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Success Stories

SBA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2012

You might say that it was Guadalupe Chavarria’s destiny to own his own salon. He has been immersed in the hair styling industry as long as he can remember. Growing up in Austin, Texas, he’s wanted to work in a salon since the age of seven. As he grew, his parents began teaching him classic hair design and barber techniques.

Guadalupe knew success depended on training and study. At 19, he began a series of apprenticeships under some of the world's most esteemed stylists and mentors, working with various stylists throughout California, Chicago, and New York before returning to Texas.

Today, Guadalupe's long list of credentials reaches from Texas to New York, and Los Angeles to Paris. He is recognized nationally as a trainer and style director, and has studied and taught under the most admired schools of hair design. Guadalupe has been featured multiple times by national salon magazines, mainstream media and the foreign press.

His teachers not only taught him hair... Read More

2012 North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year

Oscar Wong, President
 Highland Brewing Co., Asheville NC


Oscar Wong, President of Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC has been named the 2012 North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year. After selling his engineering business and retiring to the North Carolina Mountains, he opened the first brewery in the Asheville, NC area in 1994. Highland Brewing Company now employs 34 people. Wong recently built a new state of the art production facility and tasting room. With the help of an SBA 504 loan of $813,000, from Avista Business Development Corporation, Oscar was able to get needed equipment including giant stainless steel tanks. Combined with a loan from BB&T, the finance package total was $1.9 million.

Wong grew up in a family business in Jamaica. His parents emigrated from China and started a mom and pop grocery store.

With his engineering background, he recognized that commercial dairy tanks would be excellent for the... Read More

SBA Loans and Counseling Help Rural North Carolina Manufacturer Grow and Create Jobs

Leonard USA is creating jobs in rural Surry County where unemployment was as high as 13% in recent years. The firm builds portable storage units and trailers at its plants in Mount Airy. These and truck accessories are sold from 51 factory outlets in and around North Carolina. Leonard was approved for it's second $1,000,000 SBA Loan through Surrey Bank & Trust in December 2011.

The recent economic downturn hit Leonard Buildings hard. In 2009, sales in their retail locations were down 30%.  President David O’Neal knew the company had to revisit how it does business and figure out how to cut costs. Marketing Director TJ Glover was looking for solutions and learned about the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC). The SBTDC is a free counseling service funded by SBA and the University of North Carolina.

TJ contacted the SBTDC Winston-Salem Office, and worked with Director Blair and counselor Bion Schulken. SBTDC helped the Leonard... Read More

SBA Loan, SCORE Counseling Helps Grow Family Chocolate Business in Charlotte

Whether you are starting or expanding a business, preparation is key. This is true both for the success of the business, and approaching a lender for financing. The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC is one such example. The chocolate shop is owned and operated by Andy and Robin Ciordia and Robin’s parents, Bill and Karen Dietz. This family of chocolate artisans began their business in 2008, selling their confections at various farmers’ markets and specialty shops around town. They sold both retail and wholesale. They specialize in handmade truffles, enrobed brownies, cakes (including wedding cakes) and all types of favors.

After two years of operation at different markets, the company sought a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to build its first retail location. They wanted to increase their professional look to match their products and to grow professionally, personally, and as a family.

Andy observed that potential landlords and banks focused on minimizing... Read More