Client Success Stories
The SBDC at Binghamton University has been proud to service over 14,000 clients since its inception in 1984. During this time, we have aided in the creation of 11,000 jobs and helped our clients raise more than $210.5 million in private and public funding. If you are located in Broome, Cortland, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga, Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Yates, Allegany or Tompkins county, please feel free to schedule an appointment with our expert advisors.
The Relief Pitcher
Tabatha Newton contacted the Small Business Development Center at Binghamton University to help her acquire an iconic Binghamton restaurant and bar that meant something special to her. Tabatha had worked at The Relief pitcher for many of the 33 years it had been open. Started by Bob Pastor in 1985, The Relief Pitcher grew a solid area following for their great food, terrific service, and sports fan appeal.
Tabatha worked with SBDC Advisors Bob Griffin and Chuck Schwerin, multiple lenders and seller Bob Pastor to make her dream a reality. After months of dedication and perseverance, Tabatha was able to successfully complete the sale, and is now the new owner of The Relief Pitcher. In doing so, Tabatha is able to continue to provide employment for more than 20 full- and part-time employees. She has introduced a new menu, a new website, and is also making plans for aesthetic improvements to The Relief Pitcher. The SBDC is pleased to welcome Tabatha to the world of Small Business Ownership. For more information, please visit https://reliefpitcherny.com/
Uncorked Creations and 205 Dry
Beginning in 2010, Alise came to the SBDC looking for guidance to help her with a business plan for a new bar in the area. Financing for a bar, as well as finding a suitable location, were challenges that prevented Alise from the initial vision she had for her small business adventure. Of the support Alise received from the SBDC during that time, she admitted that in addition to the basics of starting a business, listening and encouragement were most important.
By the time Alise had returned to the SBDC at the end of 2014, she had already opened Uncorked Creations, a unique BYOB “paint and sip” experience, where guests could bring their favorite vintage and paint their own personal Picasso. No matter the level of talent, an enjoyable experience was the ultimate artistic creation.
Uncorked continued to grow and expand, adding more lofts and more to experience. A wine & chocolate bar is now open regularly and is a favorite for private parties with a secluded feel and spectacular ambiance. The arts program has expanded, and guests can dabble in acrylics, watercolor, do-it-yourself wood signs, pottery and ceramics, complete with a kiln.
After tremendous research, numerous trips to New York City and Paris with her devoted husband Phil, 205 Dry opened in January of 2018. The entire building is now a shrine to creative expression and immersive experiences. Judi Hess, Director of Visit Binghamton said, “She had the drive and ambition to make her vision for what the building at 205 State Street could be into a reality. Downtown Binghamton has emerged as a foodie and art haven that is increasingly popular. Businesses like 205 Dry and Uncorked Creations are contributors to that popularity.”
The evidence of Alise’s success is unquestioned in the results. In 2015, Uncorked Creations employed 5 people; this time-machine at 205 State Street ended 2018 now provide more than 35 jobs.
Alise Willerton had a vision. She crafted that vision over time with a passion for creating exceptionally unique experiences and contributing to the transformation of downtown Binghamton. Alise had perseverance. When financiers were hesitant, she found other ways. When legal challenges threatened her vision, she fought back. And when the easy path was not readily available, she adapted. The willpower Alise applied to her vision has resulted in two spectacular businesses with transformational impact for Binghamton.
In May of 2019, Alise was presented a well-deserved SBA Excellence Award for her amazing success story. For more information on 205 Dry, please visit their website - https://205dry.com/
Chenango Point Cycles
Like so many of us, Anthony Folk had a dream For more than 20 years, Anthony had lived in the world of cycling. After years of working in a number of areas of the industry in our region, Anthony wanted to fulfill his dream of owning his own bike shop.
