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Columbus District Office
401 N. Front Street Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43215
United States
Phone: 614-469-6860
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
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Once Again SBA Helps Dreams Come True!

With help from The Small Business Administration, my wife and I were able to achieve both of our dreams. My wife, Dr. Paige Phillips, had been working as an associate veterinarian for three years and as a relief veterinarian for two years. Her love for animals made it such that she had a difficult time working for owners of practices who, in an effort to save time or money, did not practice the best medicine possible at all times. It was very important for Paige to reach her goal of always practicing the best medicine and continually improving the lives of companion animals. The only true way to make this happen was to own her own veterinary clinic, and manage it accordingly.

From a business perspective, I had always wanted to own and operate my own company. With a background in finance, I was able to put together a comprehensive business proposal to purchase an existing veterinary clinic in West Milton, Ohio, and, with the help of the SBA, to secure the appropriate financing.

As we looked into financing the purchase, we came across several hurdles. Not only did conventional business loans have fairly high fixed interest rates, conventional business loans also required at least a twenty percent down payment. Even on the relatively small practice we had decided to commit to, that came to approximately $120,000. Most young couples do not have these sorts of funds tucked away this early in their lives, and we were no exception. Additionally, Paige had the burden of student loans, which far outweighed the salary afforded to a veterinarian of three to five years experience; and I would also need to quit my own job to relocate to West Milton and help with the initial transition as new owners. It was obvious that it would not be reasonable to attempt to finance our dreams through conventional business loans.

As we looked for alternate financing, a gentleman by the name of Sam Renta, at First Union Small Business Capital, discussed our options with us, including getting a loan that was guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. We had heard about "paperwork nightmares" regarding the SBA, but to our surprise, the process was very easy, and in the end, enabled us to acquire the business.

To secure the loan, we only needed to supply approximately 5.5% for our down payment, which came to about $28,000. This was much more manageable. Going through the SBA 7(a) Program, the SBA guaranteed 75% of the loan we received through First Union Small Business Capital. First Union was willing to loan us the money knowing that upon default, they would still receive 75% of the money back form the Small Business Administration. The SBA looked carefully at our plan, and was comfortable with a guarantee on the loan; thus, we were able to secure a loan with a sixteen-year term. We're now on schedule to pay off the loan in eight years instead of sixteen, and the variable interest rate of 10.5%, that we started with has decreased to 5.5%.

In summary, we could not have achieved our goals without the help of the Small Business Administration. It has only been four years since we purchased the business, and in that short time we've been able to grow the business by more than 15%, make a reasonable profit, and will pay the loan off in half the term. The reason this story qualifies for a success story, however, is that it has met the most important criteria; my wife, Dr. Paige Phillips, is now living her lifelong dream of improving the lives of companion animals to the best of her ability.

Thank you SBA!

"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."

Sallie's Wholesale & Construction Inc.

Daily Reporter 3/10/06

As a young child in a family of 25 brothers and sisters, Sallie Sylvester had the ambition to excel and develop her life to the fullest, she says. She turned that drive intoa career in 1977 when she started her first business, and now is enjoying success with Sallie's Wholesale & Construction Inc.

The company is a small wholesale construction material supplier and contractor, performing general and subcontracting services in the building and highway industry. It provides equipment, maintenance services and construction materials to general and sub-contractors. The company also assembles and installs equipment, and offers a labor pool of general and skilled employees. Its highest annual sales figure was $2.5 million, according to Sylvester.

She said her company has been helped by several of the SBA's training programs, including its 'Basic Executive 7j Training' and 'Advanced Executive 7j Training,' and she encouragesall small businesses to take advantage of 'these excellent programs.'

She also says she would remind entrepreneurs that business 'is not to be taken lightly. Getting involved with the right programs may assist your efforts, but the overall effects arebased on your ambition to excel. If you only do what you have always done, then you only have what you've always had.'

Sylvester attributes her success to 'hard work, lots of growing pains, all of the excellent programs available to small businesses,and working with the many corporations that have embraced the concept of a small business development program.'

She says owning her own business has changed all aspects of her life.

'It has improved my life socially, economically, politically, and in addition has improved my sense of self worth. I now play a more positive role in the community.'

When asked what her likes and dislikes are about being in business, she gives a short, to-the-point response: 'One answer for two questions: I am my own boss.'

As to her plans for the future, Sylvester said she is seeking more long-term procurement opportunities that will cause sustainable growth and expand her business into a more solid corporation 'as one of the leading suppliers and contractors within my region.' "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."

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Quilt Beginnings Inc.

The Daily Reporter 3/10/06.

Eight years ago in August, Cathy Daum was quilting as a hobby and buying supplies at Columbus' three quilting specialty stores when she suddenly found that her choices of stores had dwindled to one.

One of the stores converted to a gift store, the second one closed because the owner decided to retire and Daum said she found the third and only remaining store 'too unpleasant to deal with.'

Within 24 hours of recognizing the problem and the possibilities, Daum decided to open her own quilting store and she began business the following April. The U.S. Small Business Administration's 504 loan program helped Daum purchase her first store on Broad Street, and expand the size of the building from 2,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

Being a systems engineer by profession, owning a store was quite a change for the aspiring entrepreneur. However, from day one, the store made a profit, said Daum.

Business was so good, in fact, that last year she opened a second location. Daum now employs 22 people and has exceeded $1 million in sales. The company has experienced an annual growth rate of 20 percent overall, and last year had a growth rate of 40 percent.

Not only does Quilt Beginnings Inc. sell sewing machines and sewing and quilting supplies, it also offers quilting classes. The store typically offers 40 classes per quarter, according to Daum.

Daum, who made her hobby her career, said enjoying the job is essential to a business owner's success.

'Small business owners live the business 24/7,' said Daum. 'Owning a business is so much more than you think it will be. You have to love what you are doing. The rewards can be great, but if things aren't going well, you have to live with it. No going home at the end of the day and forgetting about the job.'

She said she would remind a potential business owner that basic business knowledge and a mentor to use as a sounding board are vital ingredients to success. Daum said her mentor isher father, and although he resides in California, rarely does a week pass that the two do not talk about her business.

In addition to these two elements of success, she says there are a few personality traits that come in handy for entrepreneurs.

'You have to be a risk taker and be goal oriented. You need to love what you do and have a high energy level. You cannot do it all yourself. You need good staff and you need to show your appreciation for what they do for you. If you treat people right, it comes back to you,' she said.

There have been minor obstructions in her business path, but they have been overcome.

'Cash flow has been a problem from time to time,' Daum said, adding that staffing issues also can be headaches for a business owner. She said she is fortunate to have a very good, stable staff, but this has not always been the case. The most painful thing she has had to do, according to Daum, 'was to let employees go who were not working out.'

As to future plans, Daum is looking at the short-range goal of operating her new location, opened in November 2005, at a maximum level.

"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."

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