introduced new initiatives and enhanced existing services to improve our ability to help our clients achieve their dreams. This includes a robust outreach effort into a number of underserved rural communities, expanded international trade consulting, as well as enhanced marketing programs. In 2014, the SC SBDC assisted 4,898 clients to create or retain 1,185 jobs, obtain $42.4 million in financing, start 157 new businesses and win $1.8 billion in government contracts. These results were significant increases over the prior year and we anticipate that results will continue to improve in the coming year. This year is a milestone for our network. The SC Small Business Development Centers were opened in 1979. Our program was one of the first in the nation and we are proud to have contributed to the economic growth of our state for 35 years. Please take a few moments to review the wealth of information included in this report. If you have questions or need advice, don’t hesitate to ask us. We can help. Sincerely,


Michele Abraham State Director, SC SBDC

Roger Weikle SC SBDC Consortium Chair Dear Clients, Friends and Stakeholders,

The South Carolina SBDC network is hosted by a consortium of four university business schools (USC, Clemson, Winthrop and SC State) with additional support from other universities, colleges and technical schools throughout the state. As hosts, we house the SBDC centers, provide support of this business outreach program and collaborate on a variety of educational programs for entrepreneurs, small businesses and students. In my role as Dean of Winthrop University’s College of Business Administration, I have worked with the SC SBDC for many years and have also served as chair of the university consortium numerous times. As a result, I have the unique perspective of having witnessed and assisted with the progress of the organization over the years. The network has grown in its impact on individual entrepreneurs and in its importance as part of our state’s coordinated efforts aligned with national support for small business. At its foundation, the program helped startup entrepreneurs with the basics of business structure, business plans and financing. As demand for services and the expertise of SBDC consults grew, so did the diversity of services. With efficient sharing of resources across the state, assistance for established businesses has grown and more specialty services and experts were added in areas such as exporting, product commercialization and government contracting. In addition to new tools and online training for clients, the SC SBDC established outreach programs for veteran and minority business owners and expanded into underserved rural markets with new counseling centers in several communities. The SC SBDC now also provides services customized to the needs of high-impact businesses that are poised for growth. To bring awareness to this new level of service and access, the network refreshed its branding and redesigned its website to showcase extended services and capabilities. Team counseling, collaboration with educational partners and economic development entities all feed into a program designed for maximum effectiveness. Today, the SC SBDC is a network of experienced professionals from many different fields and disciplines who receive ongoing specialized training to meet the needs of our state’s small businesses. They are passionate and committed to helping small businesses succeed. The network has set clear priorities and a strategic direction that I am confident will guide them and the clients they serve to continued success. Sincerely,

Roger D. Weikle, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Business Administration Winthrop University


In 2014, the SC SBDC network helped 4,898 entrepreneurs: • • • •

create or retain 1,185 jobs. start 157 new ventures. create $42.4 million in capital formation. secure more than $1.8 Billion in government contracts.

SC SBDC welcomes new technology commercialization specialist The South Carolina SBDC welcomes Dr. Jim Wasson as our new technology commercialization specialist. Wasson will assist small businesses and university research partners in identifying and winning federal Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grants. He will also provide consulting assistance in commercialization, growth strategies, financing, IP strategies, business management, government contracting, networking and business development. Wasson comes to the SC SBDC from Growth Strategies International (GSI), a management consulting firm that assists entrepreneurs in the creation and expansion of businesses. At GSI, Wasson worked with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy providing assistance on the SBIR Commercialization Readiness Program. He also provided composite manufacturing engineering project management support and training on the 787 Dreamliner program for Boeing South Carolina. Jim Wasson Prior to relocating to the Charleston area in 2010, he was Chief Technology Business Consultant Officer (CTO) at BAE Systems, a major aerospace and defense company, where he planned and directed new product development and created and led the Whenever the opportunity arises in my Innovation Venture in the U.S. and Europe. Wasson has 20 years of experience role as a member of the South Carolina as Director of Program Management and Business Development at Smiths General Assembly, I advocate and Aerospace (now GE Aviation) and McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). promote the South Carolina State Region Wasson, who was Chairman of the Graduate Business and Management Small Business Development Center College for the University of Phoenix in West Michigan and an MBA adjunct (SBDC) and am delighted to do so. I professor for 15 years has published several textbooks. Wasson has also appreciate the valuable services that the SBDC is providing to Orangeburg County founded and operated several successful high-tech small businesses. and the surrounding region. The SBDC is “We are pleased to welcome Jim to our network. We are fortunate to have a consultant with his wide range of experience,” said Michele Abraham, SC a viable partner in the continued growth of this community and I look forward SBDC state director. “He will be a great assist to SBDC clients as our state’s to working with you for many years to knowledge economy grows.” come. Wasson will be located in the North Charleston Area SBDC office, but is Senator John W. Matthews available to any SBDC client in South Carolina. To make an appointment contact Wasson at 843.804.9026 or wassonjw@mailbox.sc.edu.


SC SBDC works with SBA to help veterans and service members move from Boots to Business From service to startup is the motto of the Boots to Business entrepreneurial education initiative offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an elective track within the Department of Defense’s revised Transition Assistance Program. The curriculum assists service members exploring self-employment opportunities by leading them through the process of evaluating a business concept and learning about what is required to develop a business plan. Participants are introduced to SBA resources available to help access startup capital and additional technical assistance. This program promotes entrepreneurship as a post-service career option for those interested in the opportunities and challenges of business ownership. Subject matter experts and practitioners from SBA and its network of partners teach the course at more than 165 military installations worldwide. In South Carolina, SC SBDC business consultants work with the program at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, Ft. Jackson in Columbia, MCAS Beaufort also serving the Paris Island Recruit Depot and the Beaufort Navy Hospital, as well as the Joint Base Charleston that serves Charleston Air Force Base and Charleston Navy Weapons Station. “Boots to Business participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan and launch their own company,” said SC SBDC Veterans Outreach Manager, Jim Giffin. “Our work with this SBA program has been successful and these new businesses our service members start contribute to the growth of our economy.”

Remembering Frank L. Roddey In 2014, we took an appreciative look back at the part that Senator Frank L. Roddey played in the beginning of the SC SBDC. In the late 1970s, the senator was a driving force behind making South Carolina a pilot program of the national Small Business Development Centers network. Senator Roddey of Lancaster County spent his career in service to his fellow South Carolinians. He served his local community with distinction in the 1950s, then he became a state senator due to his forward thinking on economic development. He was known as a man of hard work, strong leadership and high integrity who kept the lines of communication South Carolina has been successful open between labor, management and government. in bringing large corporations and companies to our state, but if we are During his tenure in the South Carolina Senate, to be all that we can be, more small the senator worked diligently to help form the Small businesses need to be established Business Development Center in South Carolina. and developed. The SBDC continues Unfortunately, he did not live to see his advocacy to play an essential role in support of find fruition; so to honor his work in promoting new and fledging small businesses, small business and his efforts to establish an SBDC and I look forward to continuing my network in the state, the SC SBDC was initially named in his honor. work with them in the future. While the network was rebranded in 2012, Senator Roddey’s influence is Congressman James E. Clyburn still appreciated today by all involved with the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, our partners and stakeholders.


Rock Hill Area SBDC focuses on Latino entrepreneurs In 2010, the Rock Hill Area SBDC sensed a change in their client market that included a need for assistance in the Latino business community. After a few outreach attempts, the center learned that the Hispanic community faced many cultural, educational and language challenges in business. The Rock Hill Area SBDC hired Spanish-speaking graduate assistants, as well as a business consultant and began outreach with special Latino business events and media appearances. Collateral materials were translated to Spanish and a blog was created. In 2014, outreach included a webinar entitled “Tips to Optimize Your Business,” which discussed marketing, financial management, IRS tips and resources for small businesses. Spanish-speaking consultants from the Rock Hill Area SBDC also collaborated with the SBA and the IRS to present a webinar about the IRS’s small business division. On a national level, they participated as panelists in the SBA’s Office Caroline Portugal and Eduardo Venegas of Entrepreneurship Education’s nationwide Google+ Hangout where 175 SpanishRock Hill Area SBDC Business Consultants speaking young entrepreneurs talked business for nearly two hours. The Rock Hill Area SBDC provides services to Spanish-speaking clients throughout the state. Frequently, clients travel from Charleston and Greenville to meet with consultants and attend workshops. The Rock Hill Area SBDC is dedicated to this emerging market and will continue to collaborate with stakeholders and key partners within the Hispanic community.

