Lake County Success Stories; FSBDC; Lake County; Villages; Sumter County

There is no one formula for building a successful business. Certainly not one that creates the #1 digital news website in The Villages®, America’s premier active adult retirement community located in central Florida and the fastest growing metropolitan statistical unit in the United States.

And Meta Marie Minton and Jeremiah Delgado, co-owners of, will be the first to admit it. When she founded the news site back in 2013, she understood how hard it can be to start a business. “When we started, I knew how to do the news but I didn’t know how to run a business,” she says.

The provides news coverage of government, crime, classifieds, and local events for The Villages®, Florida and surrounding communities. It is the only source that provides “Real News, Right Now” to the largest retirement community in the United States. Stories from have been featured in local and national news syndicates, including CNN, NBC, CBS, USA Today, NY Post, and Huffington Post, among others.

Knowing what she didn’t know, it was then that Minton contacted the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Lake County satellite office, now in Mt. Dora.  “A huge number of small businesses fail in the first year. I knew we had a tough mountain to climb,” Minton continued. “But if you have some direction, and some guidance, then you can make it happen.”

The first thing she did was take an FSBDC seminar about how to start a business. Then she began writing a business plan. Finally she met with one of the local FSBDC consultants, Stan Austin, to develop a strategy for making her business come to life. “I went to the FSBDC to take advantage of the resources they offer,” says Minton. “It was one of the first things I did when I wanted to start a company and was probably one of the smartest.”

An early step was finding and collaborating with Jeremiah Delgado, her co-owner and business development director. “I’m an old newspaper person. He’s got this great understanding of digital marketing. With the help of the FSBDC, together we have made the success it is today,” Minton states.

Helping start the business was only the beginning of the ongoing services the FSBDC has provided. “Our FSBDC consultant helps us point our arrow in the right direction. He’s that outside person who has the experience and know how,” Minton went on. “He challenges us every step of the way, telling us we’re good, but not good enough; that we can do more; that we can do better. He has lit a fire that has pushed us to succeed. It’s been incredibly valuable.”

“With the FSBDC, we went from being a small-time business to being the leader in our industry and our area,” says Delgado. “We have a dominant social media presence and successful business because of help from the FSBDC. Our consultant gave us the insight and motivation to go out and succeed. The FSBDC is probably one of the best resources you can find for a small business,” he concluded.

FSBDC; Across Borders Management Consulting; Lake County

Across Borders Management Consulting Group

Humility is not a quality always associated with entrepreneurs. Especially if theirs is an IT services and solutions company with a goal of delivering “Innovation through Strategic Thinking.” But when a self-effacing attitude is present, it can be an important part of a formula for long-term success.

Vijay Krishnan and Arathi Rajagopalan, husband and wife and co-founders of Across Borders Management Consulting Group, recognized early on their situation as they sought to grow their company. Then they allowed their clear-eyed assessment of the challenges they faced in building their business to guide them to seek assistance from the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know” is Arathi Rajagopalan’s frank take on the early days of Across Borders. “We were a growing company with limited resources. That’s why we came to the FSBDC there we found a wealth of knowledge and services tailor-made for a company like ours,” she states.

“Since starting with the FSBDC, we have used every service they have to offer because they fit so well into where we want to take our business and how we want to grow. And all at little or no cost to the company,” Vijay Krishnan added. “It has made a big difference for us. We were a $1 million revenue company when we started with them; today we are closing in on $5 million.”

Both Vijay and Arathi Krishnan credit the FSBDC as helping shape the company that Across Borders is today. Initially they sought and received assistance regarding their sales and business development efforts from their FSBDC consultant Stan Austin. That was followed by an in-depth business and financial analysis by the FSBDC’s Roger Greenwald as part of the FSBDC’s Growth Acceleration Services. With that as a starting point, Across Borders was able to develop their first three-year strategic plan.

Meanwhile, the company and cofounders became part of the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program, a next-level, business-support service matching them with experienced business professionals with a diverse range of skills who volunteer and work together on a “custom-fit” advisory board. Further on, Vijay Krishnan joined the FSBDC’s CEO XChange, an executive roundtable program offering a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers. Most recently, Across Borders worked with the FSBDC’s International Trade Services team and gained a ready-to-implement Export Marketing Plan.

