Shannon and Scott Clements started C&C Roofing, Inc., a woman-owned business in 2007. They provide on-site manufacturing of roof panels and rolling, and all of the flashing for projects is manufactured at their facility in Morganfield, KY. The company focuses on commercial and government work and is a frequent contractor at the Ft. Campbell Army Base in southern KY/northern TN.
Scott Clements is nationally renowned for his expertise in the roofing industry, and he is often called upon for his knowledge by other industry leaders. He first focuses on building trust and respect. “I’ve been in the business for 13 years prior to going out on my own, so the experience as well as the contacts I made in the industry prepared me well for not just commercial roofing work but also for government contracting opportunities,” said Scott, who understands the value of developing long-term relationships and a solid reputation. In fact, the company motto is “no laps, no leaks,” and they ensure that their work matches that motto.
Sue Gibbens, Executive Vice President in Henderson, KY for Community Ventures Corporation (CVC), a U. S. Small Business Administration lender and technical assistance provider, helped Scott and Shannon every step of the way as their business grew. Ms. Gibbens has provided free, confidential business advice through her regular consultations with the Clements through funding partially provided by SBA. That sound advice and preparation enabled the couple to obtain a $97,000 SBA 504 loan to purchase specialized equipment that can produce roof panels, gutters, soffit panels and roll forming on-site.
Scott stated that this specialized equipment purchased through the SBA 504 loan gives him the ability to perform projects that his competitors cannot do. “We’re able to transport our equipment to job sites and produce roof panels, flashing and gutters in lengths that others cannot. For instance, we recently did a job where we produced 240 foot long panels.”
Experts agree that industry experience is crucial for small business owners to be successful. However, like many small business owners, Scott and Shannon did not have experience dealing with the development of a business plan, which is necessary when seeking financing for a business loan. That’s why Sue Gibbens and the resources available through CVC were crucial. Scott stated, “It was a good experience. Sue made the process seamless and uncomplicated, and the paperwork was not overwhelming. She took care of all of the details for us,” helping them work through financing paperwork not just with SBA and the bank but also with the Union County Economic Development Foundation and the Green River Area Development District.
As the company continues to grow beyond its current nine employees, the Clements realize that they may soon need a larger facility. Shannon stated, “When we build a new facility, we plan to work again with Sue, CVC and the SBA.”
Learn more information on the loan programs, counseling services and other small business services offered by SBA from your lender, www.sba.gov and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Chapter or Women’s Business Center.
Yolanda Bradford started her first business in 1995, YLB Accounting Services, in Shelbyville, KY. The company quickly evolved, and Ms. Bradford changed the name to YLB Accounting and Consulting Services, Inc. a few years later to more adequately reflect the firm’s focus.
Ms. Bradford met with Robert Coffey at the SBA Kentucky District Office in 2009 to discuss the 8(a) Business Development Program and was quickly accepted into the program. The 8(a) certification enabled YLB to obtain several profitable contracts, and the company quickly added 10 employees.
That same year, YLB applied for an ARC loan for $35,000. The loan was approved and used to help improve the company’s cash flow, as YLB had just lost a major contract due to the downturn in the economy. As cash balances improved, Ms. Bradford also purchased equipment for the company’s expansion.
In 2011, YLB applied for a 504 loan to purchase the building that the company had been leasing for almost three years. The tax advantages and rental savings dramatically improved the bottom line for the still-young company.
Never one to sit idle, Yolanda Bradford saw several opportunities in the catering industry and recently started YLB Catering Services. Says Ms. Bradford, “We recently won three federal contacts to provide catering services to the military in three different base locations in Kentucky and Indiana. Normally, we provide over 1,500 meals per contract.”
Yolanda Bradford believes in giving back to the community, too. She stated that one of the most rewarding aspects in starting YLB has been to help small business owners achieve their goals and build a solid foundation. “In essence, we help people with financial education and literacy, enabling our clients to manage their budget and achieve their goals. Helping others is extremely rewarding.”
Through the SBA, YLB Accounting and Consulting Services, Inc. has received advice that has proven invaluable to the business, which is now stronger fiscally and becoming a leader in its industry. Learn more information on the loan programs, counseling services and other small business services offered by SBA from your lender, www.SBA.gov and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Chapter or Women’s Business Center.
Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique is located in Buckner, KY. Equal parts tea room and gift shop, the business is located in a prosperous suburb just 20 minutes northeast of Louisville, KY. While successful on the surface, Sisters needed SBA assistance to survive.
Connie Young founded Sisters Gift Shop in 2002. The business grew slowly but steadily, and Ms. Young moved the location twice in five years for more space as well as better parking and visibility. Ms. Young decided to add a tea room but knew that would require even more space, necessitating a fourth and final move.
Connie Young renamed the business Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique and asked her daughter, Lori Crowe, to help manage the firm. With 12 years of experience in marketing and management, Crowe also brought with her a passion for baking. The mother/daughter team developed the tea room concept. “In our minds, this idea could only succeed. Since we were not a traditional restaurant, there wasn’t a model to follow, so we had to find our own way,” said Crowe.
The tea parlor served its first tea on Mother’s Day weekend to rave reviews. Although a large budget was devoted to traditional advertising, word of mouth was the best marketing tool. The women, however, could not ascertain the effectiveness of their marketing. “We knew word of mouth would snowball,” said Crowe, “but we thought it would happen faster. Added Young, “We had to educate the public about the tea room and reach our target market.”
The business is the only true tea room in the region and has no direct competition in its market, but that created unique challenges, and the owners had difficulty finding advisors. The 2008 recession and soaring gas prices created a severe cash flow problem, because the business was perceived as a luxury. Despite efforts to offer less expensive choices, extend business hours, decrease labor costs and increase marketing, Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique struggled to survive.
Connie Young’s youngest daughter, Kelly Stariha, joined the team in 2011, assuming a managerial role with a focus on human resources. This new leadership team needed a business plan, so they met with Sharron Johnson, Director of the Women Business Center (WBC) of Kentucky. Ms. Johnson provided the women with SBA resources and SCORE counselors, who helped recreate the company’s marketing literature and examined the financial reports, enabling Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique to be in the black for the first time in years. In fact, sales have increased almost 46% in slightly more than a year with assistance from the WBC and SCORE resources.
Johnson also assisted the Sisters team with creating a contract for a large off-site catering event at the nationally-acclaimed Frazier History Museum in Louisville. That event gave the business unprecedented exposure to their target market as well as revenue at a critical time. Johnson then encouraged the women to seek additional contracts opportunities.
Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique management attended business seminars at the WBC of Kentucky as well as its Women’s Business Expo in 2012, which included motivational speakers as well as workshops on marketing and social media, allowing the women to work with experts in developing new marketing mediums. The expo also allowed the women to showcase their business and reach hundreds of attendees who were the company’s target market.
Johnson then introduced Sisters’ leadership to the local president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and to key personnel at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau to explore event opportunities. Most recently, Johnson connected the women to students in the MBA program at local university, where the business will receive free business assistance from students.
Through the SBA and its resource partners, the Women’s Business Center and SCORE, Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique has received advice from counselors who have proven invaluable to the business, which is now stronger fiscally and becoming a leader in its industry. Learn more information on the loan programs, counseling services and other small business services offered by SBA from your lender, www.SBA.gov and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Chapter or Women’s Business Center.