Curis Decontamination

CURIS System

Imagine that you are an entrepreneurial small business presented with major growth opportunities in new, but unfamiliar, international markets. With little or no exporting experience, where should you turn for guidance and to learn what you need to know to be successful? For biodecontamination equipment manufacturer CURIS System and Jeff Woodson, its vice president, revenue operations, the answer was and is the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its International Trade Services Program.

CURIS System, headquartered in Oviedo, FL, is a manufacturer and provider of biodecontamination equipment and solutions. “Our mission is to make biodecontamination safer and easier for pharmaceutical manufacturers, research laboratories, and health care providers,” Woodson explains, “so they can focus on their lifesaving and life-enhancing work without disruption from contamination by high concentration, high consequences chemicals.”

“There are a few things that makes CURIS really standout,” continues Woodson. “The first is the safety and ease of use of our product. Our patented technology allows us to achieve the same level of kill as the high concentration, high consequences chemicals while only using a 7% hydrogen peroxide solution. The other aspect that customers are happy with is the level of support and training that they receive from our team.”

Having built a successful business in the U.S., word spread throughout the biosafety and biosecurity world that CURIS provides a safe and effective solution for biodecontamination challenges. The company was soon approached by numerous different overseas customers and dealers asking CURIS to begin exporting to their countries. Fortunately, Enterprise Florida and the Florida SBDC Network, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, offer a scholarship to assist qualified Floridian “new-to-export” manufacturers and service providers with identifying overseas growth strategies through the development of a customized Export Marketing Plan.

“Exporting was brand new to us,” Woodson recalls. “We did not know how to do it and did not have that expertise in house.” It was why the firm turned to the FSBDC and Jill McLaughlin, its International Trade program manager, for assistance. “Being able to connect with the FSBDC and take advantage of the Export Marketing Plan and the consulting services they offer was a huge help in getting us where we needed to be to export,” Woodson states today.

CURIS also took advantage of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), funded by the Florida SBDC Network which had received a grant from the SBA to assist small businesses with export development. Through awards to eligible businesses, the STEP program helps small businesses overcome obstacles to exporting by providing grants to cover costs associated with entering and expanding into international markets. “It helped us cover the travel and lodging costs to get over there and be able to meet with clients and steward our product and support so that they were very happy with the installation and implementation of the product,” shares Woodson.

“The Export Marketing Plan was extremely helpful. As we have grown and expanded around the world, being able to rely on the FSBDC and the resources they have been able to connect us with has been absolutely critical to us being able to successfully grow, especially abroad, but also domestically,” affirms Woodson. “Since connecting with the FSBDC, our export volume has increased by 400% and we’re expecting to grow even faster from there. We’ve been extremely lucky to have the support of the FSBDC. For any entrepreneur, I would highly recommend reaching out to them for the breadth of their services, their support, and the knowledge that they can provide.”

For information about CURIS System, please visit .



Starting a business – any business – can easily become a formidable endeavor. Doing it alone only increases the degree of difficulty. Make it a behavioral health clinic and the challenge can seem monumental. Gillie Acosta, founder and owner of Beha.Vio, Inc. – an applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment facility in Davenport, FL – faced all of this and more when she decided to launch her company, leading her to connect with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for guidance.

Beha.Vio is an ABA therapy clinic that applies scientifically-verified, systematic behavior-change interventions that resolve problems to allow for a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Its team of therapists offer intensive ABA services focusing on all areas of development, social interactions, motor skills, and management of problem behaviors, mostly through early intervention with children aged three to five. “What makes us different and special is that we provide individualized behavioral treatment to our clients, the majority of whom have autism spectrum disorders. In both school and clinic settings, we help them find ways to be independently functional in their environments,” explains Acosta.

As she contemplated starting her treatment enterprise, Acosta surveyed the landscape for assistance and decided upon the FSBDC at UCF satellite office in Kissimmee, FL. “I was looking and searching for help, tools, ideas and I found the FSBDC,” Acosta recalls. “I was able to get in contact with FSBDC consultant Elly Membreno and she was so helpful. She supported me, empowered me to continue, not to give up and I will be grateful forever.”

