Approximately 134 businesses received help from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Rend Lake College during the first three quarters of 2010, securing financing in the amount of $1,345,549. In addition, the SBDC offers its popular "Starting Your Business in Illinois" workshop monthly and partners with the Center for Community and Corporate Education on the RLC campus to offer additional workshops and seminars. These success stories are just a sampling of third quarter accomplishments.
The Village Bakery and Deli (Okawville)
Okawville was originally founded as Bridgeport in 1838. It wasn't until the mid-1870s that Germans immigrate to the community and renamed it Okawville. As you drive or stroll through the streets of town you can't help noticing the community's German heritage reflected in its well-kept homes. Although Okawville is just one mile from Interstate 64, it has not experienced the over-development that most interstate communities see. With the absence of the "big box" retailers, it still maintains the bustling atmosphere of downtown America of the past. When Jerry and Christine Leopold of Woodlawn heard that the Hanover Street Restaurant was going to close in July 2010, they saw an opportunity for a quality value-oriented bakery / deli. The couple approached the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Rend Lake College to discuss the possibility. Working with the SBDC counselors, they were able to develop a business plan that was both feasible and sustainable. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Farmer's and Merchant's Bank of Nashville was able to the provide funding through the SBA 7a Program. The Leopolds are delighted and hope to open The Village Bakery and Deli this month.
K&P Small Engine Clinic (Mt. Vernon)
Larson's Mowing Sales and Service was established in 1982 primarily to provide warranty work and some service work on small engines and equipment. In 1989 the business expanded into a retail store, selling lawn mowers, lawn equipment and small engines and parts. The warranty work provided by the company included services for box stores such as Walmart, Tractor Supply Co., Lowe's, True Value, Ace Hardware, Montgomery Ward and Sears. Larson's closed in May 2010 with the retirement of the owner. Kent Pulley had been affiliated with the company since 1988 as the service manager and subsequently purchased all of the equipment from the business. He is a designated specialist with more than 15 companies. Pulley purchased the remaining inventory of Larson's Mowing Sales and Service and started his K&P Small Engine Clinic at 1709b Harrison St. in Mt. Vernon. It was quickly determined that the company needed additional capital to purchase warranty contracts. Pulley approached the ISBDC at Rend Lake College for assistance in developing a sustainable business plan to submit for funding. A plan was developed and submitted to the Crosswalk Community Action Agency in West Frankfort, the servicing agency for the RLC District. The CCAA saw the potential and K&P Small Engine Clinic will soon be the warranty dealer for Briggs and Stratton and Medart Kohler. These companies represent the cream of the crop in small engines.
AOK Smokin' BBQ (Nashville)
Kelena Cacioppo became familiar with the Washington County area a few years ago before moving to the historic village of Nashville. What she noticed most in her travels to Nashville was the lack of good quality barbecue. Cacioppo took her idea to Aaron Dahncke, who she knew had dabbled in the art of barbecue and possessed strengths that could be built upon in the proposed business. Observing that the market was indeed lacking in the food service sector, together they decided to propose their AOK Smokin' BBQ business. They contacted the SCORE chapter in Marion, which referred them to the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Rend Lake College, and with the assistance of the SBDC a business plan was developed. It was determined that the project could be funded solely by the owners. AOK Smokin' BBQ opened for business and immediately received resounding support from the community.
S&S Paper Company (Mt. Vernon)
S&S Paper Co. was born from the selling of Capitol City Paper Co. in 2005. Capitol City Paper was the supplier of paper for many businesses. When the company sold, it left a void for service to small companies needing paper. When owner Terry "Pete" Steinkamp decided to retire this year, he offered the business to long-time employee Merle Metcalf. Metcalf approached the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Rend Lake College for assistance in writing his business plan. Using that plan, Metcalf was able to secure financing and is now proud owner of the organization.