Frank’s Nursery Grows with SBA Loan
Frank and Rosalba Nunez are the owners of Frank’s Nursery- Richmond Garden Center in Richmond, Texas. Frank’s Nursery was established in 2001 and offers a wide variety of plants, trees, shrubs, soil, fertilizer, stone, pottery, and sculptures. The nursery also offers landscaping services and sits on 14 acres, which was acquired with the help of an SBA guaranty loan.
Frank’s business is very successful today but his beginnings were very humble. Frank left his home in Mexico at the age of sixteen to pursue what many immigrants come to the United States for, the American Dream. Frank couldn’t speak English and took on any job he could get. He worked as a day laborer in the construction industry and as a dishwasher and busboy in restaurants. He later landed a job at a landscaping company where he honed his skills for his nursery business. When the owner of the landscaping company passed away, Frank contacted the company’s clients and offered to continue providing them landscaping service. He operated this business from his home for six years.
Frank realized that in order to grow his business he needed to improve his English and began taking classes at night. He also took business and tax courses at Houston Community College and H & R Block. In 1997, he purchased a nursery business in Richmond, Texas. After three years of operating the nursery on leased land, Frank was ready to expand the business. In 2000, after being turned down by eleven banks, Frank sought help from the Fort Bend Small Business Development Center to prepare financial documents. The SBDC also helped him secure a SBA guaranty loan for $175,000 to purchase seven acres of land to move his nursery business. Frank paid the loan off early and secured another bank loan to purchase an additional seven acres, expanding the business property to fourteen acres. Frank & Rosalba’s children also work at the nursery and are trained in sales, inventory, and customer service. The nursery currently employs fifteen people and is open seven days a week.
Frank is an advocate for the Small Business Development Center and SBA, referring many people who are interested in starting a business or need financial assistance. Frank and his family support many local charities and are actively involved with their church. Frank and Rosalba are the winners of the 2011 SBA Houston District, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business Award.
For more information about Frank’s Nursery, visit their location at 302 FM 359, Richmond, TX 77406 or their website at http://www.franks-nursery.com Information about the SBDC and SBA can be found at http://www.sbdc.uh.edu and http://www.sba.gov.
Young Entrepreneur Expands Business in Houston and Beyond
Young entrepreneur Masroor Fatany started Sears Garage Solutions of Houston in 2009 at the age of 22. Sears Garage Solutions is a Sears franchise that provides repair and installation services and offers a full line of garage doors and accessories.
Masroor’s exposure to entrepreneurship came at the early age of 10 when he frequently accompanied his father on service calls in his air conditioning business. He later worked in another family business in retail packaging and shipping. While attending college he and his father launched Unlimited Calling, Inc. selling pre-paid Cricket wireless products. They expanded the business and now have 6 locations.
After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s in accounting and a Master’s in Finance, Masroor worked as an Assurance and Advisory Associate at Ernst and Young. In less than a year, he realized he wanted to be a full time entrepreneur and began his search for a business idea. His search took him to Sears where he was chosen among 30+ applicants. He started the business with the help of a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Masroor also utilized the services of the University of Houston Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a resource partner of the SBA, that provides assistance to small businesses. Always looking for ways to improve and grow his business, he took advantage of all the services the SBDC offered, including research in their library, training classes, counseling, procurement and technical assistance, and the Professional Services Network of providers.
Upon completion of the Sears franchise training, Masroor hired one technician and committed himself to learn every aspect of the business. He launched an aggressive on-line marketing plan, and implemented an innovative customer service and scheduling system. His business covers 4 territories in Houston with a recent addition in San Antonio, where he turned the struggling location around increasing sales to over 500% in less than a year. Masroor hired an additional 6 technicians to accommodate his rapid growth rate and after his first full year in operation, was recognized by Sears Home Services Garage Solutions as the fastest growing franchise in 2010 and the 4th largest franchise (out of 45 Sears franchises) in the network. He was distinguished as the youngest owner to run the fastest growing franchise across the entire Sears franchise network covering carpet cleaning, garage solutions and home services.
