Success Stories


In 2006 Melinda and Teresa Barbaglia took ownership of C&B Lift Truck Service from their parents. They inherited a 10,000 square foot building with four service vans and nine employees, ten if you include the company cat.  The challenges of managing a small business in the current economic environment created a roller coaster ride complete with problems finding qualified mechanics, and dealing with the health and business insurance industries.  On top of all that, the daily struggle to stay competitive was ever pressing.


The sisters connected with the Grace Hill Women’s Business Center.  Counselor Narmen Hunter helped Melinda and Teresa restructure the company’s website, diversify their product offerings and develop focused marketing and advertising opportunities to improve the company’s visibility.   

Successful Impact/Outcome:

Melinda and Teresa are on a better course for growth and their profits continue to increase each year.  They’ve... Read More
SBA’s 2017 Minority-Owned Business of the Year for Eastern Missouri: Geodata IT, LLC

Glance at any number of magazine articles or websites devoted to entrepreneurship and a recurring theme quickly emerges. Entrepreneurs often want to solve a problem, fulfill a need or make the world better. But they want to do it on their own terms.  That pretty much describes Justin Bennett, President and CEO of Geodata IT, a St. Louis based technology company.  Bennett, a U.S. Air Force veteran, sought the freedom to solve difficult challenges using the methods and technology of his choosing.  After being honorably discharged from the military, Bennett expanded his experience base through his work with various federal contractors including NJVC, Raytheon, and SAIC.  In 2012, Bennett gave in to his hunger for independence and founded Geodata IT, a business specializing in providing solutions to national security and geospatial mission requirements.  Early in the process he connected with the Small Business Administration and its resource partner SCORE.
“When I wrote my... Read More

SBA 2017 Missouri Small Business Person of the Year: Cohen Architectural Woodworking
Walk around the 54,000 square foot headquarters of Cohen Architectural Woodworking and something becomes clear immediately.  There’s more going on than just woodworking.  The employees look happy to be there.  They enjoy showing off their contributions to the company’s mission. Whether it’s developing drawings for a system of cabinets or precisely cutting each piece of wood, the enthusiasm is contagious.  The company’s founder and CEO, Phillip Cohen was named SBA’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Missouri.  The secret of his success:  People first!
Cohen Architectural Woodworking is somewhat of a hub for those in need of a second chance.  Many of the company’s best employees are people with troubled pasts--ex-convicts, former drug addicts and others who have experienced some of life’s most horrible events.  In the eyes of Phil and his wife Gina, they... Read More

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of programs to help entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses. But even if a business never requires extra help with capital or counseling they can still receive a boost in business from participation in some lesser known SBA programs. That has been the experience of O’Fallon Casting, a nonferrous investment casting company based in O’Fallon Missouri.  

O’Fallon Casting produces a specialized foundry product for a relatively small international market. Purchased in 2003, O’Fallon Casting has evolved from being an above average foundry to a vibrant world class operation that more than doubled its annual revenue, from $10 million to $25 million, and added 70 additional jobs to the St. Louis economy. As it has grown the company also increased its focus on expanding technology and reaching out to the community.

Among the many initiatives implemented by the company was an increase in community involvement... Read More