The myriad areas of assistance provided by Membreno and the FSBDC was broad and deep, including its no-cost consulting, business training, and access to market research. From state, county, and local registrations and permits to professional licensing, Membreno and Acosta worked together to put the business on a firm footing from the beginning. Additional support included helping Acosta to prepare her business plan, with drawing up a budget with the necessary financial forecast, and in creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Especially valuable was the time spent on human resource matters like preparation of an employee handbook; job descriptions; salary and benefits planning; hiring, onboarding & orientation for new employees; and performance management processes.

All of their hard work has paid off. “Since I started working with the FSBDC, my revenue has grown 100%. From having no staff when we began, now two years later I have 26 employees and just a month ago we were able to move to a bigger location because we are growing so fast,” Acosta shares proudly.

“If you’re a business owner and you’re thinking of using the resources that the FSBDC provides, I highly recommend it,” concludes Acosta. “They provide consultation, training and webinars, and other resources at no-cost and always available. Working with them, you will feel supported and empowered. I always did.”

For information about Beha.Vio, Inc., please visit

NovoaGlobal. Creating Safer Communities.

NovoaGlobal, Inc.

If two heads are better than one, then how valuable must a group of eight experts and consultants be when all are dedicated to helping you make your small business more successful? And all at no cost? Carlos Lofstedt, founder and CEO of NovoaGlobal, Inc. – an automated traffic enforcement pioneer – found himself in exactly that enviable position when he enrolled his company in the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) award-winning Advisory Board Council program.

NovoaGlobal® is a leading developer and manufacturer of photo enforcement, including school zone speed and red light enforcement, and intelligence solutions designed to improve traffic safety, reduce road injuries and fatalities, and help law enforcement reduce/solve crime in their communities. “Our vision is to create safer communities for our families,” shares Lofstedt. “We do that by implementing different solutions for traffic safety and public safety like speed enforcement, red light enforcement, license recognition and so on.”

Customer service and superior technology set NovoaGlobal apart from its competitors. “One of the big differentiators between our company and others is the service level we provide,” Lofstedt explains. “Our existing clients rave about us and it’s something we’re very proud about. Besides that, our technology is a very important factor. We have been able to outperform the largest companies in the world.”

Lofstedt learned about the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program while attending a Small Business Administration event. “I was introduced to Jill Kaufman (FSBDC Associate Director and ABC program manager) and it really caught my interest to be able to have a board where I could get input from experts within different areas to try to grow the business,” he recalls.

The Advisory Board Council program is a next-level, business support service aimed at helping established Central Florida businesses grow. Each advisory board is comprised of a customized, no-cost panel of experts providing advice and counsel to the FSBDC client. The FSBDC acts as a matchmaker between established local small businesses like NovoaGlobal and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with each advisor purposefully selected to address the specific needs of the participating company.

“Working with the FSBDC and our Advisory Board gave several benefits to our company,” Lofstedt states, “because the board members we had were able to increase our marketing exposure, improve our website and helped us increase sales in general”. In addition, NovoaGlobal was able to take advantage of the FSBDC’s International Trade program which produced an Export Marketing Plan that assisted its entry into new global markets.

“The Advisory Board helps you get a different perspective and pushed us in a different direction that is more beneficial for our company,” concludes Lofstedt. “We had an increase in sales of almost 100% from 2019 to 2022, and have been awarded multiple contracts, including government contracts during that period that are over $50 million in total.” Proof positive that eight heads are better than one, especially when they are part of an FSBDC Advisory Board.

For information about NovoaGlobal, please visit

Culture Studio

Culture Studio

It’s never easy to be the “new kid” in town. It can be even harder when you are opening a new office and manufacturing facility almost 1,200 miles away from your headquarters in Chicago. For Rich Santo, CEO of Culture Studio — a technology company that powers merch sales for the music and entertainment industries – getting off to a great start in the company’s new locale of Daytona Beach was paramount. Having the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at UCF, in his corner quickly became one of the ways he assured his success.

Culture Studio is in the business of accomplishing apparel and merchandise production in quantity for music, entertainment, retail, and e-commerce customers. Do you remember that fantastic memento you snagged at your last big event? It could have been from Culture Studio. “We are a platform for artists to make merchandise at scale,” describes Santo. “It consists of a proprietary technology that we build in house to power all of our physical assets, like our factories that are set up throughout the country. It’s something nobody can copy. We’ve been building this piece of tech since 2014. It is certainly our ‘secret sauce’ and what makes working with us special for our customers. We call it the ‘CS Experience’ and it’s what makes us better and successful.”

