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, & RECREATION
Food & Beverage
The Lost Dog Café
Advisor: Bob Griffin
Starting 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: https://www.lostdogcafe.net.
Silo Food Truck
Advisor: Lindsay Wolf
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: https://www.silofoodtruck.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, please visit http://www.krookedtusker.com/
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.
Learn more about Laurabelle's Cupcakery's by clicking here.
Click here to see Laurabelle's Cupcakery's WENY-TV news story.
Advisor: Jordan Jicha
In 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.
Chenango Point Cycles
Advisor: Bob Griffin
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 http://www.chenangopoint.com
Arts, Entertainment, & 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; http://www.umuvfit.com/.
Advisor: Michelle Catan
Janet 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 PPE.Adminders.com. 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: https://new.adminders.com/
RCR 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.