Cathy Parsons, owner of Best Vacations, a full-service travel agency that is family owned and operated in North East, came to the library's Small Business Information Center to seek assistance with expanding her business. Cathy had been running a successful home-based travel business and wanted to research the possibility of a storefront location. The librarian discussed the need for a plan of action with goals and measurable objectives to provide a roadmap for her dream of a storefront location in North East. Together, they performed a market analysis and researched local competitors in the area. Cathy said that the Small Business Information Center allowed her to see "the importance of a bigger picture and that taking baby steps to achieve your ultimate dream is okay."
Best Vacations is now located at 29 S. Main Street in North East, Maryland. They can assist you with destination weddings, honeymoons, international and domestic group travel, girls' getaways, or just a fun family vacation. You name it and they can customize it! Store hours vary based on season. They can be reached at 410-287-0193 or at www.BestVacationsLLC.com
Katelyn Thomas, owner of Katelyn Thomas Photography in Port Deposit, used the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center to start her business. She describes how the SBIC helped transition her from aspiring entrepreneur to local business owner.
"I was able to use the FAQ for Starting a Small Business in Cecil County to make sure I didn't miss any important steps in setting up my business. I also talked to the business librarian to make sure I had taken all the necessary steps. In addition, I was able to use information from the library's small business website, such as Demographics Now and the sample business plans, to help me create my own business plan and perform basic demographic research. A program the SBIC held on email basics for small businesses helped me jump start my business mailing list."
Cristy Galasso believes in budgeting, especially when it comes to outfitting her three boys. As a life-long Cecil County resident, Cristy found herself going to Delaware for children's consignment sales. These sales were very popular and she recognized many fellow Cecil County residents attending. It hit her that she should create consignment events in Cecil County, and so she ventured into the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library to learn how to bring this idea to fruition. Cristy states that "the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library was instrumental in the start of my business. It has a host of resources for potential business owners to research, plan, start, and manage their business. They provide assistance in every aspect of starting a business and deserve a lot of credit."
Cristy's business, As They Grow Kids Consignment, LLC, can be found at www.astheygrowkids.com. They offer new and gently used baby, children and maternity items at a fraction of the retail price. Their first sale will be at the Route 40 Knights of Columbus Hall, March 15-17.
Handy Boys Cleaning Service, LLC
Buryl Windle had a dream to open his own small business and employ local Cecil County residents. He found out about the Small Business Information Center through a contact at the Small Business Development Center. Buryl had the dream, but needed to learn the steps necessary to start the business. With the help of the Small Business Librarian, Buryl used the Key Steps Brochure from the Cecil County Public Library to fill out the necessary forms and start his business. Buryl also shared the unfortunate story of his disability with the librarian. She was able to get him in touch with the Department of Rehabilitation Services' RISE program and Buryl is currently in the processing of seeking grant money from them to purchase 3 vans for his business and they have provided him with a mentor. Buryl described the Small Business Information Center as giving him "everything needed to get this thing going!" Buryl has since hired 5 employees and is looking to hire even more in the near future.
Buryl Windle owns Handy Boys Cleaning Service LLC and provides commercial and residential cleaning services, specializing in stripping and waxing floors. Other services provided include: shampooing carpets, steam cleaning, and commercial kitchen cleaning. No job is too big or too small. Handy Boys Cleaning Service LLC is licensed, bonded, and insured and provides free estimates. They can be reached at 443-224-5250 or 410-658-3278.
Cecil County Public Library Wins Chamber of Commerce Awards
The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce named Cecil County Public Library the 2011 Nonprofit Partner in Business at its annual gala. The Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors selected Cecil County Public Library for their outstanding work to support small business in Cecil County, assist job seekers and career changers, and to foster educational opportunities for all ages.
