Success Stories

How a battle with cancer propelled Suzanne Merritt to transforming Lenox Fit

by Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist

Life has become MORE meaningful to Suzanne Merritt ever since overcoming her battle with an aggressive form of stage-3 genetic breast cancer.  

For over a year, she dealt with several medical procedures and received chemotherapy treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston – all while maintaining her job as a certified personal trainer.  

It was a challenging period for Merritt, but she found that coaching others through her resilience – helped provide an outlet away from her battle with cancer.  During her recovery process working at the fitness center, her longtime boss who had run the club for many years suggested that she look into purchasing the business from the owner.

Making it happen with the SBA 504
Merritt always dreamed about becoming her own boss while making an impact on others – she... Read More

By Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist

Small businesses are leaving sales on the table without a strategy to compete in the world market. 

Exports are a significant part of America’s economic success. Companies that are involved in exporting are 8.5% less likely to go out of business and tend to grow faster than non-exporting companies[1].  According to the International Trade Administration, there were 9,193 small and medium-sized exporters in Massachusetts representing 89% of all statewide exporters in 2015[2].

Sturbridge-based Optim LLC is one of those small businesses – growing international sales exponentially over the past several years by utilizing the programs and services of the SBA’s resource partner network and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 


A Visualization Company
Optim makes security devices to detect contraband and medical devices that enhance visualization of the ear, nose and throat for doctors.  Founded in 1970, the... Read More

American manufacturing is on the rise in Braintree, Massachusetts.  According to the National Association of Manufacturers – total output from Massachusetts manufacturing showed a steady increase from 2009, reaching $48.75 billion in 2016.[1]  Commercial real estate loans from the SBA are fueling this trend by providing small business owners like Greg Acerra with tools to grow locally and scale operations nationally.

Fireking Baking Company has been an innovator in the baking industry and a leading manufacturer of European-style artisan breads since 1995.  Baking high-quality, all-natural products for restaurants and retail grocery stores – Fireking has been rapidly expanding through the development of a national distribution network and by utilizing state-of-the-art equipment that fulfills large orders with short turnaround time.

Before starting Fireking Baking Company, Founder Greg Acerra worked his way up in the food service industry, opening several... Read More

Veterans represent a vital part of our nation’s population, workforce and business community.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) – veteran business owners represented an estimated 9.1% of all business owners (2.52 million) with an annual payroll of $195 billion and receipts of $1.14 trillion[1].  Another study conducted by the International Franchise Association cited that one out of every seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by veterans.[2]

Veterans such as Dave Adams are part of an increasing trend of military personnel who are returning home and transitioning back to civilian life with business ownership. 


SBA Lending Supports Rapid Expansion
A Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dave Adams finished his service after nearly a decade as a commissioned officer, both as a leadership instructor and an assault amphibian platoon commander.  After rejoining civilian life, Dave’s entrepreneurial... Read More