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Success Stories

Owner of Oak Tree Communications, LLC Named 2nd Runner-up for Cincinnati SCORE Chapter Client of the Year

Oak Tree Communications, LLC is a West Chester, Ohio publicity and public relations company.

Owned by Melinda Zemper, the firm specializes in writing and editing, media relations, strategic planning, event and campaign planning and project management.

Melinda describes her SCORE counselor, Bob Wiwi, as “the best possible mentor and guide” as she started her own business. With Bob’s help and guidance, she created a business plan, incorporated Oak Tree, developed short and long term goals and a task list.

Regular meetings with Wiwi allowed them to monitor her progress on developing the company. He provided guidance and encouragement throughout the process.

In less than a year, Oak Tree has a solid base of clients. “With the organizational foundation Bob helped me create, I can concentrate on clients, not the business process. We still meet regularly to connect and he always has valuable observations or advice to offer.” Zemper says.... Read More

Working Hard on the Road to Success

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with honors in accounting, Anderson moved to Columbus and worked for various accounting firms. He realized, however, that he wouldn't be truly satisfied until he started his own business. About 11 years ago, with the help of a working capital loan guaranteed by SBA, he did just that.

He says his company, which currently employees five people, provides all CPA services except auditing.

Anderson paid off the original loan about five years ago, and four years ago obtained another SBA-backed loan to upgrade his computer and office equipment.

He advises potential business owners to consult with professionals before making major decisions, and lauds the freedom and flexibility of being an entrepreneur.

"I don't work less hours but I have more flexibility. I would go into business again without hesitation, despite the hard work."

He adds that staying in tune with customer needs is vital... Read More

Owners of Embrace Sweets Company, LLC Named Cincinnati SCORE Chapter Client of the Year

Embrace Sweets Company, LLC, is located in Over the Rhine and produces gourmet desserts. Owned by mother and daughter duo, Sandra and Brandi Daniels, they are in their third year of business.

Currently, their efforts are focused on the wholesale market and their delicious desserts are found at many greater Cincinnati locations including Biggs, Wild Oats, The Westin, Party Source, Silverglades, Kremer’s Market and The Hyatt.

The Daniels’ sought SCORE advice for reviewing their business plan as they prepared to expand their operations. They describe their SCORE counselor, Jim Hensley, as a “god send.” As a result of their hard work and with counsel and support from SCORE, their business is growing and they are working to go national this year.

SCORE Chapter 34 Client of the year is not the only recognition Embrace has received for its small business success. Other awards include: Emerging Business of the Year - Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce 2007;... Read More

Prodigy Construction Management

Joe Holbrook and his cousin Ryan Gunnoe were working for the same construction company when they decided to start their own construction management company in 1999.

Holbrook, who has four children, had to be talked into the venture by Gunnoe, but both wanted to have a business that would allow them to 'do things better than they were being done' and to be able to share the wealth with their employees.

They requested and received a U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loan for $25,000 in 1999 which helped them get started. They received an additional SBA guaranteed line of credit in 2002 that allowed them to expand their business. In less than seven years, Prodigy Construction Management has grown to 22 full time employees and $12 million in gross revenues.

Prodigy Construction Management is a national retail and restaurant contractor. Its customer list boasts the likes of Arby's, AmeriHost, American Eagle, Charley's Steakery, Janeville, and Gymboree.... Read More