“Our headquarters is in Chicago and our newest facility, a 76,000 sq. ft. office and manufacturing plant, is in Daytona Beach, maybe a block and a half from the Daytona Speedway,” shares Santo. “When we entered the State of Florida, my first questions were: what are the opportunities and what agencies are there to help us get comfortable in the state?” Santo wanted to pinpoint who would be the best fit to help Culture Studio navigate uncharted territories. It was during his initial search that he discovered the FSBDC at Daytona State College.

“The services and overall experience at the FSBDC and with Trecia Marchand (DSC sub-center director and business consultant) and her team have been really incredible for us,” Santo recalls. Leveraging the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting services, Santo was introduced to all corners of the Daytona business community. “The FSBDC has been a really great extension of our team,” Santo continues. “The biggest thing is just the connections, meeting different people and getting introductions.” A security company who is now a building tenant and a top-notch realtor were just two of the valuable connections he has made. “We got to meet so many great people that probably would have taken us months to find. We were kind of fast tracked into all these relationships. To be completely honest, doing business in Daytona has been amazing.”

“The impact on our business of opening our facility in Florida has been awesome,” concludes Santo. “Through first quarter 2023, we have had 68% growth in top line revenue. We have our 76,000 sq. ft. facility up and running. We have hired 65 team members in less than a year, and that’s only 20% of the people we will eventually need. We’ve used a lot of local contractors. I think we’ve become a big part of the community and it’s great for us and for Daytona.” The FSBDC at DSC is proud to have contributed in some small part to Culture Studio’s strong start in the state of Florida.

For information about Culture Studio, please visit

Outsource Equipment Company

Outsource Equipment Company

Small business owners will often admit, when they are being brutally honest, that running a company can be a lonely undertaking. After all, when you are up against the daily challenges of satisfying customers, motivating employees, and outperforming competitors, no one at the office or at home wants to hear about your worries. It would only scare them. What to do?

For Mark Smith, founder and president of Outsource Equipment Company, a materials handling equipment distributor, the answer was found in two programs offered to second-stage companies by the Florida Small Business Development Center at The University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF): the Advisory Board Council (ABC) and the CEO XChange, both of which surrounded Smith with multiple knowledgeable and expert voices to coach him forward.

Outsource Equipment Company (OEC) provides material handling equipment and solutions for warehouses, distribution centers, and even the factory floor. The company offers both new and used equipment from the finest manufacturers, and it engineers results that save customers time, money, and space. Specialties include vertical lift modules, conveyers, pallet rack and shelving, mezzanine systems and much more. “We specialize in just vertical storage systems,” Smith explains, “so we have gotten very good at it. It’s a niche that we’re very happy to be the best in.”

As a client of the FSBDC at UCF, Smith had benefited from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and market research services. Through these resources, he learned about the FSBDC’s award winning ABC and CEO Exchange programs and signed up. The FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council, led by FSBDC Associate Director Jill Kaufman, provides no-cost, customized boards of volunteer experts specially selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow. CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program serving progressive chief executives and business owners in Central Florida. Facilitated by FSBDC consultant Hal Thayer, it offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers and provides opportunities to broaden their business perspectives and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving.

“What I like about the CEO XChange is I get to hear from a lot of different CEOs from different companies in different industries with different ways of doing business with different kinds of customers,” remarks Smith. “It’s really helpful to me to get a well-rounded approach to doing business well.” Continuing, Smith recalls, “As a member of the CEO XChange, I noticed other companies in the group who had been in the Advisory Board Council program, and they seemed to be doing really well. I applied and was accepted. Once involved, it really helped us to get direction, to focus on what we are good at, and to get some financing. Acting on what we learned from the ABC advisors made us a much more solid business.”

“The FSBDC, CEO XChange, and the Advisory Board Council, and what I have learned from them, has had real positive effects on our business,” Smith concluded. “2022 was our best year ever, about 50% over what we did in 2021. We were able to do that by listening to other people on the CEO XChange and doing what was suggested by the Advisory Board Council, and just seeing it through. I would highly recommend any CEO to join the CEO XChange and look into the Advisory Board Council.”

For information about Outsource Equipment Company, please visit .