SC SBDC partners with DOC for rural business development outreach In 2014, the SC SBDC, in a cooperative partnership with the SC Department of Commerce (DOC), began a process to establish new consulting centers in rural areas where the business population was deemed to be underserved. Each center is there to support the needs of existing businesses, as well as assisting entrepreneurs considering opening a new venture. “It is important that we serve all of our constituents,” said SC SBDC State Director Michele Abraham. “The businesses in rural parts We are fortunate in South Carolina of our state are just as important to us as the ones to have a network of SBDCs that are located in more urban areas.” second to none. They provide invaluable The first center to be opened was in Allendale, consulting, training and tools necessary followed by one in Union, Cheraw and then to support our state’s small business entrepreneurs. This is a perfect example Georgetown. Consultants are reaching out into of a public-private partnership that has the communities and establishing relationships that will bring attention to the produced measurable results over the services their center provides. And while each of the new centers are open years—millions of dollars in capital on a part-time basis for now, if demand for services and local support is strong formation, thousands of jobs created or enough it is possible a fulltime center could open in these locations in the future. retained and hundreds of new ventures “Small business is important to South Carolina’s overall economy, particularly started. SBDCs are another reason why in rural areas,” said Chuck Bundy, Deputy Director for Small Business and South Carolina has become the leader in Existing Industry at South Carolina Department of Commerce. “The SC SBDC economic development and job growth. is a flexible network that is able to touch the more remote parts of our state in a Senator Hugh K. Leatherman meaningful way.”


Business consultant Patricia Cameron is selected State Star as she celebrates 20 years with the SC SBDC Patricia Cameron was selected as the 2014 South Carolina Small Business Development Center (SC SBDC) network’s State Star, a distinction imparted by her peers. This honor is based on exemplary performance as a business consultant in specific key performance indicators, her enthusiasm for representing the network in the business community, her contributions to local economic development and her longstanding contributions to the SC SBDC. For nearly 20 years, Cameron has worked with clients in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. As a business consultant at the Hilton Head Area SBDC, Cameron sees around 70 clients each year. Her clients range from organic grocery stores to coastal diving companies to upscale art galleries and frame shops. Cameron offers all types of consulting expertise for both existing businesses and startups. The emphasis of the consulting she provides is in the areas of marketing and financial projections. “Once those two areas are complete, the business plan is more than half finished,” Cameron said. “I like getting my clients comfortable with the financial side of their Pat Cameron business. So, during our first meeting, we start a spreadsheet from scratch that illustrates Hilton Head Area SBDC income and expenses and the flow of money in a business.” Business Consultant Cameron says clients are often intimidated with the financial side of business and she finds that The partnership between the Darla Moore School of creating a spreadsheet from scratch is a good exercise to help Business and South Carolina SBDC is a win-win for the client get comfortable with numbers. She says all clients, from all concerned. Last year 16 graduate students and 25 professionals like lawyers, doctors and physical therapists to those undergraduate students worked as ‘consultants in training’ who own restaurants and retail stores can benefit from a more for 9 clients of the SC SBCD, dealing with projects thorough understanding of financial projections and cash flow. ranging from determining the suitability of products for international markets to identifying which markets are the Cameron states that the first counseling session with a new most attractive to enter, and also identifying the areas to client usually lasts two hours, sometimes longer if things are rolling improve their base business in South Carolina and the along. Often, Cameron finds that clients are not ready to start a business. After their meeting, clients sometimes realize that financial US. In all cases faculty act as ‘supervising partners’ to ensure work quality is maintained. Providing our students concerns or their lack of experience may hinder their success. the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge “I try never to talk someone out of their dream, but at times a to real world problems facing SBDC clients adds to their reality check is needed. Part of our job is to ask the right questions resumes, and permits them to see how what they learn so the client will make the right decision,” Cameron said. “Sometimes in class applies in the real world. The SBDC clients get that decision is not to move forward with starting a business.” valuable advice otherwise unavailable in their world of Cameron loves working for the SC Small Business constrained budgets. Development Centers. After nearly 20 years and more than a Dr. Peter Brews, Dean thousand clients, she still looks forward to coming to work. Darla Moore School of Business “This has been a great part time job,” she said. “The economy is always changing and that means new opportunities and new challenges. Never a dull moment!”


Columbia Area SBDC rocks TV

Columbia Area SBDC business consultants answer questions during WLTX’s Friends at Five.

