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Success Stories

What can you learn from SBA South Florida District Small Business Persons of the Year?  Read about Steve Miller who found a business idea at work. Lisa Hickey expanded a woman-owned screen printing business.  John Diaz lost his job then started his own industrial supply business. What are you waiting for? Become a small business owner like these pros!

On-The-Job Idea Turns Into Successful Small Business for Owner Steve Miller


Simply put, Steve Miller likes to tinker.

                Once Steve gets an idea in his head, he’s not letting it go until after he’s studied it closely, taken it apart, reassembled the pieces, and see if he can’t make it perform better.  He’s not afraid of getting a little dirt under his fingernails in the process.  The Boynton Beach, Fla., registered nurse created his own small business success in his spare time simply by chasing his ideas.

                “When I started in nursing, more than one of the other nurses told me that I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer because I couldn’t remember step-by-step procedures and had to write them down on three-by-five cards.” said Miller.  “So instead of letting their negative remarks get to me, I started to view myself as a really good spoon and not a knife.  I realized I needed to find a role where spoon qualities were essential because I considered myself the best there was.”   

               ... Read More

Lisa Hickey Has Been There, Done That AND Prints the T-shirts

When Lisa Hickey took over the ownership of her father’s business, Douglass Screen Printers in 1996, she not only faced a transforming industry driven by technology change but a more daunting challenge:  being a female CEO in an industry where there were few peers. 

“My father brought me into the business in the 1980s so I was very familiar with the screen printing business,” said Hickey.  “When I took over as owner, I knew of very few women who owned businesses, and none like mine.  It’s very important to have a network of trusted peers”. 

Hickey accepted the challenge and moved forward to grow the business.  Today, with three locations, employing more than 45 people and being ranked in the top 10% of all screen printing businesses in the nation, Hickey’s Douglass Screen Printers is a testament to success.  She credits the company’s livelihood with taking advantage of entrepreneur programs at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South... Read More

John Diaz Makes Big Hit In Industrial Supply Business

The Tampa, Fla., small business community has a designated hitter on their roster that is inspiring other entrepreneurs around south Florida.

Tampa’s Impact Industrial Supplies-owner John Diaz started down his career path as a supplier in tools, abrasives, adhesives and other supplies used in industry in the 1980’s.  His dedication and the way he treated customers quickly advanced him to area manager several years later.  But his career to a life altering turn when the company he worked for began to fail and long-time employees left for other jobs.   

“I saw the writing on the wall and I left.  The company is still in business there was a risk of closing.  I had no job and four-month-old baby twins at home,” said Diaz.  “I had considered a business before and the time to start was now.  I had great relationships  with customers and suppliers and thought by working at home, I would find the business-family stability I needed.” 

Diaz set out to continue his... Read More