“Across Borders has done everything right,” remarked Stan Austin. “They are the perfect FSBDC client. They listen. They get involved. They make decisions. They implement. It’s no wonder they have been an Orlando Business Journal  ‘Fast 50’ growth company two years running.”

“The FSBDC has become a critically important strategic partner for Across Borders,” states Vijay Krishnan. “They have worked with us every step of the way. Their services are at the top-most professional level. And their only focus is on helping us grow to the next level. That is the best kind of partnership possible. We’re very happy and thankful for the FSBDC.”

Jones Brothers, FSBDC, SBDC, Lake County, Tavares

Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane

Tavares, Florida is called “America’s Seaplane City,” and for good reason. The city has made a significant commitment to the seaplane businesses that call the waters of Lake Dora home, including opening the Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, a magnificent wedding and conference facility, and the Tavares Seaplane Base.

Rob Galloway, owner and operator of Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures, saw opportunity in Tavares’ expanded aviation presence. Since 2010, Jones Brothers has been offering seaplane sightseeing trips of Florida and environs. More recently, it has added to its services one-way and round-trip charters, including fly-in guided fishing and hunting expeditions to the Everglades and romantic getaways to the Bahamas, as well as seaplane flight instruction and training.

When he joined Jones Brothers, Rob was its day-to-day operations manager. In that role, he often felt like he was “flying blind” because the company did not have a bone fide business plan. From his prior successful career in publishing, Rob knew a business plan would offer him important advantages in terms of process management, financial planning and growth for Jones Brothers.

At the suggestion of John Drury, City Administrator for Tavares, Rob turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Lake County satellite office. There he attended training in business plan writing and took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert, one-on-one consulting by working with Stan Austin, an FSBDC consultant and the local area manager. Together, they crafted a business plan for Jones Brothers that was actionable, measurable and information rich – just the tool Rob needed.

Over the next few years, Rob continued to call upon Stan and the FSBDC when he needed assistance, whether it was about developing marketing and growth strategies, overcoming barriers and roadblocks or identifying new revenue opportunities. The company prospered as it added services, added a new location in Mt. Dora and positioned itself to compete for government contracts.

Most recently, Rob set about to purchase Jones Brothers and become the sole owner. The FSBDC helped him update and strengthen the company’s business plan in preparation for obtaining the financing needed for the purchase. He also relied on the FSBDC’s Stan Austin to guide him about financing alternatives, business purchase best practices and negotiating strategies and tactics. All the work resulted in a very successful outcome: Rob became the sole owner and operator of Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures in December 2015.

“I can’t describe how helpful Stan and the FSBDC have been for me. I would recommend them to any business owner,” remarked Rob. “Thanks to the FSBDC, I was able to focus on what was important and make wiser decisions. And the results speak for themselves: last year Jones Brothers & Co. Air and Seaplane Adventures’ revenues grew by close to 20%, achieved its first profitable year and, on the strength of that performance, I was able to secure the financing to buy the company. Win-win-win.”

Jolly Roger's Guns, Gold & Pawn Umatilla, Lake County, FL

Jolly Roger’s Guns, Gold and Pawn

After a long and respected career with Lake County Fire Rescue, Roger Minger was ready for his life’s second act. He knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and business owner. And for some time he’d had in mind opening a retail store that offered fast, safe and convenient collateralized loans as well as fire arms for sale. It had an appealing business model and Roger saw demand for its offerings in his community. The challenge was how to get started down the right path toward success.

Roger started by looking for support and assistance locally, and found the Florida SBDC at UCF of Lake County. It offered no-cost consulting, seminars and workshops and information
resources; all services that Roger thought would help him get his business started.

“I knew there was a lot I didn’t know and a lot I needed to learn,” Roger says. “And the local FSBDC and my consultant Stan Austin offered everything I needed to get my business
started.” Areas of special concern to Roger that the FSBDC could help him with included government regulation, current tax requirements and how best to market his new business.

In response to these concerns, Roger enrolled in a series of seminars and began taking advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, unlimited professional consulting. In so doing, he gained command of key business principles and functions and, with his consultant’s assistance, put together a business plan to guide the start-up and management of his new business.

Roger gives the FSBDC significant credit for getting his business off to a strong start. “I can’t say enough good things about the FSBDC,” he commented. “They are wonderful. The FSBDC
taught me so much and I’ve gone back and used what I’ve learned over and over again. It’s here, it’s local and it’s free. The FSBDC is just a great thing that’s hard to beat.”

