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Oregon District Office
601 SW Second Avenue Suite 950
Portland, OR 97204
United States
Phone: 503-326-2682
Fax: 503-326-2808
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Matt Hicks Owner and Dentist at Moreland Neighborhood Dental

Serving the Community Since 1971

Dr. Matt Hicks had wanted to be a dentist for as long as he can remember. He thinks it may have had something to do with what his Mom told him at a young age; “take care of your teeth or they will fall out of your head.”

Becoming a business owner was not so natural for Matt. After graduating from the Dental program at Oregon Health and Science University in 1997, he went to work for Dr. David Long at Moreland Neighborhood Dental. He happily lived out his dream, working as an associate for the next eight years. But in 2004, Dr. Long laid out the future for him. “I told him, either you buy the practice or you move on,” said Dr. Long. So just like that, Matt began to take over Moreland Neighborhood Dental.

Without any prior business experience, Matt found himself struggling with most aspects of running the practice. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Matt. “It was intimidating, so I did what Dr. Long had done for years and things just went along.” The practice continued doing what they do best – providing high-quality personalized dental care to a loyal following of patients.

Moreland Neighborhood Dental has been in the same building since they opened 42 years ago. With a desire to remodel or build a new building, in March 2013, Matt found himself doing some online research about SBA loan programs. “That’s when I saw the information about the Emerging Leaders Program, and thought – that’s just what I need,” said Matt.

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote economic development within urban communities.

“Emerging Leaders got me to think about the future,” said Matt. “Your business should support your personal goals in life and the course gave me the nuts and bolts to do that. Including little tips, like developing an elevator speech and always having my business card with me. I feel like I’m not just a great dentist now, I’m becoming a great business owner.”

Now, Matt’s planning the practice’s expansion and move through constructing a new building at their same location. Moreland Neighborhood Dental continues to thrive, supporting three dentists, two hygienists, three dental assistants and six administrative office staff and offering expanded office hours five days a week starting at 7 a.m.

For more information about the Emerging Leaders Program or to find out about PDO’s 2014 Class of Emerging Leaders please visit www.sba.gov/OR

Owner of Gingerbread Traditions Cheryl Albers standing with gingerbread houses

Selling Traditional Happiness and Fun

The holiday tradition of building and decorating gingerbread houses inspired crafty Mom, Cheryl Albers, to try her hand at making houses from scratch and throwing decorating parties. Immediately, party and gingerbread house requests started coming in from friends and friends of friends. Cheryl had uncovered a demand, where people not only wanted to continue the holiday tradition, but also wanted fresh, homemade gingerbread that wasn’t just edible, but tastes great. “I truly sell fun,” said Cheryl.  “Young, old, who doesn’t love decorating a gingerbread house?”

The demand for the houses sent Cheryl looking for a place to expand beyond her home kitchen and she landed on Main Street in Oregon City. Gingerbread Traditions, Inc. ran operations from there for eight years. Yet the small footprint provided many challenges, including that pallets had to be loaded and stored outside prior to pick up. In a state known for its rainy weather, this proved to be unpractical.

Now, 15 years after throwing her first party, Cheryl is settled in a 3,200 square foot space with six employees. Over the years Cheryl has morphed her seasonal business into a year round affair. Through developing new products like chocolate gingerbread pirate ships and sugar cookie princess castles and contracting with local schools to produce cookies, the demand for Gingerbread Traditions continues to grow.

Cheryl had visited SBA Resource Partners before for mentoring when she needed help with marketing and determining where to relocate. When Cheryl heard about the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, she thought it seemed like a great way to figure out what was next for Gingerbread Traditions. Despite having a degree in business and years of experience, Cheryl thought it was time for her to actually step back and work on her business.

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote economic development within urban communities.

Cheryl’s efforts at working on the business are paying off. Gingerbread Traditions recently fulfilled their biggest wholesale order yet, 80 pallets, which were sent to a chain of hotels across the country. Gingerbread Traditions is seeing a rapid growth in both new wholesale orders and smaller orders from the public. The increase in demand has Cheryl expecting to outsell 2012’s record of 30,000 houses.  

“The Emerging Leaders Program really helped me to evaluate my business from the outside,” said Cheryl. “I’m looking at my business differently now, instead of seeing where it will take me, I can’t wait to see where I can take it next.”

For more information about the Emerging Leaders Program or to find out about PDO’s 2014 Class of Emerging Leaders please visit www.sba.gov/OR

Owner Marshall Doyle looks on as his Lab Head conducts a calibration

When a Business Needs a Team for Success

When Marshall Doyle settled in Portland, Ore., after four years in the Air Force and another five years in the Air National Guard, he wasn’t thinking about owning a business. He wanted to get a job and support his wife and two young children. Marshall worked his way up through a local property management firm, eventually overseeing 40 employees. But he wasn’t satisfied. “I always felt like I could do more,” said Marshall. “I was always looking for opportunities.” So when a friend of the family introduced him to the owner of Cal-Cert who was looking to sell his business, Marshall jumped at the opportunity.

It meant a $20,000 cut in pay, but the challenge made up for it and in 1998, Marshall went to work at Cal-Cert. Eight months later after learning the ropes, he purchased the company. Marshall had some experience in calibration from serving as Field Systems Mechanic while in the Air Force, but he didn’t have a lot of knowledge about running a small business. That’s when he turned to the Small Business Development Center at Clackamas Community College.

“The SBDC helped me understand the value of my time,” said Marshall. “I was working 70-80 hours a week and not charging enough.” The SBDC helped Marshall evaluate and raise his prices, and he didn’t lose a single customer.

“Marshall is a tenacious, dedicated business owner,” said Rob Campbell, director of the Clackamas Small Business Development Center. “He just needed help figuring out the logistical side of owning a business. Now, the table has turned and he is one of our best guest speakers – helping other small businesses learn from his early mistakes.”

 Something else Marshall learned was the importance of his employees. Having started with just himself, his wife, his brother and one other employee, growing took some getting used to. In 2007, Marshall met Teresa Paschal for lunch, she had been working for Cal-Cert’s main competitor. After a five-hour lunch, she came to work at Cal-Cert. Her specialty was in finance and she was known for creating efficiencies and reducing waste. And that’s just what she did. “She asked me all of the hard questions,” said Marshall. “But they were the right questions, and just what we needed to grow and be successful.”

Teresa’s favorite part of working at a small business is that each employee is heard and helps to ensure success. “Marshall has great ideas and has built amazing relationships with our customers and across our industry,” said Teresa. “But, it’s together that we’ve built a team that supports Cal-Cert’s vision and culture.”

Cal-Cert now employs 30 and recently opened a second office in Denver, Col. “Our employees range in age from 22 year old to 65 years old and they are truly what make us special,” said Marshall. “Together, our team has 170 years of calibration experience – they know what to do and they do it well.”

For more information about SBA Programs and Resources visit www.sba.gov/or.

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