An earlier opportunity in the western United States had not worked out due to a number of factors. But in the fall of 2018, Anthony had connected with the owner of Chenango Point Cycles, Jim Delaney, about the possibility of purchasing his store. Opened since 1988, Chenango Point has been a fixture in the cycling landscape of the southern tier of New York state.
Anthony came to the SBDC to assist him in creating a business plan and securing financing. Certified Small Business Advisor Bob Griffin guided Anthony through the process, covering legal topics, accounting topics, developing a solid cash flow and exploring options with local lenders. After months of careful planning and dedication, Anthony was able to work with the prior owner and Key Bank to make his dream a reality. He took ownership of his bike shop in June 2019.
Anthony intends to continue to grow and foster the trusted relationships with the cycling community members, deepen the roots of Chenango Point Cycles in the Southern Tier cycling community and grow awareness for the store and for cycling in the area as a whole.
“I will accomplish this by focusing deeply on three pillars: a diverse brand offering, excellent customer service, and engaging community events.”
Of the support he received from the SBDC, Anthony said,
“The SBDC was instrumental in helping me accomplish my lifelong dream. My advisor Bob is inciteful, knowledgeable, timely, and flexible. He guided me through each process I had a question about and worked with me until we found a solid solution or path for each component of my purchase of Chenango Point Cycles. He and the SBDC continue to be on my side as me and my business grow. Bob started as my advisor and quickly became someone who I can happily call my mentor. I want to thank Bob and the SBDC for all that they have done.”
The SBDC was very happy to have been there to help Anthony to realize his dream. For more information on Chenango Point Bicycle Company, please visit http://www.chenangopoint.com
Joe Rigoroso, the founder of Infiniti Micros, came to the Binghamton SBDC in 2017 looking for basic information on financial management, taxes, and possible grant opportunities. Infiniti Micros strives to grow the highest quality microgreens possible in a controlled environment year-round to provide an infinite supply of microgreens to retail and wholesale customers. Joe believes that a natural approach is the best approach when it comes to producing food, so he utilizes an all-natural growing medium paired with filtered water to grow microgreens. He never uses pesticides or fertilizers and constantly monitors the grow room to ensure the safest growing environment possible.
“We believe in the importance of fresh, locally grown produce and we strive to facilitate the creation of a world where locally grown microgreens are easy to purchase, store, and use.” ~ Joe Rigoroso, Founder of Infiniti Micros
Joe’s innovative approach to growing microgreens helped propel him to a first-place performance in the NYS Regional Business Plan Competition in April of 2018. Throughout 2018, Joe worked on refining his production techniques, improving his financial management, and expanding his base business in the restaurant and wholesale segments. Joe worked closely with his SBDC Advisor Mike Harris on performing a deep analysis of his financial model, from seed to payment, and explored opportunities for improving margins and driving efficiencies.
Joe then began working with SBDC Advisor Bob Griffin on marketing, expanding his reach, and transitioning from a retail model to a wholesale model, positioning his business to emphasize a distributor relationship as a means to generate stable cash flows. He also worked with Bob to talk through the challenges of moving to a new, long-term location, and the potential impacts that would have on his business.
In the spring of 2019, Joe won the Binghamton Business Plan Competition, and completed the move to his new location at 75 Travis Avenue in Binghamton. Infiniti Micros is the only grower of microgreens of its kind in the Southern Tier of New York state. His unique approach to growing produces a high-quality product that has exceptional shelf-life, improving restaurant menu selections that rely on these items, in addition to reducing costs through the abatement of waste.
To learn more about Infiniti Micros, visit www.infinitigreens.com .