Today, Jolly Roger’s Guns, Gold and Pawn Inc. is open for business in Umatilla, providing the community with much needed access to collateralized loans, as well as buying and selling
gold and firearms. He continues as an FSBDC client, taking classes and relying on his FSBDC business mentor and consultant. He often comments that the best advice he ever got, was
from the FSBDC’s Stan Austin, “Slow Down,” because he says slowing down at critical junctures saved him from making some potentially disastrous mistakes.

“I don’t think you can start a business without the FSBDC if you want to be successful,” concluded Roger. “The type of information you get and the classes are invaluable. And
assistance from experts like Stan Austin makes all the difference.”

Caskey's Mower Shop, Gravely, eXmark, Stihl, Dixie Chopper

Caskey’s Lawn and Garden Center

Business owners have many choices when it comes to growing their company. Among the many available options, they can choose sales and marketing initiatives, adding to their product or service line or even strategic partnerships. For Jason West, owner of JWO Land Management Inc., the choices were few; results from the marketing of his lawn care business seemed to have plateaued, he had extended his line of services as far as he could and he didn’t see strategic partnership opportunities that would materially contribute to growing his business.

What to do? In Jason’s case, he decided that diversification of his business beyond lawn care was his best route to growing his company. And, as luck would have it, an opportunity arose for him to acquire a lawn and landscape equipment dealership and repair facility, Caskey’s Mower and Garden. It had all the elements he was looking for: a business in his industry that is an established Lake County company which is both profitable and has a strong reputation locally. Now Jason’s challenge was to find the financial resources to buy the business.

“When I decided I wanted to get into this new business, I wanted to make sure I did it right, “Jason says. To do that, he went to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Lake County office to understand the steps necessary to purchase the business and get the assistance he needed to make the right decisions in this purchase. At the FSBDC, Jason enrolled in several workshops and connected with Stan Austin, an FSBDC consultant and the area manager. He helped Jason get his arms around the financial side of the business, prepare a business plan and approach lenders with the best application possible.

“It was amazing. Stan was a lifesaver. He spent countless hours guiding me through the purchase process, helping me pull together the necessary financial information and then establish the decision criteria for making the purchase or not,” commented Jason. “And once I made the decision, Stan was there to help me obtain the financing I needed to close the transaction.”

Today, JWO Land Management Inc. is a thriving lawn and landscape service business with a full service equipment dealership and repair facility for all makes and models of small engines. He has two separate sources of revenue that compliment themselves in good markets and bad. And he has his consultant Stan Austin and the FSBDC behind him for future support and consultation.

“The FSBDC is probably one of the best kept secrets in Lake County,” says Jason. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be standing here. My whole experience with them has been excellent. Anyone who owns a business is crazy not to take advantage of what they offer. Almost anything you can think of, they can help you with – all at no charge!”

Bennett Law Center, FSBDC - Lake County, Stan Austin

Bennett Law Center

For the first three years, practicing law meant a full plate for attorney Bridgette M. Bennett of the Bennett Law Center. Between launching her immigration practice and representing more and more clients, she didn’t have time for much else. She had a nagging feeling, however, that she could be doing more to strengthen the foundation of her firm and manage its growth more effectively. It was then that Bridgette turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s office in Lake County. She’d heard FSBDC offered seminars that could help her answer her many business questions. And she found she had the opportunity to have a no-cost, expert business consultant from the FSBDC dedicating their knowledge and experience to guiding her and her business. Without a business background of her own, the FSBDC represented an opportunity to get, as she says, “real information and real life experience in a highly digestible way.”

And so it began in April, 2014. Bridgette attended the FSBDC’s New Venture seminar series and took classes in marketing, finance, business plan writing and more. She connected with Stan Austin, an FSBDC consultant and the Area Manager for Lake County. Together, they began an evaluation of Bennett Law Center’s current situation and the goals Bridgette had for it. She quickly came to understand “You don’t know what you don’t know,” as they say. She found no question or idea was too big or too small for the FSBDC, whether it be about human resources issues or finalizing her business plan. She enjoyed the benefits of consulting tailored to her situation which helped get her plans in focus and her actions better targeted at her long term goals.

