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Success Stories

Blue Slip Winery


Knoxville,Tenn.- Linn Slocum is on the cutting edge of trends. She is the first owner of a Tennessee-based 'urban winery' --located in the downtown redevelopment district of Knoxville, Tennessee. The winery was established in 2009 by Slocum, an accomplished amateur wine-maker before she launched her full-time enterprise.


Urban wineries, under Tennessee state law, are allowed to import grapes from all over the county in order to make and sell their wines, but Linn Slocum mainly sources locally owned grapes and other fruits, and is known for her dessert wines, including strawberry and blackberry.


In 2012, after growing her winery slowly but surely, Slocum contacted Bruce Hayes, of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), an SBA-sponsored resource partner providing free counseling and workshops to the Tennessee small business community. In addition to providing counseling to Slocum on marketing her winery... Read More

Expoquip Inc.


Knoxville ,Tenn.-- Jorge Sanabria began his international heavy equipment trading firm in 1998, and has now grown into a successful small business with full time staff of technicians and equipment consultants serving customers locally, nationally and internationally in 34 countries. The firm provides solutions and assistance to private sector, government, and international customers in the construction, earth moving, and mining industries as well as on highway solutions for parts, repair and maintenance of medium to heavy duty vehicles.


Expoquip includes a domestic sales department, an international sales department, and a government division--which includes equipment sales, repair and service, a logistics department, warehouse facilities and an accounting department.


In the early days of Expoquip, Jorge Sanabria took on a very heavy workload in order to grow his firm. “I worked by myself for the first several months,... Read More

Aerosol Recycling


Bells,Tenn--Cherry Rains is the CEO and owner of Recycle Aerosol and winner of the 2016 Tennessee SBA Rural Small Business Award. Recycle Aerosol’s facility in rural Bells, Tennessee was founded in 1990 in a trailer—a great contrast to the firm’s current facility comprising almost 40,000 square feet. Aerosol Recycling has made a successful business from reclaiming a variety of commercial and healthcare aerosol and non-aerosol products that are returned from manufacturers and retailers as either off-spec, out of date or seasonally-packaged. Ms. Rains’ firm was recognized for “large hazardous waste reduction” with the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 1993. According to Aerosol Recycling’s website, supply chain professionals have given Rains’ very favorable testimonials: “It’s a 50% reduction in our hazardous waste cost. Hazardous waste is an expensive proposition. In addition to being environmentally friendly, it saves the company money... Read More

Alliant Corporation


Knoxville, Tenn. -The Tennessee SBA Small Business Person of the Year for 2016, Terence Douglas, has an inspiring story of small business success. While working for General Electric and Martin Marietta during the first part of his career, Terence Douglas developed a desire to one day start his own consulting firm that would be able to deliver tailored solutions to its clients in environmental management, occupational safety and health, and project management. In 2000 that consulting firm came to fruition when he and his business partner, Mr. Greg Galaher, founded Alliant Corporation.  Mr. Douglas and Mr. Galaher first met while working together for another small consulting firm in the Knoxville, TN area. It was during this period that the two eventual founders of Alliant discovered a mutual commitment to delivering service excellence to every client at every opportunity.


Alliant’s start was certainly austere – self-capitalized... Read More