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Success Stories

SBA Helped Cycling Company Control its Costs

Andrew Motola, owner of Long Island’s Brickwell Cycling and Multisport, said that diving into the 54-degree water of the San Francisco Bay during the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon took his breath away and made his body go numb.

“It’s a leap of faith - there’s that second right after you come out of the water when you can’t breathe, and you have to swim or you’ll drown,” Motola said. “But then you get your breath back, and next you start swimming, and eventually you reach the shore.”

Though Motola described a triathlon, he could have been talking about owning a small business.

In 2007, he purchased a long-established family bike shop in Great Neck after a corporate career. He wanted to work at something he really loved and build a community around engagement in cycling and triathlon. Through the last decade, he’s expanded his business to four stores on Long Island, including one he recently opened at 7 Northern Boulevard in Greenvale.

When his lease... Read More

New York – Pamela Newman was pregnant with triplets when her Long Island house burned down and forced her and her husband to move in with her parents. Not long before, Newman was let go from her marketing job with a top firm in New York where she worked on such campaigns as the Slim Fast Diet program with then Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager, Tommy Lasorda.

“What it came down to was that we needed to eat,” Newman said at her company’s headquarters near JFK in Queens. “We installed a commercial telephone line in the house and started our business from my parents’ basement. That was 1991. Today we contract with six federal agencies in seven states and employ 250 people. It turned out that the triplets and the fire were actually very big blessings for us.”

This ability to turn problems into opportunities is part of the reason why the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) selected Newman as the 2017 New York State Small Business Person of the Year. As the state winner,... Read More

A Shipping Success

Mohammed Osman had been paying another company to deliver computers, DVD players, stereos, and other small electronics to his native country of Ghana for six years when he realized that he could provide better service if he shipped the equipment himself. His merchandise—also consisting of salvaged automobiles, furniture, clothing, rugs, cooking oil and other household goods—was often late reaching customers, he said, and without any kind of tracking system, he couldn’t rely on the company he was paying for shipping or its ability to deliver consistent service.

Osman described the day when he decided to start shipping the items himself. “At the time I was driving a taxi,” he said. “I saw an import/export class advertised at LaGuardia Community College, where I took my taxi driving classes.”

After the import/export class, he found himself putting more and more time into his business and less time driving taxi.

One day he was working on his business plan when he... Read More

Corey and Sara Meyer, founders and owners of Little Bird Curious Confections

Walking around their 11,000 square foot warehouse in Plainview, NY, it’s hard to tell that Corey and Sara Meyer haven’t always known what they were doing in the fine chocolate business.

“When we first opened up we didn’t know that you can’t sell fresh chocolate at outdoor markets in the summer,” Corey said. “We went to a market early in the morning, and even though we kept our chocolate in a cooler, just by opening and closing the lid throughout the day, the product melted.”

“It was too hot to sell chocolate,” Sara said.

“Too hot,” said Corey. “And we also learned that you can’t ship chocolate between May and about mid-September. Sixty-three degrees is the perfect temperature for our chocolate. You can ship it, but it has to be refrigerated—down to 34 degrees. Then when it goes in the store, they raise the temperature to about 75 degrees. For mass-produced chocolate with preservatives, this is okay. But the change in temperature causes our chocolate to ‘bloom’—... Read More

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