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Success Stories

Salon owner finds SBDC advisor to support her start-up passion

Launched in 2011, Dragonfly Studio and Salon was Sarah Carr’s lifelong dream.  After several years working at another salon, she decided it was time to open her own salon that would reflect her own vision – a magical salon and spa devoted to transforming the mind, body and spirit.

“I believed in the benefits of having a unique brand, a passion for success and motivation to fulfill my dream,” said Carr.  “I refused being told my business would not succeed, I refused being told I would not be approved for a loan and prevailed into what my business is today.”

Despite challenges, Carr plowed ahead with her business plan, covering early expenses on her own and purchasing a building in Williamsville, New York.  Through it all, she soldiered on – with a major assist from Small Business Development Center at Niagara County Community College.  The SBDC is an SBA resource partner that provides small business... Read More

SCORE Mentors Help Business Move Patients Around

BUFFALO, NY - Stephanie Clemons was surprised at what she found when her sister became chronically ill. It's not the first thing that came to mind, but when she hired a transportation service for her sister's medical appointments, she found long wait times and poor customer service.

"I recall thinking how awful it must be for patients to wait so long to be picked up for an appointment, and then wait again to be transported home,"said Clemons. "My sister would literally wait for hours - both ways," Clemons, a full-time telephone operator for the Erie County Medical Campus (ECMC) decided it was time for a change. Putting herself in her sister's shoes and patients from all over Western New York, she decided to start her own transportation business.

And so, when it came to starting her small business, Clemons had to seek help. She found it at the 19th annual Straight Talk conference, where the SCORE mentors she met and the seminars she attended, helped her successfully... Read More

yaw, plumbing, SBA, heating, M&T, success story, SBDC

Kevin’s Plumbing and Heating Gets Boost with SBDC Assistance


Kevin Yaw’s story of going from a U.S. Air Force Veteran to founding Kevin’s Plumbing and Heating started in the late 2000’s.

Yaw, fresh out of the military and welcomed by several plumbing contractors in the Buffalo area, left his military career as a plumber and began working in the same field almost immediately. 

“It hasn’t been easy,” says Yaw.  “There are the long hours and the sharp learning curve.”  “My transition from employee to business owner was gradual; I consulted with my bank manager, Kathy Eisenmenger several times before being introduced to Dhannayia Johnson, business advisor at the Buffalo State College’s Small Business Development Center.”

Small Business Development Centers are funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Offering free education and consulting to small businesses for marketing plans, business plans and technical... Read More

Harper Thermal Processing Equipment

Thermal Processing Company finds Success in Paris Exhibition

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant program has enabled Buffalo-based Company, Harper International access to vital opportunities in Paris, France.

The STEP program, authorized under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export. 

Harper International partnered with New York State’s ESD and was the recipient of a $5,000 STEP Grant in 2016.  STEP grant funds allowed the company to enter and expand their presence in the international marketplace. 

“Paris, France is host to the primary exhibition in the world for carbon fiber, “said Diana Robbins, Harper International Vice President of Marketing.  “This particular trade exhibition is a key step to building relationships for our company.  It... Read More