COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Success Stories

SBDC Assistance and Dedication Lead to Grave Success

The journey to entrepreneurship for Mr. James T. Jefferson started behind a backhoe, laboring at opening and closing the final earthly resting places of community folks. He was hired mostly by local funeral homes. Honesty and hard work were his guiding ethics 16 years ago when he started on this journey as well as now as President of Southside Grave & Vault/Newsom Monument Company located at 3447 Wilkerson Road, Skipwith, Virginia 23968 (rural Mecklenburg County). Newsom Monument Co is located at 15450 Highway 47, Chase City, Virginia.

“We, my wife Willie Anna and I, started part-time and grew the business, one customer at a time” reflects Mr. Jefferson. Customer care and service are the
fundamental tools for their success and the company sought referrals from each completed job. Before long their customer list stretched to over thirty funeral homes in Southside Va. and North Carolina. In late 1999 he landed a Trigard burial vault franchise in Mecklenburg... Read More

SBA Financial and Technical Assistance help Security Firm find SUCCESS

Executive Protection Systems (EPS), of Winchester, Va. is a small, service-disabled, veteran-owned business and a provider of emergency preparedness solutions. Dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and ensuring America’s businesses are kept safe during emergency situations, EPS turned the tragedy of 9-11 into a successful business.

The company, which began in 2001, was founded by Michael Guevremont, a service-disabled veteran, and Mark Miller, who also served in the military. They previously worked together in the White House and were involved in the protection of the President and his staff. In the beginning, the company started as a security consulting firm with only two consultants in a small office. EPS now has 26 employees under the umbrella of Executive Protection Systems (EPS), an all hazards emergency preparedness company providing equipment, installation and communications as well as training and consulting services. EPS is also the... Read More

When is 50 Million Pounds of Dirty Laundry Something to Brag About?

The answer: When you are Handcraft Cleaners & Launderers, Inc. The business, founded by John A. Nichols as a single retail dry cleaning store in Richmond’s north side in 1956, has grown from a single store into a multifaceted company comprised of 13 retail locations and several business operations.

HandCraft is a family-owned whose business philosophy has always been going the extra mile for each and every customer—a philosophy that has guided the business for more than 50 years of success. It is no wonder that on quality and customer service, their tag line is “Our Business is Your Image”.

In 1978, Nichols expanded into the laundry business by purchasing Richmond Steam Laundry in south Richmond and within a few years later was approached by several local hospitals including Johnston Willis Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital to handle their hospital’s laundry services. To meet the demand, HandCraft then purchased a 90,000 square foot... Read More

If you are going to take time to serve dessert, put some love into it. That’s the special ingredient that makes the products of Daystar Desserts, the bakers of the “World’s Best Cheesecake,” so great. However, it takes a lot more than just love to make a successful business. It also takes “a lot of hard work and dedication,” says John Fernandez, Daystar’s CBO (Chief Baking Officer) and co-owner. Add to this mixture a lot of devotion, great customer service and a dose of entrepreneurial spirit. This is the recipe that co-owners Russell Cobb and John Fernandez poured into their business to make it successful.  

Russell and John met while they were students at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. After graduating, while starting their careers at some of the best restaurants in New York, they noticed a demand for fine desserts in area restaurants and hotels that could not afford to hire their own pastry chefs. In 1998, with a dream and some product ideas, they... Read More