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How Customers, Contacts and Caring Can Build a Paragon Force

Situation:

In the early 2000s, Sherri Davis owned a small restaurant just off Crane Naval Station in Bloomfield, Indiana.  It was a popular place, so she knew everyone on and off base and what they did for a living .  More and more, Sherri said, they found she was serving customers more than just delicious biscuits and gravy.Paragon Force President & CEO Sherri Davis goes over payroll and scheduling with her office manager.

“I like talking to people” Sherri said.  “I like taking care of people and helping them solve their problems. So if somebody came in who was building something on Crane and said their contractor fell through I’d want to help.  A lot of times I had another customer who could do the job, so I’d introduce them.  It was kind of like being a matchmaker,” she continued,  “but instead of romantic couples, I was pairing up local resources with federal business.”

As the recession hit its stride in 2009 Sherri decided to close the restaurant and transition her problem-solving skills to fulfilling the needs of contractors on Crane Naval Station.  She called her new venture Paragon Force.  To get started, Sherri knew she’d need funds.  She also knew that being nice and providing introductions was only a small part of meeting the needs of contractors on Crane.  She knew she was going to need some expert advice on how the world of federal contracting really worked.

 

How SBA resources helped:

Sherri called the business advisors at SCORE.  They helped her analyze her funding options and put together a comprehensive business plan which she took to her lender to secure financing.  “The plan SCORE helped me put together allowed me to go to my lender and quickly secure financing to begin Paragon Force operations,” Sherri said.  Then Sherri worked with SBA contracting experts and resource partners at the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Indiana Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to make herself more marketable to federal contractors.   She received her Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) designation, participated in government contracting trade shows and matchmaking events, and became HUBZone certified.  “The WOSB and HUBZone certifications made a world of difference,” Sherri said.  “I became what federal contractors are looking for when they are looking to fill contracts.”

Sherri Davis with employee in the manufacturing studio of Paragon Force in Bloomfield, Indiana

Impact:

In the last 10 years, Paragon Force has grown from two to 80 employees working on federal and private contracts across the nation.  Through federal contracts, Sherri was able to grow Paragon Force and in 2017 was able to open her own technology & business park; NorthGate.  Located in Bloomfield, this 30-acre complex currently houses Paragon Force manufacturing, storage and administrative facilities with ample room to grow.

“SBA resources helped me start Paragon Force,” she said, “and create a company that allows me to talk to people, find solutions, and take care of their needs in a way I never imagined.”

 

For more information on SBA resources like Sherri used--from capital to counseling to contracting--click on the tabs at the top of sba.gov.

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Company Name: 
Paragon Force
Location: 
Bloomfield, Indiana