Success Stories

After a decade of earning her living as a freelance musician and composer in New York City, Emilie Cardinaux was ready for a break from the daily urban grind and frequent commutes to LA recording studios. So she set out to transform her jewelry side hustle into a profitable business. Cardinaux’s original nautical designs draw inspiration from her love of life on the water. Having spent childhood summers on the St. Lawrence River she considers the Thousand Islands region of upstate NY home in her heart. It was only natural that she decided to relocate there from NYC, where she developed her nautical jewelry collection and began to build her unique brand, The Golden Cleat. Each piece is handcrafted in sterling silver, solid gold, and ethically sourced gemstones. In 2017, embraced by the small-town community of Clayton, the business expanded from an upstairs studio space and online store into a rented brick-and-mortar flagship storefront in the heart of the... Read More

SBA Helps Mountainman Outdoor Supply Expand

John Nemjo originally fell in love with paddling as a way to enjoy the great outdoors while attending college in Florida. Paddling the back woods rivers, streams and springs he found the solitude and balance of nature unavoidably appealing. Even though he initially pursued a career in biology and then teaching math at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Nemjo always dreamt of a future in the outdoors and on his own terms. Twenty-five years ago, he dared to take that chance when he started Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company (MOSC) on a shoestring budget of $6,000 in an abandoned pizza shop in the Adirondack Park.

The first years were tough, but Nemjo relied on his intuitive skill with numbers to keep the business afloat. Nemjo found the right balance of hiking, camping and backpacking products that would work for his customers and his cash flow, offering clothing, shoes and gear suited for the... Read More

Some people see an opportunity and they run with it; in Ranga Ranganathan’s case, he saw an opportunity and latched on to it. Five years ago, when the opportunity presented itself, Ranganathan purchased Nielsen Hardware, a Binghamton-based manufacturer of latches, handles and wing turn catches used in telecom, medical, military and agricultural applications.

At the time of the purchase, Nielsen Hardware was a small subsidiary of the Actuant Corporation. Ranganathan was Nielsen’s general manager and business leader and felt that he could spin off and run the company on his own: “I wanted to do something different and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur.” 

With decades of management experience and a master’s in mechanical engineering, he just knew that he could succeed as the owner of Nielsen Hardware. Ranganathan convinced Actuant of the merits of the spinoff and that he was the right buyer for the company. Once he had sold the idea of divesting Nielsen, the... Read More

Jesse Daino (left) and Adam Williams, co-owners of Recess Coffee

Little did Jesse Daino and Adam Williams know when they became friends in middle school, they would wind up owning a business together.  But that’s exactly what happened.

 Growing up the two shared a common interest in music. Daino was two years older, and after graduation played on tour throughout the United States. Williams graduated and continued to perform locally, while rising through the ranks of the Syracuse Real Food Co-op in the Westcott neighborhood of Syracuse, NY.  When Williams learned his favorite coffee shop was ready to close, he half-jokingly offered to buy the business to keep it open.

The original owner took 22-year-old Williams at his word and the $10,000 sale of Recess Coffee went through in November 2007. Williams’s recounts: “Jesse was staying at my apartment in between tours, so I asked him to own it with me.  In the beginning, we looked at it as a hobby business that we could own while doing other things.”

Their friends and Westcott... Read More