In the short term, up first was Bridgette’s desire to refinance her mortgage on the building that housed her firm and move from a private mortgage to a commercial financing, as well as having the ability to use some of the loan proceeds to increase her working capital. However, she was afraid her credit score and the value of the property might keep her from obtaining a loan.

After Bridgette put together an initial loan application package for presentation to the lenders, she brought it to the FSBDC for review. There Stan Austin provided suggestions and answered her questions, enabling Bridgette to complete the loan application and present it to the lender. After the usual back and forth with them, with Stan at her side throughout, her application was approved and Bridgette received her $250,000 SBA-guaranteed loan, with a healthy piece for working capital.

I’m very grateful for the assistance of the FSBDC,” Bridgette commented. “They were an invaluable resource in helping me get my business into a much stronger position. For all of you business owners out there, I say ‘Just do it; it’s a no brainer,’” Bridgette went on. “The Florida SBDC at UCF will take you through the process, help you meet your business challenges and become your accountability partner for achieving success.

SBDC Lake County, Polyglot

Polyglot Analytics, LLC

Keith Breedlove and his wife Cheryl had both recently retired from government service and they had an idea. They felt that, with their backgrounds, they would be able to operate a successful consulting and training business.  Keith Breedlove has an M.S. degree in Information Systems and Systems Management from the University of Southern California. After serving as a Major in the U.S. Army for 23 years specializing in electronic warfare/signals intelligence, he has served as a senior systems engineer for several major defense contracting companies  including Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing and Northrup Grumman. Cheryl Breedlove was also retired, in her case from the Central Intelligence Agency, with extensive management experience  that they believe would enhance their consulting business.

The Breedlove’s had a clear vison of what their company  would be about. Their targeted market would be small and mid-sized businesses that want to more effectively use their business data to grow their revenues. The Breedloves’ company would provide these target organizations- U.S. and international private, commercial,  non-profit and governmental clients -with business intelligence, information analytics and business analysis consulting.

Beyond directly serving their own clients, the Breedloves also have an opportunity to serve as a sub­ contractor with a consulting firm located in Marietta, Georgia and have recently been invited to join a consortium of small firms doing marketing and business development with the Department of Defense in Tampa, Florida. And Mr. Breedlove also has the unique ability to deliver training and consulting in English, German, French and Russian, which he believes will give his company many exclusive opportunities.

With this as the backdrop, the Breedloves came to the Florida SBDC at UCF office in Southern Lake County, Florida to talk about their business idea with Dr. Dallas Garrett, the FSBDC consultant in South Lake County. Together with Dr. Garrett, they worked diligently and completed their business plan with a projected start date for their company of July 1, 2014. Their company, Polyglot Analytics LLC, is a home­ based business with very little overhead and within the first few months Mr. Breedlove attended several different training sessions and had the opportunity to deliver on two small development contracts to get his business started. They are currently working on a website and have been attending local Chamber events to develop local and regional contacts. And the company is at this time preparing a proposal on a major software development  effort that would bring them a very large contract. Additionally, Mr. Breedlove is exploring business intelligence opportunities with a network of contacts in Burkina Faso, Africa.

“For anyone considering  or already in the process of starting their first business I highly recommend  the Florida SBDC,” commented Mr. Breedlove.  “While I had a vision of what I wanted to do, the SBDC consultant, Dr. Dallas Garrett, really helped my focus on the business, assisting with development of a coherent business plan and a realistic financial plan to support it.  He has also been instrumental in helping me develop local contacts, especially through the local Chamber of Commerce. My wife and I will also be taking advantage of relevant training courses offered through SBDC, especially those related to business taxes, whiPch is undiscovered territory for us.”


American Backflow Testing

American Backflow Testing, Inc.

Like many business owners, Gary Gamache, the president and CEO of American Backflow Testing, Inc., was looking for ways to grow his business. He understood that growth costs money and sought out the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC) in Lake County for assistance in securing bank financing. His goal was to obtain a $50,000 line of credit to better manage the cash flow in his business and have funds to expand the business into additional business opportunities.

