Kamran and Anna Karbassiyoon, owners of Sir Speedy Printing of Roanoke, discovered earlier this year that recent growth of their successful downtown business made the original building too small. They needed additional space to accommodate their new business document management services and equipment. According to Anna, “Sir Speedy approached a point where we had to relocate to a larger facility to accommodate the needs of our customers as well as own growth for the future.” A two-story, 12,000 square foot building at 22 West Church Avenue in Roanoke was purchased and the first floor was renovated for Sir Speedy Printing operation. The new facility opened in May 2004.
Anna was born in Italy. When she was 15 years old, her father was transferred to Santiago, Chile where they lived for seven years. In 1979 she came back to the United States to attend graduate school and received a masters’ degree in chemistry. It was in graduate school that she and Kamran met. Shortly after getting married they moved to Roanoke from Massachusetts where Kamran was working as a fiber optics engineer. Kamran’s new job at ITT brought them to the Roanoke Valley. While Kamran worked at ITT as a fiber optics engineer Anna commuted to Blacksburg and worked as an electroplating engineer.
Anna and Kamran always wanted to own their own business. After thorough research they opened Sir Speedy Printing of Roanoke in June 1995. According to Anna, “My husband and I have technology backgrounds, we specifically liked printing and copying business because it was a way to serve other businesses and still be involved with high technology. What makes this business fascinating is establishing business with our clients where they consider us as part of their entity and utilize our services.”
Throughout the life of their business Mr. and Mrs. Karbssiyoon have relied on the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center for assistance. Prior to opening the business Anna attended several training seminars/workshops offered by the Small Business Development Center. This year, when they made the decision to move to the new location, they met with Roy Baldwin, director of the SBDC, for advice on the move. According to Anna, “The SBDC has been very instrumental in assisting us in making the right decisions and helping us to avoid costly mistakes.”
The new location makes it easier than ever for business customers to order printing, scanning, archiving, mailing, online ordering, and document management services, according to Kamran. The business also continues to offer its customers competitive pricing on full-service digital printing and copying, as well as free pickup and delivery.
The business opened nine years ago with two employees and now employs eight people. The Karbassiyoons feel the new location will enable them to achieve their sales goals for the next 10 years.
For long-term customers of Sir Speedy Printing of Roanoke, there hasn’t been a problem finding the new business location at 22 West Church Avenue. The new facility, three times the size of the previous location, is just a couple of doors up from the original building.
SBA’s 2004 Minority Small Business Person of the Year in the Richmond District, Mike McCarley, Enjoys Continued Success
Following 10 years service as a U.S. Naval Officer on various ships as well as the U.S. Naval Safety Center, and nearly 20 years working for a large government contractor, Mike McCarley started his own government contracting business in Prince William County, Virginia. ICI, LLC is an 8(a)/SDB, Veteran-Owned small business providing engineering and technical support to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and other Federal Agencies. ICI’s staff serves clients nationally and internationally in the following areas: Professional Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Program Management, Base Operating Support Services (BOSS), Field Service Engineering, and Information Technology. ICI’s managers offer experience across a wide spectrum of defense and technical specialties, often exploring unique and innovative solutions.
In its early stages ICI, LLC, like all small businesses, struggled with initial capitalization. Mr. McCarley funded the business by mortgaging his home and using his life savings. Mr. McCarley also encountered difficulties in getting local financial institutions to take ICI seriously in order to secure lines of credit and loans. Only once ICI grew to $3.5 M in gross sales revenues were the banks willing to seriously consider the firm’s financing needs. With each hurdle encountered, Mike McCarley grew stronger and more motivated to succeed. Today ICI, LLC is a financially sound firm with a bright future in supporting the Federal Government.
ICI, LLC has received substantial support in the form of training from the Richmond Small Business Administration since their 8(a), SDB certification in early 2003.
The 8(a) Business Development Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. SBA has helped thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs over the years to gain a foothold in government contracting. Participation is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.
Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
Since receiving their 8(a) certification, the firm has been awarded $58 million in contracts. In September 2004 Mike McCarley was named Minority Small Business Person of the Year by the SBA’s Richmond District. ICI also celebrated its 5-year anniversary in September 2004. The firm has grown from one employee to over 200 today. ICI support staff work in 13 states as well as Japan (Naval Station Yokosuka). The firm’s annual revenues exceed $18 million and 22 prime contracts (as well as multiple subcontracts).
After 12 years working as an army nurse, Khedijah Iman Vidal retired to life as a civilian in 1998. Her years in service gave her a basis in administration and discipline and provided her with a lifetime of adventures, both good and bad. During her military career she served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia.
After retiring, she settled in Atlanta, GA and returned to school at the Art Institute of Atlanta. There she pursued degrees in both video production and multimedia. Khedijah graduated with honors in 2001 at age 47 and earned several prestigious awards, including "Most Contributions to the Video Department" award and "Best of Show" for her portfolio. Her work is still featured in the student handbook and shown during the annual open house at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
After graduating, Khedijah continued with several note-worthy projects she begun while in school, including Tyler Perry's Play "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", Gospel Music Stellar Awards Show 2001, “Bonner Brother's Hair Show 2001”, “Helping Teens Succeed” national promotional video, and music videos with several independent record labels.
While in the midst of wrapping up those loose ends, life intervened in a way that set her off course for several years. In the winter of 2001, Khedijah moved to Richmond, VA to care for her sick mother.
Imani Productions was already in the formative stages while Khedijah was living in Atlanta. She had learned the technical skills and gathered an impressive list of professional contacts there, but she knew the business wasn’t developed enough to survive the move. She served a stint as Executive Producer Representative for one episode of Harriett Turnquest TV show "Citizen's Alert." She produced one more show from Richmond, via telephone and Internet conversations with her crew. Time and money were stretched to the breaking point.
Khedijah quickly found employment at YWCA working with her second love, children. For three years she worked as an after-school teacher. Her crowning achievement at the YWCA was the successful development and implementation of "Star Power", a program designed to help students improve their SOL scores. Since its inception, YWCA students involved maintained an 85% SOL passing rate.
In the winter of 2003, Khedijah and friend came to New Visions, New Ventures with plans to start a daycare center. It became evident that the partnership was on shaky ground and that plan fell through the cracks after six months of hard work.
Discouraged by the dissolution of the partnership, one of the business counselors encouraged Khedijah to think about what she really wanted to do, not what she thought, as a 50-year-old woman, she was expected to do. She admitted to having a video production degree and to her dream of entering the field as an entrepreneur. Revisiting the long dormant idea of beginning her own video production company, Khedijah realized her passion. She just needed the encouragement to dream it was possible.
Expecting to be paid what she’s worth in the market was a challenge for Khedijah. NVNV counselors gave her the confidence to project herself as a professional and to ask for appropriate compensation. While in the program, she has had opportunities to meet other women who are ready to set out on their own and has been introduced to business and networking opportunities such as the VBO fair.
After months of struggling with marketing, she began directing her business to the faith community by creating public access program highlighting church events. She is responsible for producing, shooting, editing and packaging these programs. She is currently working on an historical documentary series as well.
Most importantly to Khedijah, starting her own business has made her children see that dreams can be chased and caught.