Client Success Stories

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.

Success Stories by Industry 

Arts & Entertainment Fitness &  Recreation FOOD &
Marketing Retail Miscellaneous 


Food & Beverage

The Lost Dog Café 

Advisor: Bob Griffin

Lost Dog CafeStarting as musicians in an all-girl band, Liz and Marie worked in many restaurants in New York City while pursuing their dream of creating music.  After ten years they earned more restaurant experience than originally anticipated and decided to return to their hometown of Binghamton, NY and open a café (similar to the cafes seen in NYC’s East and West Village).

They created a comfortable, unassuming bohemian place where people could hang out, eat good food and drink great coffee. After a couple of years, they needed a larger space to accommodate bands, local art displays and more customers in a spacious, full-service restaurant with a full bar.  Growing and moving their business proved to be challenging. There were few viable restaurants in downtown Binghamton in the 1990s and they difficulty obtaining financing. They went to the Binghamton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance with their business plan, financial forecasts and loan packaging; and were able to obtain the needed financing.

They quickly became active members in the revitalization of downtown and the development of the newly growing art scene.  The Visitors Bureau instantly highlighted the Lost Dog Café as a “must go” when in Binghamton for the delicious and unique food, atmosphere, art, music and warm hospitality. 

Following a flood in 2010 due to a burst sprinkler system, the Lost Dog shut down for a few weeks.  Once again, they returned to the SBDC for assistance and in 2012 worked with the SBDC to obtain a loan to expand their business to include a lounge appealing to both college students and corporate executives.  
In 2017, they were encouraged to bottle and sell their Ala Vodka sauce and salad dressing.  They asked the Binghamton SBDC for guidance on processing and marketing their products in order to be available on grocery store shelves, subsequently forming Lost Doggie Bag, LLC.  

When the pandemic closed their restaurant and the schools were in a mandated shut down, Liz and Marie provided lunch to children twice a week in disadvantaged neighborhoods.  They returned to the SBDC for help obtaining SBA Disaster Recovery financing and guidance with NYS re-opening guidelines.  The Lost Dog was able to successfully open their outdoor business by putting covered and uncovered tables on the sidewalk, and they also expanded their take-out business.  They were able to hire back many of their employees and opened indoors at the recommended capacity limits.  They also worked with the SBDC to help them with their Restaurant Recovery Fund application. 

The Lost Dog Café continues their relationship with the SBDC as they begin their process to become WBE Certified in order qualify for initiatives, programs and contracts in the Greater Binghamton area and beyond. 

To learn more about The Lost Dog Café, you can visit their website at:

Silo Food Truck 

Advisor: Lindsay Wolf

Photo of Silo Food Truck Owners & Truck

We reached out to the SBDC after a recommendation from Tompkins County Area Development to explore options for the next steps for our Food Truck Business. Opening in 2015, we had experienced great success both regionally and along the east coast. That said, we needed to create some stability as we looked to the future and the long term plans of the business. We were introduced to Bob Griffin and Lindsay Wolf, and at our first meeting where we explained that we wanted help exploring options for growth and stability.   

I could tell after our first conversation that I was talking to two experienced business advisors who could help us navigate our next steps. We were paired with Lindsay, who represented Tompkins County, and it was an instant connection. It was important for us to work with someone who understood that our lifestyle and happiness quotient was just as important to us as the bottom line. Lindsay takes great care in getting to know her clients and keeps their best interests in mind. 

For over 8 months we worked with Lindsay, along with others, on possible growth plans for Silo. Lindsay was instrumental in helping us build financial pro-formas, meet potential lenders, flush out our business plan, and gain access to in-depth industry research. She, and her team, were available to us morning, noon and night as we entertained a few different business possibilities that we thought may be a good fit for us. Lindsay has helped us gain significant knowledge about our own business and made sure we were asking the right questions.  

Ultimately, we landed on a growth plan that is allowing us to build our own commissary kitchen at our home! This expansion will allow us to increase production with the possibility of year-round service in a convenient location allowing us to work from home, be with our doggies and do what we do best- make great food and provide great service. We are continuing to work with Lindsay and getting help on strategic planning that may include the build-out of a second truck or a permanent location in the Ithaca area.  

To learn more about our business visit us at: 

The Relief Pitcher

Advisor: Bob Griffin

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

Krooked Tusker Distillery

Krooked 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, please visit

The Finger Lakes House

Advisor: Scott Bloor

FingerLakeBill 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. The 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, please visit

Waterman's Distillery

Advisor: Michelle Catan

WatermanWaterman’s Distillery, LLC is an innovative producer of all-natural grain neutral spirits 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”.

Laurabelle's Cupcakery

Advisor: Susan Buchanan


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.