Gary first came to FSBDC in January 2013 when he attended the Business Plan Writing Made Easy class taught by Stan Austin, a certified business consultant at the FSBDC in Lake County. Shortly after the seminar, Stan started working with Gary to put together the business plan he would need to win approval of his bank loan application.

image (1)Through the summer Stan and Gary revised multiple iterations of his business plan. By early fall, Gary was ready for a final printing. The plan was printed for him in the FSBDC in Lake County’s office and bound with a comb binder. Gary then approached several banks seeking a line of credit for his business. Gary obtained a $50,000 line of credit with a bank in December 2013.

At the same time Gary was preparing his business plan, he began looking for new customers. One of the areas Gary has had business success is with local cities that need backflow testing done on a scheduled basis. Stan introduced Gary to Derek Hudson, a CBA and member of the FSBDC’s Government Contracting unit [formerly its Procurement Technical Assistance Center – (PTAC)]. Gary attended all the Government Contracting classes available to better understand the “ins and outs” of working with government entities. He immediately put to use what he had learned by winning business at another city by “piggy backing” on an already in place municipal contract he had with a city in the same area.

So it was that, once Gary had his credit line in hand, he was in a position to finance servicing new customers and better manage his cash flow. In Gary’s business, managing the payroll can put a strain on cash flow. He must pay his employees for the tests they perform immediately, even though there is a lag in time before Gary is paid by his clients. In addition, if Gary is to capitalize on the growth opportunities his national account clients are offering him, he needed operating capital to set up a larger support organization to manage the additional backflow testing calls. The additional workload also would require him to add personnel in the office to manage the necessary paperwork for billing the clients, paying the subcontractors and recording the information regarding the backflow tests with the correct water authorities in each local municipality.

With the credit line in place, Gary was able to grow his business with a few major accounts and with local municipalities. Gary has transitioned his personnel from using 3 subcontractors in 2013 to adding permanent employees in 2014. He now has two permanent office administrators and three employees conducting backflow tests. In May, he projects hiring one more field employee.

Two of his major accounts are now asking Gary to expand his testing operations to states other than Florida. In addition, now that he has a solid working model for managing major accounts, he is actively pursuing additional major accounts with multiple locations.

Over the past year, Gary and Stan have enjoyed building a professional and personal relationship. Gary counts on him and Derek Hudson personally to help him as he continues to grow his business. He is also relying on Stan to continue to direct him to other resources within Florida SBDC when need be. “The FSBDC in Lake County has been an invaluable resource to me and my business,’ says Gary. “They have mentored and coached me on how to better manage and grow my business. Companies in Lake County are making a mistake not to take advantage of their amazing, no-cost consulting, training and support.”

Ray Levy, Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty, FSBDC, Business Consultant

Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty

Florida residential real estate has been a tricky proposition since the end of the last decade’s great recession, and its reduced property values has affected all aspects of the industry, including depressing values in the real estate brokerage business. For some, however, the diminished values of brokerages and the uncertainty around the recovery of the Florida real estate market represented an opportunity if the pieces of an investment could be pulled together in time to take advantage of an unpredictable market and ambiguous future.

Karen and Ray Levy were just such people. Having been successful Real Estate Professionals in the Lake County Area for 7+ years, they knew the industry. And with a sales team of four individuals working as representatives of Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty in Mount Dora, Florida, they had an ear to the market that told them there were opportunities to be had in the future as a full service brokerage office.


By early spring 2013, Karen and Ray had decided to move on the opportunities they saw and visited the office of the Florida SBDC at UCF in Eustis, Florida (Lake County). Their goal was to acquire Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty by year end 2013. While they are both astute Real Estate professionals, they were in need of guidance on how to build a plan to acquire the brokerage business and its related commercial property. In addition they weren’t sure how to evaluate the selling price for the business. Finally, they knew they needed a robust Business Plan to convince potential investors to help them make their dream a reality.

Stan Austin, Area Manager for the FSBDC at UCF in Lake County, was uniquely suited to assist the Levy’s and welcomed the chance to work with them by providing them with the expert, no-cost consulting the FSBDC at UCF is known for. The FSBDC services like no-cost consulting, training seminars and data base research resources, are an integral part of the three Business Opportunity Centers (BOC’s) in Lake County, Florida. The Business Opportunity Centers offer incubation services along with the training and consulting services provided by the Florida SBDC at UCF team in Lake County

Being a Business Broker in a prior life, Stan helped the Levy’s re-cast the current owner’s financial information to estimate the value of the business portion of the transaction. In addition Stan recommended they obtain a certified commercial appraisal on the business property. That would give them the pieces of the puzzle necessary to begin negotiating a sales price that would be fair to all parties concerned.