Krooked Tusker Distillery
Anita came to the SBDC because she and her husband, Carlton, had an idea about starting a distillery on land they owned on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. They had some of their ideas flushed out in terms of the type of facility they desired but needed some assistance with determining the exact project costs, the business plan, the financial package and some initial marketing ideas. After some untimely delays due to things out of their control, Krooked Tusker Distillery is now open and thriving. Several of the spirits they produce have won prestigious awards and earned them a fan following. To learn more about Krooked Tusker, visit http://www.krookedtusker.com/
The Finger Lakes House
Bill came to the SBDC because he was heading into some unfamiliar territory. He had worked in the retail sector for many years and was successful out and had an opportunity to open an upper scale wine and beer house close to downtown Elmira. What made this project intriguing were a few things. First, it would be located in a newly renovated old Victorian building that had fallen into incredible disrepair. Secondly, it was by virtue of its location, going to be the focal point for the renovation of a neighborhood, and thirdly, it was an area that Bill Mott did not have direct experience with. The Finger Lakes House has been a success since day one and continues to attract a loyal following. SBDC was able to assist in putting the financing package in place, working on the business plan, and provided an organization blueprint to follow as the product developed. To learn more about The Finger Lakes House, please visit https://www.fingerlakeshouse.com/
Waterman’s Distillery, LLC is an innovative producer of all-natural grain neutral spirts and whiskeys in Upstate New York. The owners of Waterman’s Distillery, Joe and Michelle Alig, found they were having difficulties navigating the lending process of securing their financing. They reached out to the SBDC for guidance and support during the financing process with their bank and the SBA. The SBDC was able to expedite the lending process for Waterman’s and refer additional lending sources through the local county IDA and REDEC agencies. Waterman’s Distillery was opened for business in April of 2018 and had an article in Forbes Magazine noting them as a “craft distillery you don’t want to miss visiting this summer” and The NY Times featured article about “A New Wave of Spirits-Drive Travel”.
Tarrah worked in the banking world for 5 years and decided it was time to pursue her dream of owning a bakery and what better place than Market Street in Corning. She left her position as a Jr. Underwriter, packed up her belongings and moved to Corning from the Ithaca area.
She came to the SBDC for assistance with getting this project off the ground. We discussed legal requirements, storefront availability in the area and what lenders would require of her and we worked on putting a business plan together.
As it turns out, a storefront that would fit her needs, were few and far between. So it was decided she would start out on a smaller scale. For a short time she did some baking from her home and set up at the local Farmer’s Market. It didn’t take long for a location to become available. Once the final inspection was done, Laurabelle’s Cupcakery was open for business. Laurabelle’s, named after her grandmother, has taken off. Tarrah not only does special orders, but was able to snag a contract with a local restaurant doing all of their baked goods, with other showing interest. To learn more, check out Laurabelle's Cupcakery's Facebook page.
Jamy and his wife Kristal knew they wanted to start a fitness center, so they reached out to the SBDC for assistance. Their first initial visit consisted of discussing legal requirements, start-up costs, equipment desired along with prices and location. Throughout the process, clients and business advisor, worked hand in hand on putting a business plan together.
uMUVfit opened their doors on July 2nd. uMUVfit offers yoga and martial arts classes, along with personal training. Since that time, they have added more equipment, a rock wall and an obstacle course. UMUVfit is about full functional fitness and helping you reach you full potential!
Not only do they hold classes for adults and children, Kristal came up with a unique idea for Puppy Yoga classes. All proceeds from these classes go directly to the local SPCA to sponsor a pet adoption. To learn more, check out https://www.umuvfit.com/home/
Sarah approached the SBDC for assistance when an opportunity arose for her to purchase merchandise from a local store that was going out of business. Sarah had been dabbling in an assortment of things and decided it was time to start her own business. She came in with a business plan drawn up and together, Sarah and her business advisor, worked on three years of projections.
Unfortunately Sarah was turned down by the first lender she approached, but being one not to give up on her dreams, she approached another and was able to secure a loan.
Griffins Aerie offers a variety of items such as bulk herbs, herbal remedies, crystals, gem and plant essences, jewelry and metaphysical items. Sarah is a Reiki Practitioner and offers spirit consultations and energy work. To learn more, check out https://www.griffinsaerie.com/