Quickease Mobile Detailing

Quickease Mobile Car Wash

Rapid growth often poses a challenge for a small business, particularly when it comes to finding the capital necessary to fund expansion efforts. For Harley Davey, owner and founder of Quickease Mobile Car Wash and Detailing, customer demand for his company’s services was quickly rising and he knew that augmenting his business with additional vehicles and personnel presented a major opportunity to increase revenues. To finance these critical resources, Davey turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance and he’s happy he did.

Serving the Greater Orlando area, Quickease Mobile Car Wash and Detailing is all about customer service and satisfaction. With an internally developed app for quick and easy online appointment booking and team members who come directly to the customer’s location at the client’s convenience, Quickease handles everything from quick cleanings to full detailing, all at reasonable prices. “We stand out above the competition,” Davey claims, “because we’re here to do great work while saving our customers as much time as possible. Our entire service is focused on convenience. It’s why we’ve become the highest rated mobile car wash and detailing company in our region.”

Quickease’s top-notch customer ratings have translated into a surge in demand for its services, so much so that the company was hard pressed to meet that growing need with the resources it had. “As with most small businesses, growth costs a lot of money and we are growing super rapidly,’” Davey explains. “We approached various organizations for help, the FSBDC being one of them. We asked for different options and some advice on how to get funding that would push us to or through our next phase of growth. Luckily, the FSBDC really connected with us and was able to point us in the right direction and give us a lot of super helpful advice that helped us get the funding we needed at the time we needed it.”

“My experience with the FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Davey recalls. Working with FSBDC consultant Margaret Incandela, Davey prepared a business plan and other mandatory materials needed for a competitive loan application package. “Maggie has been wonderful. She asked me a lot of questions about my business and gained a full understanding of what we do and what we want to do in the future. Then she explained how she and the FSBDC could help make those goals a reality. By the time we were ready to apply, we really had everything just right. At the same time, she also provided all sorts of resources and other connections that are of great benefit to our company,” Davey remarked.

In the end, Quickease was approved for the line of credit and vehicle loans Davey hoped to acquire. “Working with the FSBDC has helped our business in a number of ways,” Davey concludes. “We accessed the capital we needed and that allowed us to expand our service vehicle fleet by 60%. It also gave us the ability to hire on some additional team members who have been extremely helpful. The FSBDC has been nothing but supportive since Day One, and that has really helped with my confidence as a small business owner and my motivation to keep on pushing for more success.”

For information about Quickease Mobile Carwash, please visit .

Shadrach's Fiery Furnace Logo

Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace

Growth is almost always top of mind for small business owners. Ambitious and immersed in taking their businesses to the ‘next level’, their focus is locked on increased market share, greater revenues, expanded staffing and, most importantly, higher profits. Sarah Carney, Jack Carney and Nate Carney, the entrepreneurial, Millennial sibling team and founders and owners of Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace Pizza Company, were eager to take Shadrach’s to that “next level.” To make that happen, they turned for assistance to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace began ten years ago as a traveling operation serving wood-fired pizza at music festivals, art festivals, and catering events across the state of Florida. Today, it is much more, having expanded into a brick & mortar restaurant with a fun vibe and a fantastic patio space in Mt. Dora, FL. “We’re a family-run business,” Sarah Carney explained proudly, “we are three siblings devoted to making a great product and serving it to cool people.” “What makes us special is our dedication to quality food and the good people we surround ourselves with,” continued Jack Carney. “The people make the patio and that’s paramount to us,” Nate Carney says, finishing his brother’s sentence. “We are cool people doing hot *&#@!” summarized Sarah, with a smile.

“The FSBDC was recommended to us and what they can do for a business is exactly what I was looking for,” Sarah shared. “I needed tools, I needed resources, and I needed an adult in the room and that is what the SBDC has provided to us.”

“When we started our journey with the FSBDC and its no-cost consulting, we were struggling to build the infrastructure to take the next step in our business,” recalled Jack Carney. “What the counseling from our FSBDC consultant Monica Williams did was help us organize our thoughts, organize our plans and gain the tools we needed to grow into what we are now,” he continued.  “The FSBDC was especially instrumental to us through COVID by helping us to access and correctly apply for funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and then for forgiveness of the PPP Loan,” Sarah highlighted.

