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Success Stories

Encore Entrepreneur Hires the Help

In 2009, Michele (Mickie) Muirhead, now 50, decided she wanted to start her own business, launching in Jamestown New York. offers house cleaning , elderly care, vehicle detail services (pick-up and delivery), and assistance with computers, pet sitting, landscaping, painting, handyman services, snow removal  and almost anything you can imagine in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren counties.

Muirhead says she was looking for something different.  After rupturing a disk in her back she was physically unable to perform at her cleaning business.  So out of a desire to help individuals, and use her degree in social work, Muirhead sought business startup advice from the SBA’s Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College.

“Jamestown SBDC Business Advisor Curt Anderson was extremely helpful.  He has so much energy and motivation.  His entrepreneurial advice and concern for my business helped me to use my years of... Read More

GSA Awarded $10 Million in Contracts to Small Businesses in WNY

Business Matchmaker Puts Contracts into the Hands of Small Business 

An agency dedicated to connecting small businesses with people who can help them, and programs that can grow their skills has awarded over $10 million in contract dollars to Western New York small businesses.  The General Services Administration‘s Acquisition Management Division – Upstate Unit  based in Syracuse, New York has been attending SBA’s Business Matchmaker for the past five years.

After all, a big part of GSA’s mission matches perfectly with the mission of the SBA Business Matchmaker: both  help the small business community reach key contracting experts to help navigate the procurement process and provides opportunities for small businesses to hold face-to-face appointments with government and procurement officials regarding potential contracts “Before Matchmaker, our office had not been exposed to the diverse and dynamic small disadvantaged businesses looking to compete in the... Read More

Ontario Plastics Back in Growth Mode

From design to distribution, Ontario Plastics, Inc. (OPI) has found a way to weather the economic recession.  With highly regarded products and services built over many years this Rochester-based company has entered a cycle of growth and offers more than 70 years of experience.

OPI was established in 1946 by Richard Hayes.  His two nephews Leo and Mike Hayes assumed ownership in 1971.  Leo’s son-in-laws Gerard Reynolds and Ralph Barnes took out a significant financial package and assumed majority ownership of the company in 2007.  Later that year when the recession hit, Gerard and Ralph spent the next several years implementing a “get healthy” plan to balance the new debt with their reduced sales income.

After working on their plan, Gerard and Ralph were able to position themselves and obtain an SBA Small Loan Advantage loan through Five Star bank.  Gerard credits the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for providing Five Star Bank with the guarantees they needed... Read More

It's Not Just for Summer Grilling; it's also Good for Winter Chilling

Bubble’s Q Sauce owners Marion and Linda Simmons might just have the best slogan for extending their brand and living the American dream.  With over 25 years of experience cooking their favorite barbeque dishes and sauce, the couple now markets in over 80 stores throughout western New York.  

For many years, Linda Simmons had a vision from God telling her to start a small business and sell Marion’s ribs and BBQ sauce.  It was during her search that she came across a business exposition looking for vendors to sell their products.  “We attended and before we knew it, less than three hours into the expo, we were sold out of our sauce,” Linda recalled. “After testing the market for 10-years, I guess we were on to doing something right.” 

As their initial success continued, when it came to expanding their product the Simmons needed help.  They found the assistance they needed at the annual U.S. Small Business Administration’s Straight Talk conference, where the contacts... Read More