The Columbia Area SBDC conducted a phone bank in September as part of WLTX’s Friends at Five. The panel answered questions from viewers about how to open a small business including how to write a business plan and how to form an LLC. Callers ultimately wanted to learn about SC SBDC services. Consultants assisting callers were (left to right, front row) Jim Giffin, Holly Miller, Scott Bellows, (back row) Bob Pettit, Cheryl Salley and Michelle Seigler. Not pictured is Pete Oliver. Consultants answered more than 120 inquiries and many callers made appointments for private counseling at their local SC SBDC center.

Six & Twenty Distillery: A taste of South Carolina


Six & Twenty Distillery founders David Raad and Robert Redmond began their journey in 2011 with a dream of building a company that embodied the uniqueness of Upstate South Carolina. Six & Twenty Distillery produces whiskey that contains South Carolina soft red winter wheat, the same type bakeries use to make pastries and sweet cakes. This gives the whiskey a soft, smooth, sweet, palatable flavor. Their journey eventually crossed paths with business consultant Ben Smith of the Clemson Area SBDC. “Six & Twenty Distillery was a startup business, but David and Robert have become long-term clients,” Smith said. “Pre-launch, we discussed sites and branding and sources of capital. I helped with their business plan for their loan package. Their initial investment was more than $250,000.” Business was good. Their sales exceeded expectations and the partners were soon looking to expand. “We drew up a financial feasibility assessment and looked at a model of the expansion’s impact on cash, profitability and ROI,” Smith said. “An SBA 504 loan was the best financial instrument for them, which ended up at around a $750,000 project.” Six & Twenty Distillery has enjoyed success with their premium whiskeys unique to South Carolina. Their spirits are now offered in fine bars and retail shops from Greensboro to Atlanta to Charleston, positioning them for continued expansion into Southeastern markets. The distillery now has five employees. Reflecting on their journey, Raad said, “Three years ago we were lucky to discover one of the best resources available to Upstate entrepreneurs, the amazing support services available through the Clemson Area SBDC. Ben Smith, his team and his deep network of affiliates have proven invaluable from pre-launch planning to our current Robert Redmond and David Raad growth initiative. Ben and his team are indispensable for any startup or entrepreneur. Six & Twenty Distillery We’re lucky to count them as both assets and friends.”

Herban Marketplace: Where organic is healthy business

Beaufort’s all-organic and all-natural gourmet grocery store sprouted from one woman’s desire to promote health and wellness in her community. Herban Marketplace owner Greta Lynne’s goal is to enable her neighbors to live a healthy, organic lifestyle. Lynne started her career as a critical care nurse in various hospitals in the Lowcountry where she witnessed firsthand how food affects health. Since there wasn’t an organic grocery in Beaufort, Lynne invested a lot of time and energy driving to larger cities to stock up on healthy foods. After a while, it occurred to her that there was a market for a healthy alternative to the mainstream grocery stores in the Beaufort area. When Lynne was applying for a loan to start her organic and natural foods grocery, a bank referred her to business consultant Patricia Cameron at the Beaufort Area Small Business Development Center. Cameron helped Lynne create a business plan with income and expense projections, cash flow analysis and financial Greta Lynne Herban Marketplace assumptions. Within a week, Lynne completed the first draft of her business plan and submitted it to Cameron for review. Cameron said, “Greta was well positioned, both personally and professionally, to start her own business. Greta’s prior data collection regarding the organic and natural foods industry enabled her to complete her business plan in record time. Minimal changes were necessary. She submitted it to the bank for approval in July, her loan was approved in August and closed in October. She was open for business in January of 2012.” That was a six-year small business loan. Lynne paid it off in three years. Since the beginning, Herban Marketplace has experienced healthy business. Lynne said local response has been wonderful and that the most common comment people make is, “We’re so glad you’re here!” In order to meet customer demand, Lynne recently expanded the market from the original 1,400 sq. ft. to 2,400 sq. ft. in a location just a few doors down. The new location has allowed her to add a kitchen where her fulltime chef and sous-chef prepare fresh food such as wraps, soups and salads. “It’s a good feeling as a small business owner to know that you met a need in your community and that you are creating jobs in this continuing tight economy,” she said. Lynne now employs eight fulltime and two part-time people. South Carolina Small Lynne and her staff take great pride in providing attentive customer service. They Business Development have a program called Shop with the Doc where customers can walk through their store Centers provide our entrepreneurs with the tools with their physician to get input on food items that will help with specific health needs. they need to be successful. Herban Marketplace has a newsletter to keep people informed about the best produce Small businesses are our in season and how it affects their body. The staff keeps abreast of important nutrition country’s economic engine industry trends, all in pursuit of what is the most beneficial for their customers. and these development Lynne said that her customers trust her expertise in the same way that she trusts centers are paramount to her SBDC business consultant. their success. “I have faith in Pat. She knows what small business owners need to start and run a Congressman Tom Rice thriving business. I trust her advice,” she said. “When I have a question I call or email and she gets right back with me. Pat is just awesome.”