“We’re finally in the position where we have the opportunity for growth and now have the infrastructure to handle it,” remarked Nate Carney. Jack Carney went on to say that “since we started working with the FSBDC, we have opened our restaurant; we have expanded our mobile operation; we have extended our catering; we have more employees than we’ve ever had; and we’ve got a litany of other opportunities on the horizon.” Best of all, that growth has translated into terrific business results. “We’ve set back-to-back monthly sales records,” Jack reported. “And we’re finally in the black after years of work, for the first time ever.”

“If I had to describe the FSBDC in one word it would be ‘vital’,” concluded Nate. “Vital as a resource to small businesses that don’t have the tools to grow.” “Vital as an organization with cool people who want to help make their community better,” added Sarah. “And vital to us in our business by positioning us for the next step.”

For information about Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace Pizza Company, please visit

Trapline Pest Solutions

Trapline Pest Solutions

Starting and growing a new business can be dauting for even the most accomplished entrepreneurs and small business owners. The journey can sometimes feel isolating, with only a dream for the venture and one’s own persistence to rely upon. Gladys Salicrup, Owner of Orlando, Florida based Trapline Pest Solutions had a vision, a sense of determination, and more but it was her resourcefulness and willingness to seek help that made the difference when she found and became a client of the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Trapline Pest Solutions is a pest control firm that provides services in general household pest control, commercial pest control, pre-demolition inspections, termite treatments and wildlife nuisance removal. Trapline is a family-owned small business operating in Central Florida since 2005. With their trained and knowledgeable staff, they are committed to doing the job right the first time by providing their customers with the safest and most cost-effective treatments.

“Why should you trust Trapline?” asks Salicrup, “It’s simple, we genuinely care for our customers, and our goal here at Trapline is to build trust and to maintain long term positive customer relationships. We encourage feedback from our customers and respond to feedback as quickly as possible. Our customers have direct contact to the owner(s), we walk our customers through the process of the work to be performed from beginning to end, we would never sell them a service that they do not need. We take such great pride in our work, that we guarantee it!”

“I sought services from the FSBDC because starting and growing a business can be challenging if you don’t have the right people with the correct knowledge and expertise in place,” says Salicrup. “I was extremely impressed by the organization, the staff and the programs that FSBDC had to offer. If I could shout it out on the rooftops to all the entrepreneurs and small business owners out there on how the FSBDC helped paved the way to my business growth, I would! this organization is extremely valuable to have. There are not many places out there that would offer such superior programs and services as the FSBDC.”

“My journey with FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Salicrup continued. “Starting out, I didn’t know left from right. There was a wealth of information to learn about how to start and run a successful business.” Working with FSBDC consultants Jairo Batista and Pauline Davis, Salicrup received business assistance across a wide range of important levels of success, including but not limited to accounting, website analysis, HR compliance, taxes and licensing, creating a business plan, applying for SBA loans, staffing, paycheck protection program, ERC Tax Credit, and social media marketing.

Going a step further, the FSBDC enrolled Trapline in the FSBDC’s Small Business Institute® (SBI®) program which connects local small businesses to the resources and management expertise of UCF’s College of Business Administration and the FSBDC at UCF by offering confidential and professional management assistance to small businesses through consulting projects performed by UCF MBA students. “My SBI® team actually took a deep dive into my business and presented me with a plan for further growth in my business which I implemented with great results,” Salicrup recalls.

“Since I have been working with the FSBDC, Trapline has grown exponentially,” Salicrup shared proudly, “We have experienced an increase in revenues of approximately 45% because of the programs they introduced us to and by the improvements made to our digital marketing strategy that they suggested. If you are looking for an organization that you can trust to help you start and grow your business, then the FSBDC is there for you to back you up and support you in achieving your goals!”

For information about Trapline Pest Solutions, please visit .

Messina and Associates

Messina & Associates

The motivations behind entrepreneurship can come in many forms. Inventing a new product or service, identifying an unmet customer need or deciding they can deliver results for clients superior to those of their current employer are just a few examples of the drivers behind new business creation. In the case of Victoria Messina, founder and President of Messina & Associates, a wastewater treatment solutions firm, the entrepreneur in her saw ways to serve customers better than the companies she had worked for during her career and decided to strike out on her own, turning to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County for assistance.

