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South Carolina District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

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

Seven years ago, Alice Van Allen, a seamstress in Camden, decided to start her own alterations store in Sumter, where she lived and where she already had several clients. Alice had done her small business research; now she needed to make sure her own small business would be a success.

On a day off from her job, she met with SCORE counselor Irwin Praeger, retired Chief Executive Officer for Drapery Contracting Corp. of Sumter. Irwin is one of three counselors in the Sumter branch of the Midlands SCORE chapter.

Alice and Irwin were a good match because of their shared background in textiles. Not only was Irwin able to help Alice with her business plan and with setting up her business, he was also able to help her with selecting the best machinery and tools because of his own experience with textiles. Irwin said that the Sumter Chamber of Commerce, where the Sumter SCORE branch is based, was also very helpful.

Now Alice recommends SCORE counseling to... Read More

Despite the housing market woes that hit the state last summer and have since generated daily headlines, Tony Thompson’s business Remodeling Services Unlimited, which serves primarily residential clientele, has maintained consistent sales. In fact, he anticipates that sales will pick up. That ability to roll with the punches, or the downturns, is what has made Remodeling Services a small business success story since its beginnings as a property management and maintenance firm started by Tony’s father in 1977.

Tony, who had always enjoyed carpentry and building, began working for his father after high school. After a brief stint in college, he realized that he was already making good money – more than his friends would likely make after graduation – and decided to return to his father’s business. In 1986, his father retired and he took control of the business narrowing its focus to remodeling services.

In 2004, Remodeling Services Unlimited received an SBA-... Read More