Click here to see Laurabelle's Cupcakery's WENY-TV news story.

2nd Heaven

Advisor: Jordan Jicha

leightonIn September of 2019, Binghamton University student Leighton Blackwood came to the SBDC looking to bring a bubble tea stand to the University’s campus. After initially having his concept rejected by the University, Leighton stayed persistent.

He would spend over a year working on perfecting his recipes using student testing both on campus and at the local farmer’s market. After perfecting his recipes and graduating with a degree in management, the University would give 2nd Heaven its own spot right in the main food court on campus. 

Leighton and Jordan discussed restaurant specific tips, his market testing strategies, and worked on creating his business model. 

After an extremely successful first semester, Leighton is evaluating potential options for growth in the future. 



A. Vitullo Inc.

Advisor: David Patz

avitulloinc"My name is Bob Roth, and I'm the owner of A.Vitullo, Inc., a fine men's clothing store in New Hartford, New York.

Trying to navigate through the pandemic and these unprecedented times, I was given David Patz (Small Business Advisor) name and contact information regarding the SBA EIDL loan.

I immediately called David, and from the beginning, he was WONDERFUL! He was genuinely interested in our situation, concerned, patient, and accessible. He went above and beyond, answering questions for my wife and me, helping/guiding us through the application process, and contacted us with any new developments, reaching out to us one night at 9 PM. He made us feel comfortable and at ease during these trying times. 

David is a true professional and an outstanding representative of his/your office. How fortunate we were to be referred to him." - A Vitullo Inc. Owner, Bob Roth

To learn more about this business, please visit:

Chenango Point Cycles

Advisor: Bob Griffin

Chenango Point

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 insightful 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 

Griffin's Aerie

Advisor: Susan Buchanan

Griffin 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, visit the Griffin's Aerie Facebook page


Arts & Entertainment


Uncorked Creations and 205 Dry

Advisor: Bob Griffin

Alise and Advisor Bob GriffinBeginning 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.

To learn more about 205 Dry, visit:


Fitness & Recreation



Advisor: Susan Buchanan

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 2, 2019.  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.

Learn more about uMUVfit, by visiting;



Access Unlimited

Advisor: Jordan Jicha


My name is Tom Egan, and I'm the owner of Access Unlimited, a small medical equipment manufacturing company in Binghamton. I just wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know how helpful Jordan Jicha has been in guiding us through SBA and PPP loans and other resources during the COVID-19 crisis.

More than to provide accurate and timely information, Jordan provided tremendous moral support and context for what we were about to go through. It's hard to describe how invaluable he was in helping me formulate a strategy for bringing my company through this crisis into a new mode of operation. Jordan gave me confidence that we would find the roadmap to survival and emerge as a stronger company. He made himself available at virtually any hour, and I never had to wait very long for a callback. He is a credit to the Small Business Development Center, and you can be certain that he has changed my perception of SBDC forever.

Please keep up the good work and know that the businesses in this community appreciate the vital work that you and your staff do.

To learn more, please visit:




Advisor: Michelle Catan

 adminders pictureJanet Keefe started ADminders, a promotional product and apparel distributor, in 1987 and has since received certification as a Women Business Enterprise. When the COVID-19 swept the country, ADminders biggest client, Cornell University, had to close for two months, Janet knew she needed to pivot her business model. Janet contacted the Binghamton SBDC for help and began to work with Michelle Catan, Advanced Certified Business Advisor. With Michelle's help, Janet was able to obtain an EIDL grant, PPP loan, and save multiple jobs.

Fortunately, Janet was approached by one of her most reliable vendors, asking if she could offer PPE items. Janet immediately said yes, and began training in the world of masks, sanitizers, thermometers, etc. She and the ADminders team worked continuously and were able to get her PPE business operational, develop a system to support the online business, and establish The team was able to implement their marketing plan, and from there, the orders started coming in.

Janet and the ADminders team were able to successfully pivot their business, which has allowed them to remain open and proudly helping businesses purchase the PPE needed to re-open, thanks to the innovation and proactive business practices and the support of the Binghamton SBDC.

To find out more visit:


The Rug Shop

Advisor: Bob Griffin

A profile image of The Rug Shop Owner Rudy Paoletti Jr at a worksiteSuccession planning within family businesses is both complex and nuanced, with many aspects that have to be carefully considered by all of those involved.  When Rudy Paoletti, Jr. reached out to the SBDC, his own family business was faced with the complicated and emotional journey faced by so many legacy businesses.

The Rug Shop, Inc. is a 3rd generation commercial contracting business specializing in a wide array of floor coverings for commercial applications.  Incorporated by his grandfather in 1965, The Rug Shop, Inc. has been – and remains – a fixture in the commercial flooring industry in the region.  Ownership of the business rested with Rudy’s father and two uncles since the 1970s.  They had come to the crossroads of negotiating the smooth transfer of the business to Rudy.  As with many businesses, outdated agreements and changing economic conditions meant that prior plans left on the shelf no longer applied.

