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Success Stories

Some people start a business for financial gain, others to engage in an activity they enjoy. Leah Brown's business was born out of a tragedy, the death of a loved one.

At the age of 25, Leah was commuting to Manhattan, working twelve hour days for a Fortune 500 company. She was happy to be a part of the fast-paced New York life style back in the mid-eighties. Some days, rather than make the long return trip to New Jersey, she would stay at her uncle's apartment in the city. Leah was very close to her uncle. To Leah, he was a friend, a confidant, a parent. She was absolutely devastated when he lost his life to AIDS. After years of pain, she decided to turn her misery into a successful business enterprise. She wanted to make sure that treatments could be made available as soon as possible to save uncles and aunts all over the world. 

In 2004, ATEN (A10) Solutions, Inc. was born. Brown's mission was to support research and healthcare delivery. A10 helps its clients get... Read More

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

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