Saint Francis Small Business Development Center client, Julie, sitting on wooden block in her fitness business

JP Nutrition & Fitness

Saint Francis Small Business Development Center client, Julie, sitting on wooden block in her fitness business

Saint Franics University SBDC Client Success Story
Getting Fit for Business

Health and fitness have always been a part of Julie Patula’s life. She started out as an avid runner, then progressed into weight training which is where her passion and fitness goals flourished. She always enjoyed nutritious foods, and it was a priority to stay physically fit. However, she didn’t always accomplish this goal in the right way. She went through periods of her life where she fell into the fad diets and gimmicks like many people do. Julie quickly realized fad diets are NOT sustainable and eventually everyone will fail on them.

After several years of contemplation, in 2016 she forced herself to compete in her first physique competition. Julie knew she would need help with her nutrition in order to compete and reach her goals in a healthy manner. This is when Julie met Dr. Todd Miller and Registered Dietitian, Stephanie Mull, creators of “Metabolism Based Eating” – a meeting which forever changed her relationship with food and fitness. Using their methods, Julie was able to go above and beyond her physique goals. She continues to utilize and believe wholeheartedly in this life altering, and more importantly, SUSTAINABLE way of life. So much so, that she decided to start her own business as a Metabolism Based Eating Coach. She uses their science to power JP Nutrition & Fitness.

Her plans were slightly delayed due to the Covid pandemic, but in the fall of 2020, Julie decided to start planning for starting her business the following year. Julie knew the health and fitness industry, but she wasn’t sure about how to go about starting a business. She contacted the Saint Francis University SBDC on a referral from Blake Fleegle, the Startup Alleghenies Entrepreneur Coach.

“Terry Anderson is being extremely helpful. We are working together to get my business up and running and I am thankful to have someone to help me.”

Julie spoke with Terry Anderson, the SBDC’s Covid-19 Business Consultant. Terry worked with Julie on getting her business registration filed, developing a business plan and financial projections, conducting industry research, and discussed marketing strategy and pricing strategy. Terry referred Julie back to Blake to apply for the Startup Alleghenies Marketing Grant.

Julie informed the SBDC she was successful in starting her business. She invested $7,000 of her own money into the business for equipment and other startup costs and was awarded $3,500 through the Startup Alleghenies Marketing Grant. She used the grant to work with a Marketing Consulting company who revamped her website and is assisting her with her social media and other digital marketing. Julie expressed her thanks for the assistance stating how helpful the Center was to work with.

JP Nutrition & Fitness focuses on preventing what’s called metabolic adaptation by gearing your weight management goals to your measured metabolism. Metabolic adaptation is the abnormal slowing of the metabolism while in a calorie deficit and happens when one eats too few calories to sustain their body. JP Nutrition & Fitness creates a personalized dietary plan tailored to YOUR body, following scientifically proven research, for sustainable results. And then, coaches and supports you along the way to make sure you reach your goals.

Saint Francis Small Business Development Center client, Dr. Peggy Steinbrunner standing in front of green leaves

Horizon Behavioral Health, PLLC

Saint Francis Small Business Development Center client, Dr. Peggy Steinbrunner standing in front of green leaves

Saint Franics University SBDC Client Success Story
Horizon Behavioral Health, PLLC
Boosts Online Presence

Dr. Peggy V. Steinbrunner, PsyD is a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner of Horizon Behavioral Health, PLLC. She is also an Active Duty Veteran and serves in the PA Army National Guard. Throughout her career, she has been passionate about providing exceptional, understanding care to an expansive patient population and has practiced in a variety of locations, including Maryland, West Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Initially, she provided patient care primarily through telehealth and is now providing additional, in-person care at her new office location in Everett.

“The quality of services I received with SBDC was phenomenal!”

Seeking assistance with business planning and supplemental financing, Dr. Steinbrunner contacted the Small Business Development Center. The Center assisted with developing a comprehensive business plan, as well as formulating financial projections to ensure feasibility and business growth. In collaboration with Startup Alleghenies and Somerset Trust, she received additional funding to help cover office renovations and other business-related expenses.

Following the preliminary planning phase, Dr. Steinbrunner also received assistance with growing her online presence, developing marketing and branding materials, and optimizing the digital operations of her practice. The Center designed a new website with booking capabilities, a refined brand identity, and supportive marketing materials. These marketing assets contributed to cultivating relationships with new patients and maintaining existing connections. Additionally, her practice became listed on online directories, and the Center helped with deploying and migrating to new online productivity solutions, as well as provided general technical support and training along the way.

The Center continues to assist Dr. Steinbrunner with digital marketing optimization and technical support as her practice continues to grow. Her office now has three full-time employees, one intern, and four contracted providers. Through continued marketing and technology assistance, the Center aims to help Dr. Steinbrunner’s operations achieve long-term sustainability and success well into the future.

Two women standing in front of Great Day Juice Company sign

Great Day Juice Company

Two women standing in front of Great Day Juice Company sign

Saint Franics University SBDC Client Success Story
Great Day Juice Company Open for Business

Michele Rhodes had a passion for clean, healthy living and was ready to share her knowledge and experience with those around her and the community. Michele started her journey with a change in her lifestyle; she was beginning to be physically and mentally drained leading, her to search for something new. With the help of her family and friends, she became interested in living a more natural way of life. She started to research and study the foods consumed every day and realized there was a need for a business offering healthier alternatives.

Michele decided she wanted to open her own building and incorporate her healthy eating knowledge as well. She approached the local bank for financing and they put her in touch with Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center for assistance in developing a business proposal.

Mrs. Rhodes contacted the SBDC in November of 2020 and started the journey to establish Great Day Juice Company. The plan was to open a store front and offer delicious, yet healthy items: in-house cold pressed juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls, detox waters, and many other fresh, healthy to-go snacks.

“Thanks to the SBDC I was able to start my own business.”

Michele met with an SBDC consultant to assist her in the evaluation and feasibility of her dream. She had the location, the knowledge and experience of operating the business but needed to look at the business proposal. The business proposal and projections started to take shape, along with the marketing logo and menu with assistance from the Center.

Great Day Juice Company’s business proposal was completed and Michele contacted the various lenders and economic development agencies to assist in the funding for the project. The funding was approved for the necessary renovations to the building, the equipment, supplies and working capital.

In July 2021, in the midst of the Pandemic, Michele launched her business, offering everything dairy-free, substituted with oat and nut milks. The business is take-out and will be open year-round. To date, she has sold out of the juices on a daily basis and has a contract with a local company to provide her product to the organization on a regular basis to support a healthier workforce. Michele’s objective to open a grab-and-go healthy shop has been fulfilled and rewarding.

Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery logo placed on top of an background image with purple grapes

Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery

Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery logo placed on top of an background image with purple grapes
PennWest Clarion SBDC Client Success Story
Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery adapts to combat COVID-19

Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery was founded in 2005. It is a family owned business located in Curwensville, Pennsylvania. The winery offers a wide variety of handcrafted wines and fermented fruit beverages. Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery’s products can also be found at surrounding grocery stores including Walmart and Giant Eagle; as well as restaurants, Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, convenience stores, and other places alcoholic beverages are sold. Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery has been in contact with the PennWest Clarion SBDC since their inception, but reached out at the beginning of the pandemic for assistance in multiple areas including: COVID-19 relief, Human Resources, and Marketing & Advertising.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic many businesses adapted to create new products and new ways of operating. Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery was no exception with the launch of their new product: BUMBERSHOOT®. With the help of the PennWest Clarion SBDC, Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery was able to effectively market and advertise their new product, BUMBERSHOOT®, which was created during the pandemic. This new product allowed Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery to enter the new market of selling beverages to beer distributors. BUMBERSHOOT® is a handcrafted fermented fruit beverage available in four flavors: raspberry, apple, blackberry, and peach raspberry.

The PennWest Clarion SBDC also assisted Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery through a partnership with the PennWest University marketing department on their student led marketing projects. The students were tasked with creating a marketing plan for Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery with the help of the SBDC and any resources or services offered. Furthermore, the PennWest Clarion SBDC aided Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery with updating their employee handbook and adapting it to include all COVID-19 safety precautions and protocols. The SBDC provided Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery with information about the COVID-19 CARES Act programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The SBDC assisted Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery with applying for this program and answered questions throughout the application process. Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery received funds from the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program for the amount of $70,000 and $82,000 from the second round PPP. With the assistance of the PennWest Clarion SBDC, Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery has been surviving the pandemic and has saved 3 full-time positions and 23 part-time positions.

Lost in the Wilds Brewing wooden sign

Lost In The Wilds Brewing

Lost in the Wilds Brewing wooden sign

PennWest Clarion SBDC Client Success Story
Brewing Up Success Amid Covid-19

Mallory and Jarod Griebel, owners of Lost in the Wilds Brewing (LITWB), started casually developing their own signature beers since 2013. With great success creating their own brews, they decided to start the process of opening their own business in the local, rural area of Shippenville, PA. Their intent was to find a location to take advantage of all the tourists on their way to Cooks Forrest State Park, Not only is their brewery location off Route 66-key route off I-80 to Cooks Forrest State Park, but is connected to Route 66 Bike Trail that extends from Shippenville to Marienville.

Mallory Griebel started attending PennWest Clarion SBDC seminars in 2018 to educate herself on some of the prerequisites required to start a business. Mallory and Jarod worked with the SBDC, to develop a comprehensive business plan that was utilized to produce the starting capital. Additionally, training education in QuickBooks, record-keeping and taxes was obtained through SBDC.

Construction was finished in 2020 but the soft opening date of March 13th was delayed due to Covid-19. On May 8th they officially opened for take-out because of the restrictions set in place by the state. Even with the challenge of opening in the midst of a pandemic and customers not being allowed to sample their brews, LITWB saw great success. Mallory and Jared struggled to maintain an inventory to meet demand. Finally, in June 2020, LITWB was able to welcome the public into their newly constructed brewery with capacity restrictions. LITWB brought in food vendors on weekends, to enhance their offerings since they do not serve meals.

LITWB employs two full time and three part time employees. Jobs are also created by LITWB by their use of independent food vendors. LITWB acquired the capital to open a new brewery that serves area residents, bicyclists on the bike trail and tourists to the area.

Starting Lost in the Wilds Brewery has changed the lives of both the owners. Opening their own brewery was a dream they had for a longtime. Currently, Mallory is full time at the brewery while Jarod is employed elsewhere and working nights and weekends at LITWB on production and expanding the business. One of the first points of business for the Griebel’s was to be entwined with their community. They look to give back to local non-profit organizations and are involved in promoting local business in the area on their Social Media pages. Without the SBDC, Lost in the Wilds Brewing would not have had the expertise gained from the various emails, meetings, and seminars provided by the SBDC. They also would not have had a business plan to clearly layout their business model to obtain capital.

Sligo Spa grand opening and ribbon cutting

Sligo Spa

PennWest Clarion SBDC Client Success Story

Over the past year, people have learned to take care of themselves, which often times includes a little pampering. A new business in Sligo, Pennsylvania is here to help individuals do just that. Katie Elder, originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, relocated to the town of Sligo in Clarion County in 2006 when she married her husband, Kevin. Over the years, they spent time in both Sligo and Erie. In 2017, Katie obtained her state license in aesthetics and nail care. She also obtained her state license to teach these subjects.

When she and her husband officially settled in Sligo, Katie had plans to open her own spa. Katie attended a First Step webinar offered by the PennWest Clarion SBDC in the beginning of 2021. After the webinar, she worked one-on-one with a consultant to address her questions regarding the various licenses that she would need to obtain to be properly registered to conduct business in Pennsylvania. While Katie was taking care of all the behind-the-scenes work, her husband was remodeling the front of their home to create the space for the spa.

Sligo Spa by Katie Elder, LLC opened to the public on March 25, 2021. Social media marketing and word-of-mouth referrals had Katie booking clients three weeks in advance within the first month of operation. On April 19, 2021, Katie Elder celebrated the opening of her spa with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Services provided at the spa include lash extensions, lash lifts and tints, facials, chemical peels and waxing. All services are provided by appointment. Client can make appointments via phone, social media or the business’s website.

Sligo Spa logo

G.S. Woods, owner of Financial Solutions, in front of his business

G.S. Woods Financial Solutions

G.S. Woods, owner of G.S. Woods Financial Solutions, working at his desk

Bucknell University SBDC Client Success Story

From a very young age, Graeme Woods knew that he wanted to start and be successful in a company of his own. When he was young, he would spend hours in the library reading book after book on how to launch a business. Today, Graeme lives his dream as the founder and President of G.S. Woods Financial Solutions LLC.

Graeme is a Veteran, having served in the Army as a Civil Affairs Sergeant, linguist, and parachutist. He was deployed in Bosnia from 2003 to 2004, where he helped local farmers develop strategies to compete in international markets. During his service, he drove over 500 hours in a combat zone with no incidents, earning the Army’s “Driver and Mechanic” badge.

Following his service to our country, Graeme endeavored to start a company with the goal of helping individuals plan for the future and live better, more prosperous lives. After seeing the market crash in 2008, Graeme knew that people needed help setting financial goals and achieving them.

After learning of the services of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bucknell University, Graeme sought out assistance in developing a targeted plan for growing his business as well as developing a strategic marketing plan. The SBDC aided him with industry research and provided recommendations about social media marketing.

With the help of the SBDC, G.S. Woods Financial Solutions has grown to new heights. G.S. Woods recently expanded by hiring a marketing and communications associate who helped in the creation of a brand new and improved company website. With a revolutionized marketing strategy, Graeme has been able to reach more customers and provide them with the high-quality financial planning assistance that they want, need, and deserve.

G.S. Woods Financial Solutions logo

girl standing in a stone archway


girl standing in a stone archway

Bucknell University SBDC Client Success Story
Rosenberg 2019 BizPitch Winner Designs Product to Help Visually Impaired

Growing up, Rebecca Rosenberg always had her nose in a book — but not because she loved to read. That’s how close her eyes needed to be to see the words in her elementary school textbooks.

As an infant, Rosenberg was diagnosed with oculocutaneous albinism, a genetic condition that causes involuntary eye movements and reduced sharpness. It’s an impairment that glasses don’t completely correct and that the majority of vision assistance technologies don’t address.

“On one end of the spectrum are people who are blind or nearly blind, and on the other are people who just need glasses. But there’s this whole section of people in the middle who still need help even with glasses,” says the biomedical engineering major, who holds her phone inches from her nose just to read text messages.

Rosenberg knew there had to be a solution for people with vision problems like hers. So she designed ReBokeh, a vision assistance system for smartphones that won first place in this year’s BizPitch competition. The Shark Tank style event, sponsored by Bucknell’s Small Business Development Center, awards students with funding to launch their own enterprises.

ReBokeh combines an image adjustment app and external lenses to turn smartphones into vision assistance tools. The app will allow the user to make adjustments to a live image and save those settings for future use. Attachable lenses streamline the smartphone’s camera capabilities to enhance image quality.

“I was thinking, ‘What fits into people’s lives already that can be leveraged to help them?’ Well, the smartphone in your pocket is a powerful little thing,” Rosenberg says. “That’s what I was going for with ReBokeh — sleek, affordable and streamlined.”

Rosenberg was in high school when she noticed the need for simple solutions for the visually impaired. Most of the tools she’d been offered growing up — bulky document cameras and screen readers — catered to people who were nearly blind. None of them were conducive to a classroom environment.

“I just kept waiting for the technology to get better and to be offered something that was actually going to help me,” says the New Jersey native. “For several years, I sat on the thought that there was this gap where something could be done.”

At Bucknell, Rosenberg found the resources to act. At the end of her junior year, she received the Reed-Garman Award for Engineering Entrepreneurship. The monetary award provides students with funding to develop entrepreneurial projects the summer between their junior and senior year.

From June to August, Rosenberg partnered with faculty and the Small Business Development Center to create a full mock-up for the ReBokeh app and prototype an attachment system for a camera lens. When her mentors recognized the novelty of the product and the power of her story, they encouraged Rosenberg to submit the idea to BizPitch.

“I was shocked to win,” she says. “BizPitch was something that I had watched happen from the time I was a first-year. To be sitting there as a senior having started my own company was almost like an out-of-body experience.”

For her innovative design, Rosenberg won $3,000 to invest in ReBokeh. She plans to use the money to develop the software for the app component. She’s also taking steps to patent the attachment system she created and is seeking out manufacturers to produce the lenses.

This will all take time, more time than the biomedical engineer has in her last year at Bucknell. “But this whole experience has made me feel like I’ve found what I’m supposed to do moving forward,” Rosenberg says. “That’s to create a world where everyone can simply see.”

image of Dr. Noel Ramirez, owner of Mango Tree Counseling and Consulting

Mango Tree Counseling & Consulting

Widener University SBDC Client Success Story
Meeting the Moment: Preparing for Growth

Dr. Noel Ramirez is the proud owner of Mango Tree Counseling and Consulting LLC which is a mental health resource center that centers its efforts on the needs of the Asian-American Community in the Philadelphia Metro area and state of PA. He started his business in an effort to break barriers between the Asian-American community and the benefits of counseling. From the beginning his goal has been to provide his services to as many people as he can at an affordable price. His core values, which are the bed rock of his practice, are belonging, community, honor, and access.

When the pandemic hit, Noel was forced to transition into a virtual counseling business. He found the transition difficult but worth it if it meant he was able to uphold his commitment to supporting the Asian-American community. For his commitment to the community and excellent service, Dr. Ramirez was awarded a grant from Rise Up Philly/Comcast. With this prestigious prize came a new opportunity to grow his company and further service the backlog of clients he had been dealing with up until that point. This is where Noel engaged with the Widener University SBDC.

After attending the SBDC’s Mighty Value Proposition event in December of 2020, held in conjunction with the Diverse Chambers of Philadelphia, Noel was introduced to the team at Widener University SBDC. It quickly became apparent that because of Noel’s commitment, passion, and spirit his practice was poised to launch into the next level of success. His operations were longing to begin servicing a much larger clientele within the Philadelphia community well beyond his current operations. However, with this new growth opportunity, came challenges related to staffing, maintaining his core values, and navigating his finances. In a coordinated effort, Noel and Widener University SBDC began planning on a way to meet the moment and capitalize on this growth opportunity.

For help with his finances Noel, was connected with the Widener University SBDC Capital Acquisition Consultant who helped Noel get a clear understanding on his practice’s cash inflows and outflows. They looked at the costs associated with bringing on new team members, and how much work he’d need to sustain his efforts. In addition, Noel was also placed in the Widener University Management 451 course. As part of this course he was paired with a team of 7 seniors studying business. This team of future professionals put together a researched growth plan for Noel, with instructions on how he can use his team, develop new processes, secure a sustainable future, and better engage with new and potential clients all for the success of his business. Since working with the SBDC Noel has been able to bring on additional employees and plans to continue using all the resources and in-formation he’s received to continue his superb service to the Philadelphia Asian-American community.

Mango Tree Counseling & Consulting

CEO Saskia Foley of Radius Corporation with their sustainable toothbrushes

Radius Corporation

Kutztown University SBDC Client Success Story
SBA Eastern Pennsylvania’s 2020 Exporter of the Year

Kutztown, Pa.– The U.S. Small Business Administration announces RADIUS Corporation in Kutztown is the Eastern Pennsylvania Exporter of the Year for 2020. 

Radius was established in 1983 by Kevin Foley, an architect who had the idea to take a mundane product – a toothbrush – and revolutionize it to be simply put, better by design: better quality, better looking, better for the environment, and deliver better results. In 2011, his daughter Saskia Foley became the CEO, and in 2014 assumed the role of President, making RADIUS a certified women-owned enterprise.

CEO Saskia Foley of Radius Corporation with their sustainable toothbrushesRADIUS innovates, designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty toothbrushes and USDA organic-certified toothpastes for adults and children, and complementary products such as travel cases and dental floss. With a world-wide target market of highly educated and high disposable income consumers, RADIUS customers expect their products to be on the cutting edge of design. Famous customers include Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Martha Stewart, and Kourtney Kardashian. In 2018 the company expanded and moved its operations and manufacturing to a restored silk mill in Kutztown where they have their own injection molding and bristling machines. Today they have expanded their products to include organic pet dental care.

Exporting comprises about 40% of RADIUS’s sales and over 50% of corporate profits. Exports are an essential element of their core business, growth strategy, profitability, and corporate expansion. Major export markets are South Korea, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Canada. RADIUS is taking advantage of opportunities to expand sales into Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and other Persian Gulf counties.

“It’s a privilege to recognize the achievements of women-owned and second-generation owned Pennsylvania small businesses like RADIUS Corporation. Exporting allows RADIUS to pursue an additional source of revenue and profits,” said Steve Dixel, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Director. “Export sales translate into more job creation and more regional employment opportunities to serve the rural region surrounding Kutztown. SBA and our resource partner Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are proud to play a role in helping them grow internationally and succeed.”

As a manufacturer of a premium, niche product in a small town, RADIUS must remain lean, innovative, and creative to build new and profitable exports. They maintain active digital and social media platforms, an aggressive sales lead and follow-up effort, and constantly review to lower shipping costs. Careful selection of the right exclusive distributor based on their marketing plan, reputation, customer relations, and quality of communications is RADIUS’ key to bulk sales and its future to export growth in the Pacific Rim, European Union, and the Persian Gulf.