Rudy reached out to Certified Small Business Advisor Bob Griffin to get assistance in understanding the various options available to him and his family’s business.  Bob performed a thorough financial analysis of the business, including a basic business valuation to provide Rudy the information he needed to take the appropriate action for him and his family.  Bob also served as a resource for Rudy’s exploration of various options and scenarios as the process evolved.

Rudy and his family successfully navigated the complexities of the business succession.  The Rug Shop, Inc. has since managed to secure several major contracts as a direct result of successfully settling the transition of the business to the new ownership structure.

“The Rug Shop, Inc. faced several challenges throughout the transfer of ownership.  Bob Griffin and the SBDC provided objective insight and tools needed for risk assessment and financial projections instrumental in the decision-making process.” 
~ Rudy Paoletti, Jr. 


RCR PhotoRCR is a family-owned and operated I.T. and security company based out of Binghamton, NY. RCR was created in 2010 after Karen Roberts realized how skilled and knowledgeable her son, Christopher Raysor, was with computers.

 In 2019, RCR became a Certified MWBE and began seeking larger contracts. SBDC Advisors Liam McMahon and Laura Knochen-Davis worked with them to develop their capability statement, establish them on government contracting sites, and assist in positioning them for growth. With integrity at its core, RCR was able to service national chains across NY, PA, and NJ. They also expanded their services to include Computer Networking which covers routers, firewalls, cloud management, access points (WiFi), VPN / remote access, and more.

RCR has built an expectation of excellence in service, support, and customer service that has launched them into a successful growing business with employees and contractors utilized for larger projects.

To learn more about RCR, please visit the RCR Website

Cascun Farm

Cascun Farm LogoThe owners of Cascun Farm know how to preserver through difficult times, and COVID-19 was no exception. When COVID-19 swept the nation, and all the shutdowns occurred, all the new business Cascun Farm had gained in NYC came to a halt. Like many other small businesses, Cascun Farm had to shut down its operations and lay off employees. Not accepting failure as an option, the Cascun family sat down and began brainstorming new ways to do business.
Persevering, Cascun Farm contacted the SBDC at Binghamton University and worked with Bob Griffin as their Advisor. Andrea said, "Bob was amazing – constantly giving updates on new funding opportunities, finding resources, and always making us feel like we are a priority. He's very honest and upfront and was willing to go to bat for me. We felt like someone was rooting for us. With Bob's help, we were able to get the funding we needed to keep the Farm going".
With the help of the SBDC at Binghamton University and advisor Bob Griffin, Cascun Farm received COVID-19 funding and bid successfully to be an approved vendor for the NYC Food Banks, hired up to 30 employees, and created an online store. They learned new skills while forming strong strategic relationships for product offerings, processing, and distribution. Cascun Farm is stronger than ever because the owners didn't wait to make things happen. As proactive entrepreneurs, they continuously look for ways to do things smarter and more efficiently while taking advantage of new opportunities.

 To find out more about Cascun Farm, visit;

People Grow Together

People Grow Together, Business

People Grow Together (PGT) in Windsor, NY, is a permaculture-inspired, family-owned farm focusing on regenerative farming. Co-owners Daniel Mastey and Jen Morabito started their business when they found out that companies were wrongly inflating the CBD industry with too high prices and false claims. They contacted the Small Business Development Center at Binghamton University, where Advisor Bob Griffin assisted them in establishing and growing their business.

Co-owner Jen Morabito noted, "Bob has been a wonderful asset to PGT in serving as a mentor over the past year. His guidance has helped aid our rapid growth and expansion of our business— from just the farm to now having a well-established premium CBD line of products. The connections he has made for us and guidance during the pandemic, specifically has been very valuable."

To learn more about People Grow Together, please visit;

Nitty Gritty Details

Advisor: Jordan Jicha

nittyFor over ten years, Shaun ran a car detailing store out of his home, while working a full-time job. Shaun had built up such a consistent clientele over the last decade that he had a decision to make; would he continue doing this on the side, or would he make this a full-time job?  

Shaun came to the SBDC looking for guidance on how to make this jump. Shaun and Jordan were able to review his business model, analyze the cost of having a physical space and create a marketing plan to successfully launch his new location.  
 In January 2022, Shaun successfully launched his company in its new location in Vestal. Through his first six months of business, he has grown his already consistent customer base and was able to build several relationships with local car dealers. After a grand opening ceremony in April 2022, Shaun is looking forward to continuing to grow his business.  For more details, visit: