Success Stories

The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Louis J. DeMent, CEO and vice president of Giovanni Food Company based in Syracuse, N.Y., as the New York State winner of the 2013 Small Business Person of the Year Award. Nominated by the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation, Giovanni’s was chosen for the award based on its growth in sales and employees, staying power, response to adversity as well as charitable contributions. Giovanni Food Company (GFC) has been making pasta sauces since 1934, when the DeMent family first opened their Italian-style restaurant in Oswego, NY. The DeMents started manufacturing pasta sauces on a larger scale in the 1950s and gradually expanded into other tomato-based product lines.

Second-generation owner Jack DeMent led the company through its early growth stages and navigated the certification process to make spaghetti sauce for the USDA Food for Kids and Needy Families Program. When Jack’s son Lou joined the family business as... Read More

In 1986, innovator Karen Goetz saw a business opportunity to transform the way event tickets were sold in the arts, sports and entertainment industries. Her developers created graphical seat-selection software for PCs, unimagined at the beginning of the PC revolution during the 1980s.  Goetz’s startup company was the first to the marketplace with a color-coded, interactive seating chart that made selling tickets not only user friendly for the entertainment venues that were her customers, but also able to capture important data on who their customers were who were buying tickets.  TicketsLive grew rapidly from three employees to 125 in five countries.  In 1995, Goetz and her team foresaw the growth of the Internet as a marketplace, and began transforming the company from solely a provider of computerized box office ticketing systems to one of the most advanced Internet ticketing companies and networks in the world, with a base of 150 million tickets available for sale on the... Read More

For Heidi and Tim Sanders, the meat counter represents more than how their parents made a living or where they met and fell in love- it’s the inspiration for their second careers as entrepreneurs. Tim apprenticed for three years to his father, a butcher in Nashua, New Hampshire, before beginning a 30-year career in the supermarket field. Heidi’s mother worked in a meat market in Westfield, Massachusetts and taught her how to bake from scratch. To honor their history, both Tim and Heidi’s parents are featured in framed photographs on the walls of their successful startup, Sanders Meat Market.

During their time at Shaw’s Supermarket in New Hampshire, Tim worked in the meat department and then as store director for 11 years, while Heidi worked her way up from cake decorator to deli and seafood department manager over 22 years. Ready for retirement from their supermarket careers, the Sanders vacationed in the Saratoga area in 2008 and fell in love with the place and the... Read More

For Third-Generation Entrepreneur, Family and Business Are Perfect Mix

Since 1823, New Hope Mills Manufacturing flour-based mixes have had the recipe for small business success. The company’s stitched-top products have been a Central New York household name through the ups and downs of the last two centuries. Leland Weed purchased New Hope Mills in 1947 and built the company’s brand with his hard work and strong salesman skills. Leland’s sons, David and Dale, purchased the business when he was ready for retirement in 1980. The Weed family bonds are intertwined with the business; both David and Dale raised their families next door to the mill.  Today, half of the third-generation works there under the new leadership of Dale’s son Doug. 


“I’ve worked for the company since I was able to walk,” recounts Doug with a laugh. “I started at the smallest level of cleaning up after the production workers at the end of the day, taking care of the trash, and helping out in any way I could.... Read More