By Mark D. Gibson
U.S. Small Business Administration
Georgia District Public Affairs
The 50 stars on the flag represent more than just the 50 States of the United States of America. The star also represents a standard of excellence that transcends to Star One Supplies located in Augusta, Georgia. Rufus Burdette, Star One’s owner, is no stranger to living a life of standards dedicated to excellence as a retired Army Sergeant Major with over 28 years of honorable service. "Star One signifies the level of dedication our company has to the community, our customers and a constant reminder of the spirit of entrepreneurism." Said Morgan Burdette, Rufus’ son & General Manager Star One Supplies.
As co-owner of Greene & Burdette Property management in Waynesboro Georgia, Rufus quickly recognized challenges and shortfalls surrounding the procurement of supplies for the business, and the idea of Star One Supplies to meet those challenges was born.
During the 2009 economic downturn, when many construction and building and supply companies were struggling, Rufus opened the only minority-owned building supply store in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). By July 2010, Star One Supplies had outgrown its leased space and plans were quickly underway to construct their own building.
During the initial planning phase for his business Rufus sought out assistance within the business community at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), 1450 Greene St, Augusta, GA 30901. The SBDCs provide a wide array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs supporting business performance and sustainability and enhancing the creation of new businesses entities. These small businesses in turn foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention as a result of the extensive one-on-one long-term counseling, training and specialized services they receive from the SBDCs. The SBDCs are made up of a unique collaboration of SBA, state and local governments, and private sector funding resources.
SBDCs provide services such as development of business plans, manufacturing assistance, financial packages, and procurement contracts. Based on client needs and local business trends and individual business requirements, SBDCs modify their services to meet the evolving needs of the small business community in which they are situated.
Susan Caldwell, SBDC Area Director, recalls "early on in our work together, I complimented Rufus on his business success, noting some of the challenges I knew he had faced along the way. Rufus modestly commented that he never allowed hurdles to become obstacles or excuses for not moving forward and reaching his goal. The steadfastness Rufus displayed as we worked together to develop his business plan and pro forma paid off when he received an SBA 504 loan and was able to construct Star One’s new building in its current location. In my opinion, Rufus sets an excellent example for small business owners by demonstrating what is possible with dedication and hard work."
Rufus Burdette, Susan Caldwell, SBDC & Terri Denison, SBA
Photo by: Mark D. Gibson
"I understand what it means to have the right tools to build a building or complete a project that is why I went to the SBA. If you are willing to put in the work and effort the SBDC and SBA offer free services to help you. I was able to secure the necessary capital through the 504 loan program to construct my new building," said Burdette.
The 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool for economic development within a community. The 504 Program provides small businesses requiring "brick and mortar" financing with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization. A Certified Development Company (CDC) is a private, nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of its community. CDCs work with SBA and private sector lenders to provide financing to small businesses.
"Being in a military community like Augusta with Fort Gordon and the Army Signal Center, we have a number of military veterans who choose to stay in Augusta after retirement from active duty. Star One was unique. Sergeant Major Burdette had a vibrant contracting business before his retirement and his ability to have his own building supply store was a natural complement to that. The location in South Augusta will not only support his business, but the contractors and industries near Star One who prior to this had a lengthy drive to get even basic supplies. He has a unique niche business by location and by the fact he can now not only supply his company at discounted prices, but other contractors. We are grateful Queensborough National Bank and Trust, one of our best lending partners, introduced us to Sergeant Major Burdette." Randy Griffin, President, CSRA Business Lending, Augusta, Georgia.
Today, Star One’s operations are conducted in a 12,000 sq. ft. building that provides Augusta and surrounding communities with a one-stop shopping experience for its professional contractors customer base by offering a variety of products from raw materials, hardware, flooring, and office supplies. Star One Supplies offers everything necessary with a competitive edge for new construction, remodeling, or the do it yourself projects.