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Success Stories

Planting the Seeds of Growth Leads Lawton Company to Major Success

WasteSolutions LLC
Norris Graves
1016 NW Bell Ave
Lawton, OK 73507
9 Employees
A large white board at WasteSolutions LLC in Lawton, Oklahoma is covered completely in scribbled notes, plans and ideas detailing the future of the company, founded in 2001.
“At the end of a day I sit here and write things on the board,” Norris Graves, who founded WasteSolutions in 2001, said.  “It’s not a lot of secrets; I just set things we are going to do. That’s my way of focusing.”
While Graves keeps his detailed business plan on the computer, the whiteboard and the panoply of projects, to do lists and ideas listed on it might not have happened without resources provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), including a 7(a) loan in the midst of the economic downturn.
“It was a bad time for lending, the credit crunch,” Graves said.  “Had it not been for the 7(a) loan I would not have been able to sustain... Read More

Success Story Schatz and Lewis

Can you start a nationwide company from a small town in rural Oklahoma? You can if you follow the lead of Sherrie Schatz and Sheree Lewis, owners of Schatz Publishing Group in Blackwell, Oklahoma.

"We wouldn't have been able to do it without the SBA," said Sherrie Schatz, co-owner. "The 8(a) program has given us a chance to show what we can do."

Schatz Publishing Group started in 1991 as a publisher of agricultural magazines focusing on niche markets such as alligator farming, butterfly farming, and raising poison ivy for profit. Realizing the company had reached a plateau, they began seeking new opportunities in federal contracting. After some trial and error, they were awarded their first contract in August 2000 – a contract they still have.

"After we started working on that first contract, we realized that was the ticket," Sheree Lewis, co-owner said. "The opportunities are all there in black and white. The government states what they want, you do it and... Read More

When you own a franchise, in many ways you get the best of both worlds. You’re an independent business owner, and you have access to an established business model with a proven track record. It’s a winning combination for many, said Scott Warfel, who owns four Jersey Mike’s stores in the Oklahoma City Metro area.  He is a former area director for the sandwich store chain.

Scott opened his first store in 2004, and now has expanded to four stores with 45 employees, thanks in part to three separate loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The SBA loan process was very easy,” said Scott, who works with BancFirst, a SBA preferred lender.  “They shepherded me through the entire loan process.  It’s been a dream.”

Scott says he enjoys being a franchise owner.  “There are times when I’m working 70 to 80 hours a week, and there are times when I have more free time,” he said.  “I do what I have to do to stay in business.  I’m able to balance being... Read More

Nature’s Supply

Nature’s Supply
Lori Edgmand, owner
211 N. Perkins, Suite 24
Stillwater, OK 74075

Lori Edgmand, owner of Nature’s Supply in Stillwater, Okla., is celebrating her eighth anniversary of providing fresh organic foods to customers six days a week. Since the company’s beginning, employees and sales have more than doubled creating the necessity to increase retail space which was completed two years ago when the store expanded into a vacant suite next to their current location. After the expansion she soon began working on the next phase of her business plan, to install a commercial kitchen. It took over a year but The Eatery opened several months ago. The Eatery currently offers gluten free as well as dairy free soups and salads. Sandwiches will be added soon. Stephanie Simpson, Edgmand's daughter created the recipes used in the kitchen including a non-dairy soft serve ice cream, which has been a big hit... Read More