The Gun Rack of Aiken shooting for small business success


Stephanie and Chuck Scott purchased The Gun Rack in Aiken, SC in 2009, which had been in businesses for nearly three decades. They decided to focus on strengthening customer service and their approach worked. After finding a strong response, the couple decided to expand their operations into a 14,000 sq. ft. warehouse where they could offer more services. They realized that the funding to provide a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range was quite large due to renovations and up-fitting. Before approaching a bank, the Scotts came to the Aiken Area SBDC located on the USC/Aiken campus. They were seeking help in writing a business plan to take to banks. There they met business consultant Bob Clark who provided them with an SBA business plan template and worked with them to make sure it was perfect to sell their vision. Stephanie and Chuck Scott The couple approached three lenders and ultimately all three lenders The Gun Rack approved their plan. They selected Vista Bank because the banker was a shooter himself and he understood their business and showed enthusiasm for their project. The loan was for more than $1.1M. The couple acquired the warehouse and the total project came to nearly $1.3M with $126,000 being owner investment. After closing for only two months, The Gun Rack opened in the new location in June 2014. The new location allowed for the creation of six new jobs and now, in addition to the owners, The Gun Rack has 11 employees. The new indoor shooting range has enabled the Scotts to attract more customers. The Gun Rack offers range memberships for individuals, families and corporations. Staff is trained to educate customers on making the correct decision when purchasing a firearm. The Gun Rack is a training center with NRA certified instructors, some of whom are on staff. The Gun Rack has shooting leagues, date night, holiday parties, birthday parties and days when gun reps bring products for customers to try. The new space has allowed for increased inventory and sales and a shop area for an onpremises gunsmith. Stephanie and Chuck have become the local experts on all things gun for the media and often the media covers their events. They are advertising in newspapers and have shot a television commercial which airs on a local channel. They have a website and an active Facebook page where clients post about their shooting experiences. Through it all, the Scotts have been in touch with Bob Clark, their local SBDC As a client, I know the SBDC consultant. Clark often visits the range and observes their business in action. The Scotts is uniquely positioned to help are appreciative of the part Clark played in helping them to secure the financing to help entrepreneurs and small them realize their vision, as well as his overall business acumen. business owners achieve “We needed help in writing a business plan to approach banks, so I sent a aspirational goals and become a meaningful contributor to blind email to the Aiken Area SBDC. That request and many others since then have our state’s overall economic been answered by Bob Clark,” Stephanie Scott said. “Bob has become a friend and prosperity. my go-to guy on all things related to this project, both business and personal. His Steve Bailey wealth of knowledge and experience is never ending. He is always available to offer CEO and Chairman encouragement, advice, directions, instructions, hand-holding and even condolences. Merus Refreshment Services He is an invaluable ally, confidant and advisor.”

The Yolk Café survives fire and keeps on cooking Chef Gregory Collier was just a young cook employed in a wings restaurant when he fell in love, twice. There he found his passion was specialty foods and he quickly advanced from line cook to kitchen manager. The wings joint was also where he met his future wife and business partner, Subrina. After Greg graduated culinary school and gained experience, the couple decided to move back to be near family in South Carolina and open a café. They found a location that had been a restaurant for decades. The couple had $20,000 to invest and a burning desire to create a restaurant that focused on using fresh local food sources for produce, herbs, eggs and cheese. They decided to focus on Collier’s skills with egg preparation and call their business, The Yolk Cafe. While Chef Collier focused on food, his wife Subrina made sure to provide the best possible customer service. The Colliers sought help with their new venture from the Rock Hill Area SBDC where they met business consultant Carol Daly and Winthrop Region SBDC director Larry Stevens. “Larry helped us to stay grounded, as well as motivated,” Greg recalled. Gregory and Subrina Collier As with any small business, The Yolk Café functioned at a loss in the The Yolk Café beginning, but they were soon turning a profit. Then disaster hit. In the summer of 2014, an electrical fire destroyed their leased restaurant and most of their possessions. They were back to square one, but they had loyal customers. The couple set up small private dinner parties, cooked breakfast on Saturdays in a local restaurant that was closed during that time and worked hard to keep their name out in front of the public through social media. Their strategy worked. Their new and improved location on the same road opened in November of 2014 with more seating. Their old customers were ready and waiting! In addition to providing a fulltime job for both of the Colliers, The York Café employs four fulltime people in the kitchen (two transitioned from the penal system) and five wait staff to fill the seven day per week schedule. There is usually a wait list for tables on Saturday and Sunday mornings. “Larry and Carol went way above and beyond to help us,” Collier said. “The Rock Hill Area SBDC is one of the most essential components of The Yolk Café family the success of our restaurant.”


