Success Stories

Omaha business owner returns to his days as a kid lifting a hammer with purchase of handyman firm

Toby Asplin (center, flanked by his crew) was looking to make an offer on a small business information technology consulting firm when he got a call from his broker.  Bad news: the deal had fallen apart.  That was a big disappointment. But it was what the broker did next that took Asplin full circle, back to the time, when as a child, he often followed his dad and uncle to remodeling jobs with a hammer in his small hand.

By the time he could lift a drill, Toby was boring holes for new doorknobs; later, he'd pull nails out of reclaimed lumber, and be paid for every pound he recovered.

"So by a young age I was already on a production-based compensation plan," Asplin chuckled.

His first job was at age eight, selling greeting cards thanks to an ad in the back of Boys Life magazine.  With his parents urging him to save at least half the proceeds from that gig, the odd construction job and birthday money from relatives, by the time he was nearly 12, he had enough... Read More

Designs for the stylish young clothes horse, Omaha's Little Miss Fashion sees opportunity thanks to SBA Microloan

She was so good at making pretty, new dress designs out of her old dresses that she almost lost her school’s financial aid.  Yolanda Diaz had earned a scholarship to pay for living costs and transportation to attend high school in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, and like every teenager, she wanted to have lots of different clothes to wear each day.  Once, though, she was called into her principal’s office and told her there would be no more aid, because such scholarships weren’t for rich families who could afford so many new dresses for their daughters.

Yolanda wasn’t rich, of course.  She’d just learned how to sew and design new clothes growing up poor in her small town some 500 miles south of El Paso.  Still, the principal didn’t believe her, not until she put Yolanda to the test:  “If you make dresses, then you make one for me.”

So she did. As a result, the principal was so impressed she helped Yolanda get her start as a clothing designer.  One of her first jobs was... Read More

Lincoln tech firm’s smartphone app links golfers with business rewards

Can playing a round of golf at your new favorite course actually be good for the environment?  Ryan Cooper says his smartphone app can make the connection between the most avid duffer and a course with its eye on sustainable water use.  A course that’s got a more natural, drier landscape could use incentive rewards through this app to lure new golfers to play there, and as a result encourage other courses to follow that ecologically-friendly lead.

That’s one of the serendipitous benefits of a product designed and developed partly with proceeds funded by an SBA Express loan.

Companies connect with golfers coming off a great round

Launched in 2012, by Ryan Cooper, a former manager of a couple of golf courses and an avid player himself, GolfStatus helps players track, archive and share their scores and achievements, discover new courses and keep tabs on their friends.  At the same time, businesses which want to reach golfers can hit them with instant rewards for... Read More

If you’re looking for a great new eatery, Voodoo Taco has just the thing for the daring diner in you

Try one bite of the alligator sausage taco and you’ll be hooked, and convinced that this quirky place off North 90th is a great addition to the gastronomic cornucopia of the Big O.  Voodoo Taco, the idea of restaurateur Eric Newton, offers fresh, far-out ingredients in its soft tacos, served up in an eye-catching casual dining environment, all which came to life in part thanks to help from the SBA.

“We do a lot of spices,” explained Newton, a self-described “foodie” who worked with his kitchen chef to come up with an eclectic menu:  Asadero cheese from Europe on a steak faijita, Cajun-battered shrimp, a Korean short rib selection with spicy Jicama slaw, and for the kids, a deep-fried banana and peanut butter taco.  For the brave (or foolhardy), try the one with habaneros, Ghost chilies and the Trinidad scorpion pepper.  Ouch.  Stick around for the double-chocolate, salted caramel, chipotle-bacon brownie desert taco. On tap at the bar are local and regional brews, and there... Read More