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Army Veteran Dives into Restaurant Business with SBA Loan, SBA Resource Partner Tapped for Business Advice

BUFFALO, NY –United States Army Ammunition Specialist, Mike Stanton risked everything buying his business almost two years ago in Clarence, New York. Taking a leave of absence from his transportation career and purchasing Royal Pizza & Italian Bistro.

“I wanted a life change and felt a hard desire to work for myself,” he said. “I started looking for a place and knew I had the recipe for success, passion and drive to dive into this business and keep the authentic Italian style the community was used to.”

While searching for a location, owner, Mike Stanton tapped SCORE Buffalo Niagara for help learning about the advantages of buying an existing business. “The counseling advice I received, helped me to determine how to evaluate my business before I purchased it. The good thing about SCORE is that they will match you with someone who can help you with a specific issue,” he said.

SCORE Buffalo Niagara is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration that mentors entrepreneurs with general business advice on every aspect of business planning, start-up, management and growth.

Located in Clarence Hollow, Royal Pizza & Italian Bistro has long been a magnet for the community, mostly popular for its authentic Italian style. The restaurant seats close to 40 patrons, and has a simple yet appealing menu. Menu options include everything from gourmet to classic pizza, endless appetizers, calzones and Stromboli, fish fry, submarines, burgers and Royal and baked pasta specialties.

Patience and planning have certainly paid off for Mike. In November 2018, after spending several years in the transportation business, Mike saw the opportunity to purchase the restaurant. But inspiration and drive wasn’t enough to open the necessary doors. Mike had the customer experience, good credit and a sound business plan, but needed additional financing for his business purchase.

Mike found financing with a SBA loan through the Bank of Akron. I met with Vice President Commercial Lending Manager Richard Rogers who connected me with Assistant Vice President Commercial Relationship Manager Ashley Reed to secure SBA financing. “The home town feel of the bank and the ease of securing my loan through SBA was just enough,” said Mike. “And buying the business allowed for tax deductions based on depreciation, which will save me money in the long run.”

Royal Pizza & Italian Bistro’s dining options keeps expanding, and this time it’s catering and delivery. Offering delicious food, ensuring a sanitary environment and competitive pricing, the restaurant can cater any type of event to include picnics, graduations and more. “In the military we are extremely organized, have confidence and the ability to stay calm in a crisis,” says Mike. “It is the skills I learned that allow me to be competitive and be successful.”

Mike gives his advice to entrepreneurs who are starting up, saying, and “You must understand the commitment!” There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears and while the idea is romantic, reality is truth while you’re doing it.”


About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit