Absolute Powder Coating

As a young widow, Audra Mitchell was determined to provide for her son in a business that would keep her close to home. She entered a traditionally-male sector after intensive research to determine what the local metal fabrication firms needed. What they needed, it turned out, was a source for powder coating, a durable and non-polluting metal finishing process.

Less than a year after starting Absolute Powder Coating in her rural Elk County barn, Mitchell needed a larger building, more equipment, and a new site to accommodate the demand for her firm's services. To be considered for a loan, she needed a business plan. The bankers referred her to the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance.

A consultant from the Clarion SBDC met her new client at an SBDC outreach office in Ridgway. The consultant worked closely with Mitchell to assemble the financial and market information that bankers use to assess loan applications.

One month after her initial contact with the SBDC, Mitchell's loan package of $300,000 was approved. Before the end of the year, Absolute Powder Coating was able to construct a building in an industrial park and open its new shop.

Mitchell found her first customers by knocking on doors. Now clients from across the country find Absolute Powder via the Internet. Auto parts account for the bulk of Absolute Powder Coating's business, but the firm also coats everything from outdoor furniture to electricity boxes and factory stairways.“The SBDC is a highly effective program,” said Mitchell. “They're there to help businesses grow. With their support, I've expanded my business, increased sales and staff and now export our services all over the country.”

"The SBDC is a highly effective program. With their support, I've expanded my business, increased sales and staff and now export our services all over the country."

– Audra Mitchell
Absolute Powder Coating