SBA offers information on small business loans, grants, bonds and other financial assistance. Find out which method of financing is right for you!Learn More about Small Business Loans, Grants, Bonds & Other Financial Assistance
While SBA does not make loans directly, you can find a local lender who can help you with your loan application. You may also speak directly with a local SBA representative by calling .
Events & Workshops
Explore events by this district office.
Select a date, or a date range to see events.
For Small Business Owners
Resources in Your Area
Resources from Our Office
Central Research in Lowell, Arkansas, is a people-information firm specializing in the identification, verification, and documentation of deceased and incarcerated individuals as well as Freedom of Information Act support services. Johnny Dillard, a service-disabled veteran, started the company in 1999 with two part-time employees. The firm currently has over 50 full-time employees using technology that allows them to review over 250,000 files a week.
A successful participant in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, Johnny was the 2011 Arkansas Minority Small Business Person of the Year, and the 2012 Arkansas Veteran Small Business Champion. He was also one of eight finalists in the 2013 Small Business Tournament of Veteran Champions sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Spike TV.
Inc. Magazine rated Central Research as #1572 in its list of the 5000 fastest growing companies in the United States in 2013. The company was the third fastest growing company in Arkansas with a 253% growth in revenue over the past three years.
In 2010 Johnny helped draft two legislative bills to assist service-disabled veterans. Arkansas Governor Beebe signed these bills into law in April 2011. Arkansas Act 882 gives all state agencies a 5% goal for doing business with service-disabled veterans, and Arkansas Act 883 adds service-disabled veterans to the definition of “minority” under the state’s Minority Business Economic Development Act.
Johnny was one of the founders of the Task Force for Veteran Entrepreneurs in Washington, DC. He is currently active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps League, and American Legion. Central Research was the Arkansas winner of the American Legion’s award for hiring veterans.
Daniel Mitchell is a US Army Combat Medic veteran, who served our country from 1989 to 1993 in the Persian Gulf and Somalia.
He grew up in nearby Utica, New York where at just age 12 he began working in gyms. At this young age, he knew he wanted to change lives. “I felt I had a purpose in life to enhance our quality of life with exercise. I wanted to release this life force through health, training and discipline, said Mitchell.” As founder and owner of The Soap Box, a health and fitness club located in downtown Buffalo, New York, I knew I had the tools to help change lives but knew I needed additional resources to maintain my business structure and add clients.”
Passionate about his clients and the desire to open a second location, Daniel contacted the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and found William Grieshober, Small Business Advisor. Daniel continued to meet with Bill, working on writing a business plan, managing numbers and marketing strategies. Daniel says, Bill was unbelievable, giving him the resources he needed to sharpen his plan and reach his goal of receiving a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan for the start and growth of his new business.
Daniel reflected on his banking experience saying, “At the very start of my ambition to start a business, I contacted the Small Business Administration’s Buffalo District Office who directed me to contact my local banking representative. That’s when I met with George Gardner, my local banking representative. George provided me with some great advice and assisted me through the process of opening my first business with and SBA Patriot Express loan.”
Years later the two met again. Daniel was in search of resources to open his second location. Once again he found George who knew Daniel was a veteran who served in the US Army and encouraged him to apply for an SBA guaranteed loan. Daniel was approved and received his SBA loan from the New York Business Development Center and Lake Shore Savings Bank and in 2012 opened The Powerhouse Studios.
To be eligible to receive an SBA Patriot Express Loan, the business must be owned and controlled (51 percent or more) by eligible veterans and members of the military community who want to establish or expand a small business. Eligible military community members include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members eligible for the military’s transition assistance program, reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, including any service member and widowed spouses of service members or veterans who died during service or of a service-connected disability. To learn more about SBA’s Patriot Express Loan program, please visit http://www.sba.gov/content/express-pilot-programs
Daniel received his SBA loan and his plan to open a second location was complete. Today, The Soap Box and The Powerhouse Studios are a way of life for many, offering a variety of programs and services to improve one’s health and quality of life. “We recognize that every person has their own set of goals and aspirations and that is why we provide personal certified instructors and various other services including martial arts, aikido and tai-chi.
Daniel is proud to see his dreams of changing lives and watching clients get healthy and stay healthy. “The accomplishment of expanding and growing is rewarding,” said Daniel. “I enjoy training and working with my clients.
For more information on SBA’s program and services, please visit www.sba.gov.
By Danny Monahan
Small Business Administration Vermont District Office Public Information Officer
Three children walk into a gelato shop and begin trying the different flavors of the day. Once they decide on a flavor, they leave laughing while licking their cones.
“That’s the best part,” said Theo Kennedy. “Seeing the smiles on people’s faces while enjoying our gelato.”
A little more than a year ago, Theo and his wife Nora decided to open Chill, a family business, on State Street in Montpelier.
“Opening a family business was at the core of Chill,” said Theo Kennedy. “When we started this business we wanted to be together more, not less.”
The entire family works there. The children, Patrick, Aine and Sasha each spend time after school and on weekends behind the counter scooping, making gelato or hanging out.
“We love having our family here with us, it doesn’t even feel like we are working at times,” said Theo Kennedy.
The Kennedys thought they could make Chill work because of the economic growth Montpelier has experienced over the past few years. They felt downtown was missing an ice cream shop.
There is an endless selection of flavors changing daily. They have exotic flavors like Coconut and Ginger, Rose and Mango Cream. Others have Italian names such as, Frutti di Bosco, Donatelloa and Stracciatella. Then there are concoctions like Lemon Coconut Shortbread, Clove Orange and Blueberry Black Currant. The list goes on.
“With the exception of mangos and a few other items, we mostly use local ingredients,” said Theo Kennedy. “We try to make gelato in a traditional way so we can be successful.”
According to Nora Kennedy, the chief gelato maker, Chill’s gelato is a Sicilian-style, which means it does not contain eggs. She said it is made from scratch in small batches daily. Gelato is similar to ice cream, but it contains less cream, less air, and is served slightly above freezing temperatures to bring out its flavors.
The Kennedys love of gelato stems from their time in Italy. Theo lived in Italy for two years and Nora has visited there as well, so they are not unfamiliar with Italian cuisine.
The Kennedy’s opened Chill’s doors Sept. 28, 2012 after obtaining a Small Business Administration 7(a) loan. The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program for helping start-up businesses. With the capital guaranteed by the SBA, the Kennedys were able to lease their space, make some renovations, and purchase a refrigerator, mixer and other items. The SBA does not make direct loans, but rather guarantees loans made by participating lenders.
“The SBA helped fund our business dream,” said Nora Kennedy. “I’m glad there is an agency that realizes small businesses are essential to society.”
The Kennedys said it’s mostly been a positive experience with very few downsides.
“Running a small business has been challenging because we are still learning some of the basics of it, but it’s been very rewarding.”
The Kennedys feel Chill has become part of the Montpelier community. Chill has so many regular customers; the Kennedys know many by name.
“The next best thing to working with your family is interacting with the customers,” said Nora Kennedy. “Montpelier is a great community. The general vibe is people are happy when they come in here. They come in to get gelato.”