Success Stories

Jason Savage, Karen Friel, and Sharon Stratton

Hearts, flowers, jewelry, and chocolate are on the minds of many with the upcoming day of love celebration. While finding the perfect gift for that special someone the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel, reminds the community shop local to make their Valentine’s Day gift extra special.

This week, Friel traveled to Morgantown to visit two small romance-based businesses receiving SBA assistance through West Virginia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the SBA.

“It’s important for the community to support small businesses and the holidays are a good time to remind everyone to shop local,” states Friel. “More than 95% of all employers in the state are small and this is an opportunity to show them our support and keep more of our money in state.”

Masman Jewelers

The first stop landed Friel at Masman Jewelers in Sabraton. They say diamonds are... Read More

SBA Lender Relations Specialist, Rick Haney and WV Fitness 24 Owner, Clint Aragona

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps small businesses at any and all stages of their lifecycle, from start to finish. However, sometimes all they need is a little assistance to get going. That is exactly the case with WV Fitness 24.

Clint Aragona, a trainer by trade, is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Aragona’s parent’s owned and operated a restaurant for 35 years in Shinnston, WV. When he showed his own interest in starting a business, his family threw their full support – and finances – behind him.

Even with the help from his family, Aragona relied on the SBA to help carry some of the weight with a guaranteed loan to make his business successful. He received three separate loan guarantees from the agency to purchase and upgrade equipment.

WV Fitness 24 opened its doors in 2003 at its current location at Big Lots Plaza in Bridgeport, WV. Aragona is now diligently working to relocate the business to the former YMCA building in Bridgeport in early... Read More

(Photo Caption) Karen Friel, DD; Natalia Olson-Urtecho, RA; Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Guerrero, Owners; Tim James, First Microloan of WV

Francisco Guerrero, owner of El Rey Restaurants in Clarksburg and Fairmont, came to America from Mexico in the mid 1980’s to have a better life for his family. He worked in the restaurant industry and decided he wanted to own his own restaurant in North-Central West Virginia.

Guerrero knew how the industry worked but had trouble securing financing to make his dream a reality. That quickly changed when a loan officer recommended he speak to Tim James, from First Microloan of West Virginia about an SBA microloan.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s microloan program provides small loans, up to $50,000, to small business owners who may not qualify for traditional lending. The proceeds of a microloan can be used for working capital, or the purchase of furniture, fixtures, supplies, materials, and/or equipment. The program also provides training and technical assistance to micro-borrowers to help them successfully start or grow their business.

With the help of... Read More

Jeanette King, SRE and Karen Friel, WV District Director

Jeannette King, President and CEO of Strategic Resolution Experts, Inc. (SRE) in Martinsburg, WV is winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office 2015 Small Business Person of the Year.  King was nominated for the award by Jamye Eells, operations manager of the company. King also holds the title of SBA WV 2014 Veteran Small Business Champion.

In 2007, as a single mother and honorably discharged Navy veteran with only $10,000 in her bank account, King started her own business emphasizing her strong belief in the values of integrity, quality, and performance.

After getting her business on its feet, King entered the SBA 8(a) small business development program; a nine-year platform created to assist eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in developing and growing their businesses.

SRE has received contracts from Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Safety Administration, Defense Threat Reduction... Read More