In the meantime, Karen and Ray availed themselves of the training offered byFSBDC at UCF in Lake County. They attended the “Start-Up Basics” and “Business Plan Writing Made Easy” seminars to better acquaint themselves with the best practices of both. After the Business Plan class, Ray began working in earnest to put together their own business plan. After multiple iterations it was decided it would be necessary to recast the current owner’s financial information in light of the operational changes the Levy’s desired to make to the business (when they owned it). Stan worked with them to document the changes and reflect the savings in the Profit and Loss statements as if the changes had already been made. The savings were substantial.

During the summer of 2013, as work continued on the business plan, the Levy’s obtained the appraisal for the commercial property and began “floating trial balloons” with potential private investors and financial institutions. The intent was to test the feasibility of obtaining financing to purchase Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty.

As the year went on, Stan re-worked the financial information multiple times with the passing of each quarter. The good news is the real estate market in the area, as the Levys had foreseen, also began to rebound some as well. The financial picture and projections became more and more positive! As we approached the end of the year, it became easier to project the year-end financial picture, as well as project 2014.

Late in the summer, the Levy’s obtained a loan commitment from United Southern Bank to finance the commercial property. Around the same time, they were able to line up financing for the remaining amount needed to buy the business portion of the acquisition. The financing consisted of a private investor, seller financing and an equity position by the Levy’s.

On December 27, 2013, the Levy’s closed on the transaction and met their goal to acquire the business prior to January, 2014! They have already added five full employees and are well on their way to implementing the operational changes they stated in the business plan!

Ray Levy summarized his feeling by saying, “There are a lot of people out there that have good ideas, but they don’t have the expertise of business consultants,” said Ray Levy. “The FSBDC at UCF in Lake County and the BOC really moved the needle forward for us.”


MotorSports ConneXtions

If you think high gas prices, environmental impacts, cautious consumer spending and old friends separated by nearly 6000 miles are business obstacles, then you should talk to Lisa Knowles, CEO of MotorSports ConneXtions, a new importer-distributor of motor scooters in Clermont, Florida.

“We weren’t sure how we were going to sell the product as it seemed difficult, so I discussed our options with [the SBDC at UCF].”

Lisa Knowles
MotorSports ConneXtions

“I’ve had this friend in Hawaii for the past 20 years,” says Knowles, “and we discussed many times about going into business but the timing just wasn’t right.” That all changed in July 2008, when Lisa, her husband Russ, and their friend Joe in Hawaii, pooled their limited resources to put a deposit on a ship container full of motor scooters – some 44 bikes in total. That’s when Knowles contacted the SBDC at UCF’s Gene Romagna, area manager for Lake & Sumter Counties. “She was one determined professional”, Romagna recalls, “and she wanted to ‘do it right’ from the start.” Knowles immediately started in on a business plan and what the proper legal structure would be for the company. “We weren’t sure how we were going to sell the product as it seemed difficult, so I discussed our options with Gene. With his (Romagna’s) help, getting his input and his direction to various web sites to research as to what was best for us, we settled on being a distributor.” They filed with the State for a distributorship in late November, the scooter shipment arrived Thanksgiving weekend.

Determined to make it work, Knowles continued to work with customs brokers and trucking companies to successfully get the products to their rented storage facility. There were also other necessary items to complete including working with state offices for a distributor license, drumming up potential dealers, creating contracts and advertising pieces, and getting a harder than expected “MCO” (manufacturer certificate of origin) document. By early February 2009, MotorSports ConneXtions received their approved license to distribute motor vehicles in the State of Florida and have six dealers with more on the way.

“Gene was always there by phone and email to help lead us in the directions we needed to go, including working with the state and the folks in Tallahassee,” says Knowles. “You just knew this was going to work from the start,” says Romagna. “Success was the only option for her positive attitude and hard work.” MotorSports ConneXtions recently co-opted with a dealer to run a TV commercial that will be airing in the greater Lake County area over the next few weeks. Additionally, Knowles is looking to bring on another manufacturer with 3 more scooters styles along with after-market parts. So, keep your eyes and ears open when driving in central Florida. You just may catch Lisa Knowles “scootering” to one of her dealers.