Success Stories

Small Business Owner Receives Advice from SCORE, Expands for Growth

Julie Ann Segal lives her philosophy. “I believe that each person has the capacity to create a living or working environment that reflects their spirit and enhances health and wellbeing,” she says. Segal has built a successful business on her passion for design. She combines interior design and Feng Shui to help her clients achieve harmonious inviting spaces that are an expression of their own style.

Her company, Metropolitan Interiors, is based in a charming Victorian home on Loring Park in Minneapolis. The space not only works in a practical sense, but also is used as a showcase of products and crafts that highlight artists, cabinet builders, furniture manufacturers, and building materials. The house brims with an inviting array of colors and textures, as well as Segal’s positive energy.

Segal has been working as a professional designer for 20 years. In 2003, she became a State certified Feng Shui practitioner. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of... Read More

Small Business Owner Receives Advice from SCORE, Strengthens Marketing and Business Structure

After losing his job of over 20 years, Phillip Porter decided to put his MBA from St. Thomas to work and start his own business. As he considered the possibilities, he began cataloguing the valuables in his home. He discovered the merits of keeping an up-to-date inventory and he figured others would pay for the service, and a business was born. He and his brother, Ron, started their electronic inventory business in March 2005.

Their company, Crystal Treasures, Inc., offers an inventory service that professionally and confidentially documents assets and treasured keepsakes for recovery in case of a fire, tornado, storm damage, burglary or other disasters. Their service was developed for homeowners, businesses, schools and churches to maximize insurance claims as well as making the claim process flow smoother.

“A fire or storm can not only destroy a home, but can wipe out a lifetime of precious memories,” Philip said. “Thieves can invade our homes when we least... Read More

Executive Director Named Financial Services Champion of the Year

Kristin Wood, Executive Director and Assistant Secretary of SPEDCO, has been named Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

Since 1994, Wood has served as the Executive Director of SPEDCO, a non-profit certified development company whose mission is to help small businesses obtain financing for job creation, to fund business expansion and to promote economic development in Minnesota. Among certified development companies in Minnesota, SPEDCO is well-regarded as customer-focused, ethical and meticulous in its approach. Much of this is a result of Kristin’s energetic, focused leadership. She is a strong advocate of helping small businesses achieve job growth by encouraging participation in... Read More

Business Editor Named Small Business Journalist of the Year

Dawn Peake, Business Editor of the St. Cloud Times, has been named the Minnesota Small Business Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Journalist of the Year is selected annually to honor journalists representing television, radio, electronic or print media who show a concerted effort to increase public understanding of the importance of small business contributions to the economy, contribute news and feature stories, editorials, columns and commentary that highlight and analyze small business issues, volunteer community service aimed at enhancing small business opportunity and growth, and other achievements that exemplify the nominee’s media efforts to improve the understanding of the role of small business in the U.S. economy.

Peake joined the St. Cloud Times in October 2004 as a non-profit and religion reporter before accepting a business reporter position in December and helping launch the company’s quarterly... Read More