Success Stories

Gage Cooper

Cooper River Cycles is a full service bicycle shop that sells all styles of bicycles including beach cruisers, comfort hybrid bikes, road bikes, and mountain bikes.  Additionally, the business provides bike rentals and a full line of bicycle accessories.  Owned and operated by Gage Cooper, Cooper River Cycles is located in the bicycle friendly community of Daniel Island.  The island is experiencing rapid growth and is designed with walking paths and bike trails which allows the community to bike to school, shopping, and other activities.

Gage grew up in Mt. Pleasant, SC and worked in local bicycle shops as a teenager through his college years.  After obtaining a business degree, Gage decided that he wanted to open his own bike shop.  He recognized the unfilled demand on Daniel Island and started working on the business concept in 2014.  While doing research online, he found the resources of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  He contacted the SBDC and with the... 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

Pages