After serving in the United States Air Force for 20 years, African American businessman, Nelson Wilson began his second career in the musical business. Wilson started working at S&M Music Company where he learned the retail and service side of the business. Three years later, he was given the opportunity to purchase the business from the previous owner. With the help from his lender Leslie Ellis of First State Bank of Abilene, and direct assistance from employees of the Lubbock SBA Office, he was able to secure an SBA loan in order to purchase the business. He immediately changed the name of the business to Nelson’s Organ Service Center and focused more of his time on the service side of the business and began tuning pianos, repairing electronic keyboards and organs. Currently, he does most of his work for churches in Abilene and in the surrounding communities.
When he began, there were three other music stores in Abilene, but all three have had to close their doors. When these stores closed, the business owners contacted Mr. Wilson and asked him if he would take care of their customers as well. They knew of Mr. Wilson’s excellent work ethic and good reputation, and wanted to ensure that their customers would continue to receive quality service. Now other store had contacted him and gave him their client list to continue to serve the customers in these areas Organ Service Center is the only left.
Wilson said he has had a very interesting career and can’t believe how fast it has gone by. He said that the SBA and Leslie Ellis of First State Bank is what gave him the start he needed and would never have gotten off the ground without their assistance.
Maria Valeriano first consulted with the UTPB Small Business Development Center with a vision of starting her own insurance agency. She had a great deal of experience in the insurance business and was looking to obtain a bank loan to help realize her dream. The center worked closely with Maria and eventually completed a very professional business plan that she could present confidently to her bankers. Maria is a very determined individual and this determination to open her business meant that she listened to, and acted upon, all the advice given to her by the counselors at the SBDC. Maria’s application for a business loan was strong and well-prepared, but also she was timely and cooperative about providing the bankers with all additional data that they required.
Maria obtained a $25,000 loan that enabled her to open her business. She continues to use the services of the SBDC and enjoys their advice and assistance. She continued to show her appreciation to the SBDC by inviting the center staff members to her various functions, such as her ribbon cutting. Maria’s efforts are a testimony to what can be achieved with drive and a willingness to listen and to do whatever it takes.
In Maria’s own words, “The SBDC guided me through the business plan process, helped me with business cards and provided me with much needed start-up assistance.” Maria went on to say that if it wasn’t for the SBDC, she would probably have never opened her business. “These tools”, she added, “gave me a crystal clear perspective on the financial aspects of the business and gave me the insight to know what was necessary to succeed.”