Messina & Associates provides wastewater treatment systems and products to contractors, municipalities and builders throughout Florida and the Caribbean. It sets itself apart from its competition by offering customized service to every client. “I personally take time to understand the customer’s requirements,” says Messina. “We listen, provide thoughtful feedback, and interpret the customer’s needs. Then we offer site-specific designs and solutions. It is one of the things I enjoy most about my job: providing solutions for customers who maybe thought there wasn’t one available.” The company also supplies products that are hard to come by. “We stock a lot of specialty products; our customers appreciate the short lead times and prompt service we offer,” she added.

“I originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC because I knew that there were items I needed to learn but didn’t know,” Messina recalls. “In essence, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’d been in business for a long time but not personally as owner and I wanted to know what the parameters were for success and needed assurance that I was headed down the right path.” Fortunately, Messina found what she was looking for in the no-cost, expert consulting; business training and seminars; and access to market data she found at the FSBDC.

“My experience with the FSBDC has been fantastic,” Messina says today. “I really enjoyed working with John Doramus (FSBDC consultant in Lake County). I attribute a lot of my success to his assistance. I can’t say enough about his willingness to help me with anything and everything that I asked for. I took classes and went to seminars on doing business with the government that were incredibly valuable.” Doramus and the FSBDC also aided in finding, evaluating and securing financing for the company’s current facility in Tavares, FL.

“Since I started working with the FSBDC, we have seen growth in our business of at least 25 – 30 percent,” Messina concluded. “I would describe the experience of working with the FSBDC as nothing short of miraculous. It was an incredible resource. To be honest with you, I don’t even know how I found out about the FSBDC but I sure am glad I did. As a small business owner and an entrepreneur, I would highly recommend them to anyone.”

For information about Messina & Associates, please visit

Baby Fairy Tale

Baby Fairy Tale

Doing anything for the first time can be challenging and, for a small business owner who has her or his company’s future on the line – navigating new possibilities for expansion is no exception. For Diana and Tim Willis, owners of Baby Fairy Tale – a unique mother-to-be ultrasound video studio that captures enchanting, magical pre-birth baby moments in 3D/4D/HDLive – there were growth opportunities in unfamiliar territory before them, so they called upon the Florida Small Business Development Center at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Baby Fairy Tale is an ultrasound clinic specializing in recording magical moments for the expecting mother and her loved ones. Beyond being a wonderful and unique way to make memories, what makes Baby Fairy Tale exceptional is its offer of a spacious theatre setting in which the mother-to-be and her family and friends can experience a remarkable and special moment. “Everybody leaves Baby Fairy Tale happy,” says Diana Willis proudly.

Customers have been flocking to Baby Fairy Tale and the Willises saw opportunity in expanding to a second location. “But how do we do that?,” they asked themselves. Their search for assistance led them to the FSBDC. “I had heard of the FSBDC but wasn’t sure what they did,” recalls Tim Willis. “So, I looked them up and got in contact with Robin Braswell (EFSC sub-center Director and FSBDC consultant),” he went on. Braswell described the FSBDC’s services: no-cost, expert consulting; business training seminars and webinars; and access to expansive market research and databases. “She’d send me emails about the different programs and projects that the FSBDC was doing around here,” Tim says, and it piqued his interest.

“We got more involved with the FSBDC when we decided to purchase a piece of property for a second location,” Tim Willis continued. “I contacted Robin and she immediately started sending me resources and recommendations. She connected me with an SBDC consultant who is an expert in capital access and loans, Maggie Incandela. She helped me write a business plan for Baby Fairy Tale and that business plan helped us to acquire a loan to buy the property for our second location.”

“It’s been wonderful working the FSBDC,” Willis shared. “Whenever I have a question or thought or doubt, I would write Robin and she would either answer that question, direct me to the right person or resource, or give me ideas. The other thing that’s really cool about working with the SBDC is they have meetings, like a lender’s panel, and different seminars that are super informative and helpful to grow your knowledge as a business owner.”

“The FSBDC has been very helpful” Willis concludes. “Since we started working with them, we’ve done a lot of things; the big one is starting to open a second location — getting the loan, buying the property and working on it. We’ve hired a second employee and now we’ve started on getting a loan for a second ultrasound machine. I would recommend the FSBDC to any business. I mean, why not? To get some free help, that’s awesome.”

For information about Baby Fairytale, please visit .