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After eight years, Tanya Chemodurow finally has a place to hang her kimono.
Sitting in Tanya’s very modern office at Abatement Contractors of Montana, LLC, with a kimono hanging on the wall, it’s hard to believe she started in an old 100 square foot apartment building in East Missoula. Touring her new 6,000 square foot facility, Tanya’s passion and devotion for the business she has developed from the ground up is evident.
Chemodurow is an SBA all-star. She’s received an SBA 504 loan through Montana Community Finance Corporation, became 8(a) certified for federal contracting and graduated from SBA’s e200 Emerging Leaders program.
“All really go hand-in-hand,” said Chemodurow.
She learned about the 8(a) program while attending a PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) conference. SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a nine-year program established to assist eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to develop and grow their business through federal contracting. Although the program does not specifically treat women as social and economically disadvantaged, Chemodurow was able to prove with evidence that she was in fact disadvantaged. (SBA defines socially disadvantaged individuals as those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual capabilities.)
“It wasn’t easy,” Chemodurow said. After two years and four denials, SBA finally approved Chemodurow’s application and certified Abatement Contractors of Montana, LLC, as 8(a). Chemodurow is currently in her fifth year of the nine-year program and has been awarded over 200 contracts for more than $16 million dollars with her 8(a) status.
As an 8(a) company, Chemodurow was invited to participate in SBA’s inaugural e200 Emerging Leaders program in 2011. She almost didn’t sign-up as it was a seven-month, 100-hour commitment traveling to Helena every other week, but she felt like it was important to learn more, to fill in her weak spots and become more comfortable with her business financials.
She said she is glad she didn’t turn down the opportunity to gain so much knowledge and make new contacts. During the e200 Emerging Leaders program, one of the segments was on financing and Linda Kindrick of Montana Community Finance Corporation was a guest panelist. That’s where Chemodurow learned about SBA’s 504 loan program and began wondering if that loan product would work for her business and her growth plan. After graduating from the e200 class Chemodurow approached Kindrick and began the process of obtaining a 504 loan for her new facility. The three-year strategic growth plan that she put together during the e200 program was instrumental in helping her obtain the loan.
Chemodurow credits her success to her commitment to taking advantage of every available opportunity and to always making time and a concerted effort to learn more.
“I’ve been in the right place at the right time many times, and it’s not by accident,” Chemodurow said.
As for her future plans, Chemodurow said she will continue to learn and continue to grow. “I’ve learned a lot by trial and error and I’ve learned that if I don’t try, I’m not only going to not get anything, but I’m also not going to learn.”
1549 South 1100 East
Salt Lake City, Utah
Lying face up in the deep Argentine powder of Las Leñas, Stephan Drake thought there has got to be a better way to ski. Disappointed in the commercially available snow skis, this epiphanic moment began a sixteen year journey of creativity and experimentation which resulted in an entirely new material and design for skis.
Today, Drake is the Founder and President of DPS Skis. This Utah Company is the only manufacturer of pure carbon fiber skis in the world. The company’s innovation and dedication to skiing has resulted in market success and double digit growth. Drake employs ten people in the Wasatch Valley with plans to increase that to 14 next years. The company manufactures its signature premium skis in Ogden with plans to open a new facility in Downtown Salt Lake City. “We want our Salt Lake facility to be a part of the DPS brand,” says Drake. “We envision a place where people can come and see their skis being made. People coming to Park City could tour the facility, buy a pair, and head for the mountains. That is what it is all about.”
DPS ships skis to half a dozen countries worldwide. Growing the company from scratch has not been easy. “Our journey is marked by a sense of perseverance. It is a rocky road, and we really bootstrapped it.” Drake contributes his early success to youthful naivety and the timely arrival of debt finance. Drake’s export expansion was funded by an SBA guaranteed Export Express loan from Zions Bank. “Finance has always been one of the biggest challenges,” says Drake who thinks he probably could not have gotten the loan without the SBA guarantee.
JACKSONVILLE, FL. - Harold Boyett, owner of Blue Streak Couriers, began his career in the delivery business at UPS when he was 18 years old. He worked his way up through many positions to a mid-level management position. While employed at UPS, he learned of Blue Streak Couriers, a same-day courier service that was an agent for UPS Sonic Air in Jacksonville, Florida. After much consideration and evaluation, Mr. Boyett took ownership of Blue Streak in 2005. Since his acquisition of the company, he has steadily created jobs and grown revenue approximately 500% over 8 years.
When Mr. Boyett purchased the business, he knew he would have some challenges ahead in terms of changing the business model. In October 2004, regulation was passed that allowed banks and credit unions to electronically process checks, whereas prior to that, courier services were heavily used to transport paper checks. Mr. Boyett quickly diversified the business to focus on transporting tangible products, including clinical lab work and supply distribution in the office products and healthcare industries. He also rapidly expanded the business from northeast Florida to all major markets in Florida by 2007.
In addition to rapidly growing the geographic territory of the business, Mr. Boyett also aggressively increased the number of jobs created in the community. Mr. Boyett has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as an “SBA 100” business. This distinction was given to 100 business owners across the country that created over 100 jobs in their industries. Blue Streak Couriers currently employs 43 full-time employees and contracts with over 200 microbusinesses to provide courier services.
Mr. Boyett began his transition from mid-level manager to successful business owner by working with SBA resource partner, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), in 2004, when he was first considering the purchase of Blue Streak. Since that time, he continues to work with Cathy Hagan, a Business Analyst at the SBDC, to evaluate opportunities for growth of the company and to manage this growth. The Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida provides management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. For more information, visit the SBDC at UNF’s website at www.sbdc.unf.edu.
Mr. Boyett initially received a 7(a) loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to fund the acquisition of Blue Streak and a subsequent SBA 504 loan to help finance the acquisition of two business condominiums to house the administrative operations of the company. The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses to obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. For more information on 7(a) loans, visit http://www.sba.gov/financialassistance, and for a list of SBA lenders in North Florida, please visit www.sba.gov/fl/north.
The SBA 504 loan program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire fixed assets (such as real estate or equipment) for expansion or modernization. It is designed for small businesses requiring “brick and mortar” financing, and is delivered by Certified Development Companies (CDCs, private, non-profit corporations set up to contribute to the economic development of their communities). For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/financialassistance.
Blue Streak Couriers has been recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal as one of the 50 fastest growing businesses in the area for three of the past four years. Mr. Boyett has also received recognition from industry-specific publications such as Courier Magazine.
In his spare time, Mr. Boyett supports the courier industry through his active participation in several organizations including the Florida State Messenger’s Association, the Customized Delivery and Logistics Association, and the Express Carriers Association. He also informally mentors other small business owners that have started their own local courier service. Lastly, he donates his time and expertise by speaking to the entrepreneurship class each semester at the University of North Florida where he shares his knowledge regarding his experience as an entrepreneur.
While his company’s growth is often attributed to the use of innovative technology to produce results for customers, Mr. Boyett insists that the key to his success is his focus on customer service and a sense of loyalty from those customers in return.
In addition to contributing his time to help other small business owners, Mr. Boyett also actively contributes to several local charities including Dreams Come True of Jacksonville and the Pulse Youth Center.
For more information on Blue Streak Couriers, please visit www.bluestreakcouriers.com.
For more information on SBA’s Programs and Services, please visit www.sba.gov.