Success Stories

SBA’S West Virginia 2014 Young Entrepreneur Utilizes SBDC to Expand Dance Studio

You may have heard the quote, “When you dance to your own rhythm, life taps its toes to your beat.” Bridget Rowsey, owner of Bridget’s Dance Academy, finds this rings true in her personal and professional life - especially after recently receiving the coveted Small Business Administration’s West Virginia 2014 Young Entrepreneur award. With over 15 years of dance experience, Rowsey knew she wanted to make a career out of her passion. After receiving a degree in Business Management, a Minor in Economics, and a Minor in Dance from Marshall University, Rowsey was ready to make her dream a reality. At the age of 23, Rowsey began Bridget’s Dance Academy (BDA) in August 2010, by offering various styles of dance to 60 students. In 2011, BDA was training 90 students with 15% of them taking more than one class. 2012 lead to a significant increase of students. BDA had an average of 160 students enrolled, with 30% taking multiple classes. Rowsey quickly realized her 2,000 sq. ft. studio with... Read More

Adrienne Morgan, a first generation born Hispanic American, was born with entrepreneurial blood. Her father, who came to the United States not knowing English and without a high school diploma, has owned and operated a successful paint contracting company for more than 30 years.

“I grew up listening to the struggles and heart-aches of owning a small business while sitting around the dinner table,” states Morgan. Those struggles didn’t deter Morgan from wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps and one day opening her own business.  

Morgan received her environmental degree from Boston University and spent seven years working for the Nature Conservancy in Virginia. She and her husband were ready to move back to his hometown of Charles Town, West Virginia to raise their family in the wide-open spaces the land offered with close proximity to the District of Columbia. This move gave Morgan the opportunity she had dreamed of – to open her own business.

In 2004,... Read More

Upshur County’s Atlas Supply Company owner, KJ Woody, lives vacuum mogul James Dyson’s adage, “Business is constantly changing. Business is constantly evolving.”  Woody, who has degrees in engineering and business, started his entrepreneurship career by owning a collision parts company. 

The business grew quickly and was doing well, however through the work he was doing with collision parts, he saw a need in the chemical supply industry and was ready to evolve his company to meet that need.  Woody knew this evolution would take capital to be successful.  Having a good relationship with his local bank he didn’t anticipate any issues getting additional funds to evolve his business.  He quickly found out that lending environment was changing.  His company was viewed more as a start-up instead of an established business looking to evolve.

Woody reached out to Stephen Foster, the Executive Director of the Upshur County Development Authority for advice.  Foster referred... Read More

Gabrielle Bernstein, a motivational speaker, life coach, and author, states “Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.” The U.S. Small Business Administration has helped small business owners follow their passion for the last sixty years. 

Walter Lanham, owner and operator of Bridgeport Skate World, credits the U.S. Small Business Administration for helping make his dream - his passion for skating - become his profession nearly 30 years ago.

Why did Lanham want to open a skating rink? It could be because some of his most precious memories include skating. His mom taught him how to skate in the basement of his childhood home by using the handle of an old broom, as a teenager he worked hard to have enough money to buy the skates he used for 28 years, he met his wife at a skate rink, and he drove his daughter to almost every skating rink in the Mid-Atlantic region to participate in dance skating and figure circle skating... Read More