Local Fresh Produce Purveyor Harvest Express Orlando Inc. Thrives with Support from FSBDC at UCF

Seminole State College’s Advisory Board Council Sets Stage for Company’s Success

December 12, 2016

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Bob Saldutti is your quintessential small business owner. About 15 years ago, he founded Harvest Express and has built it to almost $1 million in annual revenues. He’s in the business of manufacturing and delivering fresh produce like salads, cut fruit, carrot & celery sticks to non-grocery retailers in Orlando’s tourist and resort areas. His company brings in fresh produce; cuts, manufactures and packages it all day; and then delivers it through the night and early morning so his customers have the freshest products possible.

Saldutti is a hands-on business owner; he does whatever it takes to make the business go. He’ll buy the fruit and vegetables, pack the produce, even drive a delivery truck if that’s what is required to satisfy his customers. Eventually, however, he came to ask himself if there was more he could be doing to grow his company; if he was spending too much time working “in” the business and not enough time working “on” the business.

It was then that Saldutti applied for and was accepted into the Advisory Board Council (ABC) program at Seminole State College, modeled on the ABC originated by the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF). The Advisory Board Council is a next-level, business support service, assisting established Central Florida businesses by matching them with experienced business professionals who volunteer their diverse range of skills to work together on a “custom-fit” advisory board focused on helping businesses solve problems and create opportunities.

“My Board was great. Fantastic. Just wonderful,” remarked Saldutti. “They helped me get out of the weeds and develop a more strategic approach to my business. Thanks to them, we got our accounting in better order, managed our finances more effectively and, on the marketing side, they even helped me launch a new product line.”

Saldutti built on his Advisory Board involvement by tapping into the FSBDC at UCF’s no-cost, expert consulting. He began working with Steve South, an FSBDC consultant with past experience in warehouse operations and supply chain management. And the timing couldn’t have been better. Saldutti was looking to refine and upgrade his warehouse operations procedures. His business had grown to a stage where he had expanded his warehouse and processing facilities and needed revised operating and training procedures.

Developing new written procedures and operational disciplines are a necessary part of a company’s growth but also always a challenge while continuing to take care of the day-to-day demands of the business. It is very hard to do for a business owner to do on their own and traditional consultants can be very expensive. But he and South rolled up their sleeves to prepare his operation for this new phase of his business.  They met many times over several months to review processes and existing procedures to define new written policies and procedures.  Then they developed the training procedures needed to embed these new disciplines into the business.

“Developing new operating standards was a huge opportunity for my business and Steve South and FSBDC really came through for me to help me get there!”, states Saldutti. ”It’s amazing to me that every business isn’t working with the FSBDC. All they do is help!”


About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). THE FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2015, the FSBDC at UCF served almost 7,000 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in more than 7,300 jobs created, retained or saved; $990 million in sales growth; $74.4 million in capital formation; $101.7 million in government contract awards; and 111 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network is hosted by the University of West Florida and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

In 2015, the Florida SBDCs served almost 45,500 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 217,849 jobs created, retained or saved; $29.3 billion in sales growth; $947.4 million in capital accessed; $2.1 billion in government contract awards; and 3,857 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com