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Success Stories

Guidance and perseverance help disabled veteran move forward

Before starting Life Tree Services, LLC, Dmitri Tsabai enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving three-years before tragically suffering a brain injury.  Determined to persevere, Tsabai who had been medically discharged, returned to school, obtained his GED, and went on to college receiving both his associates and bachelor’s degrees. 

Started in 2007, Life Tree Services LLC is a Christian and disabled veteran-owned business that provides tree removal and pruning, stump grinding, storm damage repair, risk assessments, cabling and bracing.  The company has 3 full-time employees.

“I read a scripture from the bible; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes, it is the tree of life” (proverbs 13:12).  “It was this quote that helped me name my business,” said Tsabai.  For the delay of that which a man eagerly desires and expects is such an affliction,... Read More

SMG Keeps an Eye on its Market

SMG Keeps an Eye on its Market

New York City attorney and Air Force veteran Vito Casoni and his wife, Linda turned their contract manufacturing interest into a new business venture in 1988.  After assisting one of his clients nearly 30 years ago, Casoni acquired Service Manufacturing Group (SMG), moved back to Buffalo and today manages four facilities in Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Gowanda and Silver Creek, New York.

When Casoni acquired the business, it had a total of 8 employees.  Over the next several years, Vito increased the number of employees to 49, broadened his sheet metal fabrication services and ventured into new markets.  SMG is a certified women-owned business offering comprehensive contract manufacturing services to include fabrication, machining, turning, castings, and printed circuit boards. The company works with materials from aluminum, brass and bronze, to carbon steel, stainless steel, copper and plastic. 

Under his... Read More

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

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