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Success Stories

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

Lavender Business Is Blooming For WBC Client

When Karen Wheeler-Lockwood wanted to grow some lavender for her wedding bouquet in 2003, she never knew it would turn into a business idea. Her long-time dreams of owning her own business found the perfect match in lavandula and the fertile fields along Skaneateles Lake.

Karen’s husband Gary Lockwood is a fifth-generation farmer, with crops of wheat, rye, corn and soy beans as well as wool from Corriedale sheep on 120-acres of bucolic pastureland. In 2004, the Lockwoods went to Sequim, Washington to attend the city’s world famous lavender festival and returned to the farm inspired by the versatility of lavender and the idea of agri-tourism. More than just a pretty plant to pick, lavender buds are filled with essential oils that can be extracted for soaps, lotions, candles and cosmetic uses or dried for everlasting sachets, garlands and wreaths.

“We thought “Why couldn’t we do this?” and the next year, we ordered the first 200 plants, a variety called grosso. After... Read More

The story of Chobani is as simple as the idea for a better tasting and healthier yogurt, and yet so much more. Sitting in the yogurt section of nearly every grocery chain in the nation today is their flagship product, Chobani Greek Yogurt. Chobani is the brainchild of Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant who recognized the promise held in the yogurt market and risked everything in its pursuit. In 2005, Ulukaya was in the fourth year of running Euphrates Inc., his feta cheese manufacturing startup in Johnstown, N.Y., when he noticed a mailed advertisement for the sale of a Kraft Foods plant. Rebuilt in 1920 after a fire destroyed the original building, the New Berlin, N.Y. facility had aging yogurt production equipment and once employed 55. When Ulukaya toured the 80,000-square-foot building, he decided to buy the plant the very next day.

“When I started Euphrates, I always thought yogurt quality could be better. As an entrepreneur, in whatever you do, you need to be... Read More

Engineer's Most Important Build: Her Own Business

     “In 2005, I was working as a civilian for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and spent six months on a construction project in Afghanistan. While I was over there, on my down time I would sit and think how I was going to start my own business,” recounted Mary Warren, a licensed professional engineer. “Starting a construction business is difficult especially if you don’t have any money, credit to rent equipment, references or bonding. All those things were piled up against me.”
     The Long Island native had educational background in the industry, with a degree in mechanical engineering from the New York Institute of Technology. Warren spent four years serving in the U.S. Air Force as an environmental engineer at Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho. After her military service, Warren worked as a civil servant for the U.S. Army Public Works Engineering and Construction Division, OSHA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Warren returned home from Afghanistan... Read More

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