Embrace Sweets Company, LLC, is located in Over the Rhine and produces gourmet desserts. Owned by mother and daughter duo, Sandra and Brandi Daniels, they are in their third year of business.
Currently, their efforts are focused on the wholesale market and their delicious desserts are found at many greater Cincinnati locations including Biggs, Wild Oats, The Westin, Party Source, Silverglades, Kremer’s Market and The Hyatt.
The Daniels’ sought SCORE advice for reviewing their business plan as they prepared to expand their operations. They describe their SCORE counselor, Jim Hensley, as a “god send.” As a result of their hard work and with counsel and support from SCORE, their business is growing and they are working to go national this year.
SCORE Chapter 34 Client of the year is not the only recognition Embrace has received for its small business success. Other awards include: Emerging Business of the Year - Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce 2007; Entrepreneur of the Year - Over the Rhine Chamber of Commerce 2006; "Best Brownie" - Cincinnati Magazine 2006 and Top Five Brownie Companies in America - Chow Magazine 2005.
Joe Holbrook and his cousin Ryan Gunnoe were working for the same construction company when they decided to start their own construction management company in 1999.
Holbrook, who has four children, had to be talked into the venture by Gunnoe, but both wanted to have a business that would allow them to 'do things better than they were being done' and to be able to share the wealth with their employees.
They requested and received a U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loan for $25,000 in 1999 which helped them get started. They received an additional SBA guaranteed line of credit in 2002 that allowed them to expand their business. In less than seven years, Prodigy Construction Management has grown to 22 full time employees and $12 million in gross revenues.
Prodigy Construction Management is a national retail and restaurant contractor. Its customer list boasts the likes of Arby's, AmeriHost, American Eagle, Charley's Steakery, Janeville, and Gymboree.
Their advice to someone thinking about going into business: 'The greatest risk in life is one not taken' and 'No rewards without risk.'
Being business owners has had a positive impact on their lives, the men say, noting that they have 'much greater freedom' to 'take trips, enjoy life, take the kids to t-ball, and see the kids off to school in the morning.'
They also like having the freedom to 'do the right things' for employees, adding that they close the business during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
The cousins say their success has been possible because they have a strong belief in themselves and their philosophies. They also say technology is a factor. All of their employees have laptop computers and communicate with co-workers and clients by e-mail. They also use digital cameras in their work, and use a Web based reporting system.
But no business is without obstacles, and Prodigy Construction is no exception. One of the company's main issues is staying abreast of regulations in the different areas where its employees work. Every state in the nation has different construction requirements, the owners explained.
They also dislike dealing with all of the various forms of insurance, i.e. health and liability.
But as is true in most businesses, the good by far outweighs the bad and these owners say they plan to continue their entrepreneurial spirit by opening an additional office in either Phoenix or California. "This article and the accompanying photograph do not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA of any opinions, products or services of any private individual or entity."
Ever since Cindy Dobo-Hoffman was a child, she wanted to own a bakery. It all started when Cindy was seven years old and her aunt gave her a chocolate mold with the ingredients to make heart shaped suckers. Her aunt told her to make the suckers and sell them for 35 cents. Since that time she was hooked on business and wanted to own her own bakery. She still has that sucker mold in use!
In 1997 the opportunity became available for Cindy and her husband, Kevin, to buy a bakery in Piqua. They purchased the bakery and started getting used to the 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. baker's hours. It was particularly difficult in the beginning since they lived in Cincinnati. Cindy stayed with a friend in Dayton during the week and went home to Cincinnati on the weekend for the first three months. They finally rented out their Cincinnati house, pending sale, and moved to Piqua.
The bakery retails and wholesales their homemade cakes, pies and donuts but specializes in Hungarian pastries which they sell nationally via mail order and their website. In 2001 the owners of the leased building the bakery was in wanted the building back for their own use. Cindy and Kevin found a new location, and with the help of an SBA LowDoc loan through Unity National Bank in Piqua, they resumed operations in their new facility. Dobo's Bakery has nearly doubled sales since they purchased the business.
Cindy has been quite active with the baking and business associations. She in on the Board of Directors of the Retail Bakers Association, is past President of the Business Network International, and is a member of the Main Street Piqua Association.
When asked, what do you like the most about being in business for yourself, Cindy replied, "The thing that my customers and friends see is how happy we are owning our business. It is great to enjoy what we do. This reflects in our products. My father is from Hungary and this spurred my interest in Hungarian pastries. I have learned how to make them from many people including my mother and people in Hungary. We like being able to provide pastries to people who want items like their grandmother used to make."
"This article and the accompanying photograph do not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA of any opinions, products or services of any private individual or entity."