Mompreneur cooks up culinary career with socially responsible goals Jan Pinnington used to be a harried mother wrapped up in the nonstop demands of raising a family. Even as a certified nutrition consultant, she noticed that her children were ill-equipped in the kitchen and falling into poor eating habits. Pinnington realized that her daughter lacked basic cooking skills, so she invited her daughter and several school friends to learn how to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Her work with these kids was so successful that Pinnington wondered if there was a way to turn her experience into a viable business venture from her home in Irmo, South Carolina. Pinnington started Healthy Hands Cooking (HHC), an online training and certification company where mothers can have a career teaching children about nutrition and healthy cooking, while they supplement their family income in a fun and rewarding way. All HHC instructors keep 100 percent of the income from their efforts. Pinnington needed a plan for her business dreams, so she sought assistance from the Columbia Area SBDC in November of 2011 where she bounced ideas off business consultant Bob Pettit. He noted that she needed to write her instructor’s manual, the Jan Pinnington student’s manual and to develop her website. Healthy Hands Cooking Pinnington created HealthyHandsCooking.com, which offers classes, camps and birthday parties to kids from ages 2 to 13 through their growing network of trained and certified cooking instructors. The site also features videos, recipes, success stories and products. Instructors are encouraged to expand into their communities, taking HHC on the road to schools, parks, gyms, churches, community centers, sports centers and dance studios. Running a socially responsible business is important to Pinnington. She was moved by statistics from the Center for Disease Control stating that 12.5 million children ages 2-19 are now clinically obese. She also cites the health of our economy as a motivating factor that keeps her on track with her business. As the country continues to struggle with troubling unemployment, HHC contributes in a meaningful way by easing the financial strain on instructors’ families. Three years later, Pinnington is a success story. Healthy Hands Cooking has grown to more than 170 instructors throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, Israel and Aruba. While most of her instructors are self-employed, some have acquired contracts with school boards to offer in-class curriculum and after-school programs. More than 3,000 students have attended HHC classes and the curriculum has expanded to include preschool. Media coverage for HHC has been positive on a national level. Pinnington was a guest on “Forbes Living TV” and the company was featured in Healthy Cooking Magazine. HHC was named a top 25 finalist in the 2014 Wells Fargo Works Contest for innovative business concept and is a MyPlate.gov educator and a community partner with the USDA’s Nutrition Network, which is part of Michelle Obama’s mission to reduce childhood obesity. Pinnington is also a regular healthy recipe contributor to WAHM.com and CuriousChef.com. “The Columbia Area SBDC, especially Bob Pettit and his team, were instrumental in helping launch Healthy Hands Cooking,” Pinnington said. “As HHC grows, so will our need for SBDC services throughout the nation. All of our HHC instructors are connected with their local SBDC offices as a component of their HHC training. The SBDC is a true blessing to the small business entrepreneur.”


