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Success Stories

Bethany Homrighaus, owner of Starfish and Coffee in Painesville, Ohio

Bethany Homrighaus' background in journalism, art and retail helped her develop skills integral to her entrepreneurial success. In retail she learned the discipline of hard work and the importance of good customer service. As a journalist, Bethany developed the patience and aptitude necessary to be a great researcher and writer--skills that come into play when promoting a business, replying to customer questions or concerns and communicating a company’s vision to investors and other important resources. Yet even with these well-developed skills, Bethany wisely turned to SBA’s resource partner, the Small Business Development Center at Lake County Community College, for assistance to open her business, and it is off toa strong start. Bethany projects sales will give her ample profits in the first year, thanks to her hard work and the SBDC’s help.

Originally from northeast Ohio, Bethany lived in Washington, D.C. for a period and worked at a bead store from 2005 to2009. The... Read More

Field of Dreams Movie Theaters in Northern Ohio

So goes the Hollywood saying, “Build it and they will come.” – and in the case of the Field of Dreams Drive-In Theaters ™  in Liberty Township and Tiffin, Ohio, that is exactly what happened.  From as far as forty miles away patrons travel to see family-friendly movies in beautiful outdoor settings.  In 2007, at the start of the recession, Donna and Rodney Saunders took a calculated risk.  They poured hard work, financial investment and love into their business, which now thrives.  The Saunders first converted farmland into a drive-in theater; later working in close partnership with the SBA and their lenders, Henry Bank and Sutton Bank, they were able to meet the digital age and grow.

“We took notice of many people commenting about missing a drive-in theater since the last area drive-in closed in 1999,” said Donna Saunders.  “And the drive-in business worked well with my husband’s work availability as a teacher.”  Donna herself is a Senior Information Systems Professional.... Read More

From left: Irwin Haber, SBA Cleveland Director Gil Goldberg, and Ida Haber

“Without ground support, there is NO air support” is the motto of the PDI Group, a Solon, Ohio based company that supplies weapons support products to the United States Air Force (USAF) and Navy and allied air forces throughout the world.

PDI has evolved from primarily a manufacturer of munitions trailers and axle systems into a diversified international provider of ground support systems, weapons containers and counter-measure modules, electronics for smart weapons, munitions assembly conveyor systems, specialized tool kits and running gear.  The company has evolved from a firm that provided product to support the domestic needs of the U.S. military to one that now supports the international needs of both the U.S. and allied military forces.  The company continues to grow its financial resources, supply chain, and manufacturing and engineering know-how to produce on-time, high quality products to meet the stringent needs of its military customers across the globe.  Through... Read More

Chris and Michael Brauning of Anything Sews, located in Dover, Ohio

Michael Brauning entered retirement without firm plans, while his wife, Chris Brauning, entered retirement with a desire to sew.  Because Mr. Brauning had been in the commercial and personal insurance industry, and Mrs. Brauning in non-profit management, it seemed natural that they try to combine their business acumen with Mrs. Brauning’s love of fabric art.  In February 2016 they began to plan to open a fine fabrics and notions store in their hometown of Dover, Ohio.  Beginning by seeking help from experts in entrepreneurship, including the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Kent State University’s Tuscawaras campus, they developed a business plan. “We had good professional advice provided to us early on from the Ohio Small Business Development program.  We formed a business plan with their guidance and materials they provided us,” said Mr. Brauning. 

SBDCs provide an array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By supporting... Read More

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