Now at the age of 25, Masroor continues to develop his mentoring skills and keeps active in business organizations. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Sears’ franchises and is a member of the Greater Houston Partnership-Business Leadership Council, Texas State CPAs and Private Equity and Venture Group. Masroor is the 2012 SBA Houston District Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Sears Garage Solutions of Houston is located at 1331 Gessner Dr., Houston, TX 77055. For more information, visit their website at http://www.searsoverheaddoorhouston.com/. For information about SBA and the UH SBDC’s programs and services, visit http://www.sba.govand http://www.sbdc.uh.edu.
Logical Innovations, Inc. is an SBA-certified 8(a)/Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Woman-Owned and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB, EDWOSB) providing technical and business support services to the federal government and energy industry, owned and operated by Denise Navarro. Growing up in Galveston County, Navarro, not surprisingly, had the goal of one day being a member of the NASA community. She has worked for several companies and has enjoyed supporting NASA and other federal agencies since 1984. In 1999, based on a recommendation from a commercial client (and friend) she supported as an independent consultant (and still supports today), Navarro decided to incorporate Logical Innovations, Inc., but continued to work full time.
Navarro spent seven years researching all the steps and requirements necessary to become a successful company before taking the company fully operational in 2006. To enhance her knowledge, she attended some training courses and forums at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a resource partner of the SBA. To further support her decision, she enlisted the support of family and friends, many of whom she relies on for continued motivation and strength. She was fortunate to call owners of other small businesses her friends, mentors and teaming partners as she began and continues this chapter of her life.
Logical Innovations started with one employee, Navarro. She began on day one with a subcontract from her former employer and mentor, Virginia-based INDUS Corporation, to support NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Eight months after working on her own, she expanded the subcontract and hired more employees to support the expanded effort. Logical Innovations quickly grew to 20+ employees and associates, and is proud to now include NASA at the Johnson Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center among her clients. Having worked with several companies who have been certified in the SBA 8(a) business development program, Navarro decided to certify her company also. The 8(a) program provides business development assistance to eligible firms in a structured developmental process over a nine-year program participation term. Upon completion of the application, she was contacted by the Houston District Office regarding the required orientation scheduled thirty days later. Anxious and ready to get started, she requested an earlier orientation. The business development specialist was able to accommodate her request and Navarro was ecstatic.
In September 2009, Logical Innovations received their first prime 8(a) contract from the US Census Bureau, to support the 2010 Census by working with the local governments to validate their Census data, and building and maintaining a management information system. This contract allowed Navarro to further expand by hiring an additional twenty employees and associates. Navarro considers her employees her greatest asset. “I have great employees, some who have been with me since the beginning. I really appreciate my “pioneers” who have been through the growing pains with me, and helped Logical Innovations to become a better company. They are the people in the field who are building a great reputation for my company,” said Navarro. As a small business owner, she expanded and hired cautiously because she wanted to be able to provide all her employees with full benefits, offering medical, dental, vision, and a 401K with matching funds. “I never want my employees to feel they are at a disadvantage for working with a small company,” said Navarro. Logical Innovations has been able to consistently improve their total compensation package for their employees, a “significant strength” cited by a current federal client. Logical Innovations continues to aggressively pursue opportunities throughout the federal government, as a prime and a teaming partner, expanding across multiple agencies. Just this year, Logical Innovations was awarded a prime 8(a) effort with NASA/Johnson Space Center, and the Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks (eFAST) Contract.
Logical Innovations is headquartered in Houston, Texas with satellite offices in Southern California and the Washington D.C. metro area. They’ve been fortunate and have not seen any repercussions from the economy. Logical Innovations’ ability to remain responsive and flexible for its clients, in addition to dedicated employees and Navarro’s passion and personal commitment to clients, which she considers her advantage in the competitive federal contracting environment, has helped her revenues grow every year.
For more information about Logical Innovations, Inc. visit their website at http://www.logical-i2.com call them at 281.990.8560.