Success Stories

Last October, Rhonda Jordan’s husband asked her what she wanted to do with her life. “Run a fabric store,” she answered. “Write a business plan,” he told her. So she did.

In March 2012, Rhonda’s plan became a reality when she opened Tabby Fabric and Studio in downtown Beaufort.

Fast forward to the summer, and bolts of fabrics line the shop’s left wall and sit in stacks on a cutting table. In an adjoining room that serves as the studio, a large table sits across from a row of sewing machines. Just months after starting, the business is already breaking even.

Rhonda credits three factors with Tabby Fabric’s successful start: the business plan, SBA financing and her own ingenuity.

Business Plan

Five years ago, instead of returning to her nursing career, Rhonda decided to enroll in the Savannah College of Art and Design. She had intended to study painting but soon found herself drawn to textiles instead and changed her focus to fabric design.

“... Read More

Hilton Head Entrepreneur Finds Success with Local Focus, Nationwide Growth

In 2002, Ramona Fantini traveled to Italy and got her first taste of real gelato – Italy’s own smoother, more flavorful version of ice cream. Hooked, Ramona developed a three-a-day gelato habit during her trip. She also found a calling: Bringing the authentic gelato experience to the U.S. In 2004, she started Pino Gelato, a retail gelato store in Hilton Head that served its own made-from-scratch flavors.

Eight years later, Pino Gelato is thriving thanks to its unique business model that allows it to be both a community-focused small business in Hilton Head and a rapidly expanding brand throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.


Community Focus

In its first few years, Pino Gelato was establishing itself as a vacation tradition for summer visitors to Hilton Head, a popular resort area. Around five years ago, Ramona considered expanding and running a Pino Gelato store in another part of South Carolina. Unsure of how she would market Pino Gelato to... Read More

With a little help from SCORE, a great romantic partnership became a great business partnership.

Patrick Hickey was a trained chef. His wife, Erin Marqua was an experienced marketer. After they moved to Charleston in February 2010, Erin started working as a server at Gourmet Bay Catering in nearby Johns Island, with Patrick joining her there as a chef soon afterward.

By 2011, Gourmet Bay’s owner was looking for a buyer for the business in order to focus on another restaurant venture. Erin and Patrick were immediately interested. In fact, their dream was to someday run a small business together. Already, they had been exploring different start-up options in the food service industry. Now, they had an opportunity to skip the start-up stage and take over a business with a solid history in Charleston’s competitive restaurant and catering scene.

There was one major problem, however.

“We needed to have a lot of help because we’d never run a business or even... Read More

Meet Kenneth Canty, the 2011 Minority Small Business Person of the Year for the Southeast region.

As a small business owner, Kenneth is no stranger to adversity. What sets him apart, however, is how he turned adversity into opportunity.

Kenneth is president and CEO of Freeland Construction Company, a Charleston, S.C. firm that specializes in renovation, rehabilitation and restoration projects. Kenneth took over the company in June 2008. Two months later, Freeland Construction lost its major customer, the Naval Weapons Station, when the Charleston area military facilities were consolidated into a joint base.

"This caused us to have to hit the road and find customers outside of Charleston," Kenneth said.

Building on a previous small contract Freeland had performed for the General Services Administration (GSA) in Charleston, Kenneth started networking with the GSA office in nearby Savannah, Ga. His efforts paid off, and Freeland successfully bid on GSA... Read More