Wheels of business turn rapidly for startup Boyd Cycling Nicole and Boyd Johnson started making handcrafted road performance bicycles and wheels in September of 2009. Within the first year, they decided to focus on the production of their carbon fiber and alloy wheels and started Boyd Cycling in Greenville. Made for avid riders, their wheels are designed to be fast, comfortable and provide a better ride. Carbon fiber in particular is a stiff, strong, lightweight material perfect for performance riding, but due to cost, wheels made of this material were traditionally used only by riders on race day. With advancements in carbon and epoxies, these wheels have become more durable and affordable meaning an average rider can now enjoy these high quality wheels on a daily basis. According to Nicole Johnson, sales have doubled every year Nicole and Boyd Johnson since Boyd Cycling began. The company website, www.BoydCycling. Boyd Cycling com, features a variety of wheel products, as well as brakes and riding accessories such as bags for wheel storage. While the couple started out building wheels themselves, the Johnsons now handle sales, marketing and engineering. The company has ten employees including four wheel builders. As the company grew the Johnsons knew they needed help with expansion. They now sell direct to consumers, as well as to independent cycling shops around the United States. The Johnsons were looking to expand into new markets, some international, but they were unsure exactly how to go about finding distributors. They were looking at distribution channels, as well as marketing and funding scenarios. They sought help from the SC Department of Commerce. Through a series of interactions with DOC and the Appalachian Development Corporation, the Johnsons were directed to the Spartanburg Area SBDC where they met business consultant Beth Smith. “I was looking at grants for manufacturing and I got overwhelmed with the process. That’s when I was referred to Beth,” Johnson said. “She looked at our business from a holistic perspective. One of the major things that she facilitated for us was a connection with the International Trade Administration. They specialize in helping small businesses export.” Johnson said her association with the Spartanburg Area SBDC was beneficial from an education standpoint. The International Trade Administration ran a report on the top 25 markets that would be most amenable to carrying Boyd Cycling products. “That report would have cost many thousands of dollars if we had hired a consulting firm,” Johnson said. “In addition to helping us find resources, Beth looked at the structure of our company and realized that we were spread thin. She showed us how to scale our company with the resources we have.” With solid plans to expand into international markets, the future looks bright for Boyd Cycling. Johnson intends to continue to use the services of the Spartanburg Area SBDC as her company moves forward. “Small business owners are good at producing a product or they have a specialized expertise in their field, but they’re not always good at all aspects of business,” Johnson said. “Often you need assistance. The SBDC is like a large consulting firm that is free. They certainly help your business succeed.”


Metcon Construction spreads opportunity for other small businesses through minority subcontracting Metcon, a minority-owned construction company headquartered in North Carolina, recently expanded into South Carolina. The company opened an office in Columbia to further working relationships with South Carolina’s legislators, facilities management personnel and lead faculty and staff at universities. They also established a second presence in Myrtle Beach to further expand into the South Carolina market. In 2012, president Aaron Thomas and business development officer Greg Bryant reached out to Myrtle Beach Area SBDC business consultant Janet Graham for assistance with their business expansion plans. Graham worked closely with a strategic management MBA class from Coastal Carolina University’s College of Business to research and develop strategies to assist Metcon with their market expansion needs. In short time, Metcon was firmly established in the state completing a $2.5+M project for Michelin in Lexington. They Aaron Thomas also constructed the Catawba Bingo Hall, which created four new jobs. Metcon Construction The Myrtle Beach Area SBDC continues to work closely with Metcon to help grow their presence in South Carolina, fostering working relationships with minority vendors and contractors to spur economic development in impoverished areas. “Metcon is not only an environmentally conscious firm that is LEED certified, but they are also avidly concerned with the success of other small businesses,” said Graham. “Their ideology is that everyone can have a piece of the pie.” This philosophy was in evidence as Metcon sought to prequalify subcontractors for the Pinckney-LeGare dormitory at the University of South Carolina. A $13M project scheduled for completion in 2015, Metcon sought the help of the SBDC in finding minority subcontractors. Graham connected them with the SC SBDC’s minority outreach business consultant located in the Columbia Area SBDC.

Thank you to our host universities.

The Citadel Coastal Carolina University Florence-Darlington Technical College


Lander University Newberry College Spartanburg Community College

SC SBDC offers more than 150 workshops and seminars in 2014 Part of the SC SBDC’s mission is to make vital training available to small business owners at a reasonable cost. In 2014, more than 2,200 entrepreneurs attended one of the 187 different sessions offered by SC SBDCs across the state. Some of the most popular seminars were: Steps to Starting a Business Tips for Export Success Government Procurement Boots to Business Program How to Grow Your Existing Business IRS Tax Workshop QuickBooks How to Build a Website Introduction to Social Media NxLevel for Existing Businesses Financing Your Small Business Marketing Your Small Business Each center maintains a list of their upcoming workshops and seminars at SCSBDC.com. Click on the Workshops and Seminars tab on the left menu to view all educational opportunities.

Thank you to the generous sponsors of our 2014 annual statewide conference.