Success Stories


When Elliott Henry arrived in St. Louis in the late 1950s, he had $35 in his pocket and a burning desire to land a factory job. With patience and a lot of determination Elliott landed his dream job at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as a utility worker. But despite, good pay and benefits and constant recognition for his work, something was missing. Little did he know that a call for help from a local cleaning company was about to take his life in a completely different direction.   

After responding to a help-wanted ad in his neighborhood, Elliott took on a part-time job at a local janitorial company. He enjoyed the work so much that he often worked a full 8-hour shift after leaving his day job at McDonnell Douglas. He learned the cleaning business first hand and attended evening seminars to expand his leadership skills. His hard work and dedication paid off in the form of a promotion to vice president of the janitorial company, enabling Elliott to leave his day job at... Read More

The staff of the SBA St. Louis District Office enjoyed the atmosphere while dining at the South City Diner located at 3139 South Grand in St. Louis. Owner, Peter Spoto is a recipient of an SBA 7A loan and now has opened a second diner near the Fox Theater.

During this holiday season, you have the power to make a big difference in your local community by shopping and dining small on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. When you help your local economy, it benefits the larger economy because small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs and employ more than half of the country's private workforce.

Since you're going to be shopping and going out to eat anyway (and, you know that you are), why not make a concerted, conscious effort to shop and eat at local small businesses.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our communities.

On that Saturday, visit... Read More

Picture of David Wolfe and Florian Kuplent, founders of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

When most people start a new business, quite often their biggest problem is finding enough capital to fund their venture. But for Urban Chestnut Brewing Company founders Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe, finding money was not the problem.  The former Anheuser-Busch employees made excellent use of the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) Loan, the agency’s primary business loan program. It’s the most frequently used commercial loan program because of its flexibility.

 “We put some numbers together, came up with a business plan, convinced our wives and then left Anheuser-Busch in 2010,”says Florian who also serves as the brew master. “We brewed our first beer at our mid-town brewery in 2011.”

To get their business started they obtained their first 7(a) loan under the SBA Express program. This program allows lenders to obtain a guaranty on smaller loans up to $350,000. The SBA guarantees up to 50 percent of an SBA Express loan.

“We were looking at the 504 loan... Read More


Drivers in Columbia looking to turn their ride from grimy to sparkling often turn to Tiger Express Wash for a quick, quality wash-down.  And when the owner of Tiger Express Wash needed financing to weather a buy-out and expand its offerings, he turned to the SBA 504 Loan Program for help.

A discussion with Roland Bartels of Tiger Express Wash is like observing every business course taught in college applied to a real world situation. His research into profit optimization in the car wash industry is truly impressive—he exemplifies everything SBA and its resource partners tell clients about running a business.

While this level of research might not be what you would expect from the owner of a chain of local car washes, it is clearly a winning formula. In June 2012 Bartels and his previous partner divided their business. Bartels wanted the flex service and exterior service car washes and his partner wanted the self-serve car washes. Bartels planned to go to primarily a... Read More