Speaker 1: Allen Patric McClure says chocolate is an amazing food that he's very passionate about. Allen: When you mention chocolate, no one's ever unhappy.
Speaker 1: In 2006, McClure turned his love for chocolate into a successful Columbia business. This past year, Patric Chocolate generated more than a quarter million dollars in sales. Virginia: What Allen's doing here at Patric's Chocolate is just fantastic.
Speaker 1: Virginia Wilson is a counselor with the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center. Wilson worked with the chocolate maker to develop a business plan and financial projections which helped the owner forecast profits, operating costs, and cash flow. Virginia: You don't want to start a business, get a loan, invest your savings for a business that isn't going to be profitable, so you want to do those financial projections. Allen: I had absolutely no idea how to run a business. I just knew what I liked in chocolates.
Speaker 1: The MU Extension Business Development program reaches out to small business owners all over the state. In the past three years, business counselors helped their clients create and save more than 35,000 jobs in Missouri. Virginia: By us working with the small businesses, it helps us all locally, in the community, and statewide.
Speaker1: In only six years of business, Patric Chocolate has gained national recognition from places like Food & Wine Magazine, and Forbes. McClure admits people are a little surprised when they find out his fine chocolate is made in Missouri. Allen: I'm going to make great chocolate wherever I am, and I'm in Missouri. It is possible. It just takes a little more effort to get the word out.
Speaker 1: McClure expects his sales will double next year. The small business owner plans to hire more people and get a bigger place. Good news for the Missouri economy. From the University of Missouri, I'm Kent Faddis reporting.