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Orchard Park Entrepreneur Turns Passion for Paws into Startup Success

SBA Straight Talk, Resources Help Retiree Build Business from the Ground Up

BUFFALO, NY – It was desire that motivated retired secretary, Mary Beth Glatz to create SandDancer, a canine swim therapy and fitness facility she opened in Orchard Park, New York in 2013Inspired by her beloved Labrador Retriever, the idea of canine swim therapy was easy.  Mary Beth recalls, “Several months prior to the end of our Labrador Retriever’s life, our veterinarian recommended swim therapy to help with his deteriorating health.  Not only did the swimming extend his life, it improved his quality of life.”  These results prompted Mary Beth’s research of canine swim facilities and the future opening of her dream business.

An encore entrepreneur, Glatz says, “After having a taste of being an entrepreneur 20 plus years ago, I had the yearning to again become an entrepreneur.  I had the concept and the experience to imagine my vision but I also knew I needed additional guidance to bring my reality to fruition.  I called SCORE Buffalo Niagara and met with volunteer mentor Scott Smith, who was very supportive of my ideas.  His advice allowed me to prioritize my goals.” 

After meeting with SCORE mentor Scott Smith, Mary Beth was referred to another SBA resource, the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College.  Working with several business advisors at the SBDC, Mary Beth fine-tuned her business plan, set financial projections and gathered the necessary information needed for the construction of her home-based business.  As her initial success continued, Mary Beth learned about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual Straight Talk conference, where the contacts and training she received helped her successfully start and open SandDancer.

Built from the ground up, SandDancer is an indoor warm water canine therapy and fitness facility that focuses on a dog’s physical and emotional health and well-being.  The business features arthritis treatment, weight loss and management, relief for hip, shoulder and elbow dysplasia, improved circulation, post-surgery rehabilitation and much more.  Swims are always one-on-one with a certified warm water swim specialist and comprise of one-hour sessions.  Each session is customized depending on the dog’s individual needs.

“Straight Talk played a critical role in the development of my business.  The contacts and resources provided made it possible for me to move my business forward,” recalled Mary Beth.  “SBA, I feel has the greatest resources for small business.  I received so much for FREE!  For every challenge faced, I had someone who could support me and give advice.”

Straight Talk 2014 is the 18th annual presentation of this program which over the years has attracted thousands of participants. The upcoming half-day seminar will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2014. Available seminars include: “Show Me the Money”, “Business Basics”, “Make Yourself Credit Worthy”, “Accessing Business Opportunities through SBA 8(a), DBE and MWBE Certification”, “Business Assistance for Veterans”, “Navigating Your Business through Taxes & Permits”, “We Did It! You Can Too!” and “Marketing Your Small Business".

“I am convinced that this conference gives entrepreneurs essential tools needed to achieve small business success,” said SBA Buffalo District Director Franklin Sciortino.

To learn more about Straight Talk, please visit our SBA website at www.sba.gov/ny/buffalo or call us at (716) 551-4301.  Registration and details are available by visiting:  www.WNYStraighttalk.org.