Success Stories

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

SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative Helps a Small Business Grow

For many years, Craig Marshall had a career in logistics, and managed over-the-road freight.  The work was highly stressful and required a commitment of 364 days a year and a commute of 62 miles a day.  Now, however, Mr. Marshall has made the switch to small business ownership, and works alongside massage therapist and instructor Gina DeAngelo, his wife, as he serves as CFO of Massage Café in Canfield Township, Ohio and in Youngstown, Ohio.  Massage Café provides its customers relief from pain as well as relaxation.  It offers a wide variety of body work modalities, prices are affordable, and Massage Café even will come to the workplace.

Ms. DeAngelo has more than 15 years of experience in private practice.  She also graduated with a degree in allied health professions from Ohio State University, and has extensive experience as a public speaker and teacher of message therapy.  Mr. Marshall’s career experience and his degree in finance and marketing also make him well-... Read More

A Gourmet Donut Shop Rises to the Top, In Partnership with SBA Resource Partner SCORE

With flavors like Milky Way, Sea Salt Caramel and Maple Bacon, it is no wonder that Peace, Love and Little Donuts (PLLD) of Canal Fulton, Ohio, has been packing in customers since its opening two years ago.  “We make our donuts all in front of our customers, and people come in already in a good mood.  It’s a fun position to be in!” said Franny Buell, co-owner with husband DJ Buell.  Profitable from the start, PLLD of Canal Fulton has also received critical raves.

The Buell’s success can be traced in part to their founding of the company on a solid business plan –DJ’s background in corporate management and Franny’s small business background ensured that took place.  Still, early on they knew they could still use guidance as they developed their business.  But where could they go to find assistance, and whom could they trust?  Luckily, good fortune intervened.  DJ happened to go sailing with an individual who was a member of SCORE, a resource partner organization of the SBA... Read More

MAK Associates Owner and President, Jason Bruder (left) works with one of his installers.

Jason Bruder had for many years been a highly successful sales representative in the lighting systems and window-covering industries.  But by asking one question, Mr. Bruder found himself at a turning point in his life – he had the chance to become a small business owner. During an appointment in 2013 with two owners of a respected company in the business, he casually asked, “So when are you guys going to retire?”  When he received the reply, “Sooner than you think,” Mr. Bruder saw his opportunity.  In short order he began to research, trying as fast as he could to learn everything about small business ownership.  But exactly where to start and how to acquire the company?  Ultimately, with the assistance of a Small Business Development Center and an SBA 7(a) loan through Huntington Bank, his concerns were addressed and his vision is now a reality.


The company Mr. Bruder wanted to purchase, MAK Associates of Ohio, Inc., sold and installed manual and motorized roller... Read More