The Palette and the Page, LLC
"The small business Librarian, Laura Metzler, has been a huge help and a wonderful cheerleader for our small business, The Palette & The Page, LLC in downtown Elkton. She met with us at the very beginning of our operation in November of 2009 and has guided us along the way ever since. At our first meeting we learned about various websites, she recommended several books and told us about the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) and SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives.) Since then we have used her vast knowledge, the latest being when we decided to become a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in January of 2011. Laura has also been kind enough to send us to knowledgeable people to answer our varied questions. She is a valuable resource for small business owners in Cecil County.
We initially opened in November 2009 to see if we could make it as an Artist Cooperative in Elkton. Every month we saw increased sales, new customers coming in, and more and more local artists interested in showing their work with us. In December of 2010 we decided it was time to take the plunge and become an LLC. Even though we had to change our name at that time to "The Palette & The Page," becoming an LLC just strengthened us, increased our presence in the community and legitimized us as a small business in Cecil County. We continue to see growth each month and now represent fourteen artists in our Co-Op. We offer various options to artists for showing their work and are pleased with the interest our business is generating in the community.
One of the more important workshops we went to at the Elkton Library was the one on email marketing. We now have over 200 people on our email list and send out three newsletters each month. It has been an extremely affordable and valuable marketing tool for us.
As a business, we have regular First Friday events in downtown Elkton and have gotten other artist venues and business to join with us in these. We always have food and live music at these events and now attract a regular following of people who also bring friends with them when they attend. Our goals for the Cecil County community are many: to support local artists, the arts, and to provide a place for people to connect with local artists and find unique, handmade artistic items for themselves and as gifts for family and friends.
We have been so lucky to have gotten great support from the local newspapers and the Elkton Alliance as well as the Cecil County Library.
The Palette & The Page, LLC is an artist co-op owned by six women. We support local artists and handcraft's persons from the tri-state area, but mostly from Cecil County. If you'd like more information about us please visit our website www.thepaletteandthepage.com. You can sign up there to be on our email list. We'd love to have you visit us at our storefront at 120 East Main Street in Elkton. Our hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am to 5pm, Saturday 11am to 3pm and on First Friday's we stay open until 8pm. The phone number we can be reached at is 410.398.3636."
Patti Paulus, Founding Member of The Palette and the Page, LLC
Professional graphic designer, Sandy Scott, found out about the Small Business Information Center at the library via doing a Google search.
"My experience has been wonderful! By asking me direct questions about my business, the small business librarian was able to compile lots of relevant resource materials and weblinks. Working with the librarian has been like having a personal research assistant. Her efforts have been thorough and extremely valuable."
"Particularly, just learning about all the resources available was a great help. One of the books loaned to me by the business librarian was a business tax guide. I found it so helpful that I purchased a copy for my personal library. In addition, it was interesting to learn about competitors in the area and making sure my business name was not already in use."
Scott Design's primary focus is developing logos and business marketing material for print. Sandy targets her services toward emerging and small businesses in Cecil County, MD and New Castle County, DE. To view samples of Sandra's work or if you are interested in contacting her for possible services, please visit her website: www.sandyscottdesign.com or her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/scottdesignfan.
Capello Confections & Gifts
Joanne Capello had an unbelievable family recipe and a dream to open her own bakery. She came to the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library to learn how she could turn her family's recipe into a thriving Cecil County business.
With the help of the small business librarian, Joanne formulated a plan of action to open her bakery in historic Port Deposit, Maryland. Writing a business plan helped Joanne to set objectives to reach her goals. The library's free databases allowed Joanne to research her competitors. This information allowed her to analyze her competition and narrow down her target market. The small business databases proved to be a valuable tool for researching demographic information as well. Joanne was able to find out how much people in Port Deposit were spending on various bakery items in a given year. With the information garnered at the library, Joanne was ready to start her business.
Today, Joanne is the proud owner of Capello Confections & Gifts. She sells homemade scones, bisconnes (a combination of a scone and a biscotti), cookies, eclairs, pies, cakes, and much more. She is also available for in-home tea parties. You can find more information about her tea parties and her bakery at www.capelloconfections.com or by phone at 410-378-0808. Her bakery is located at 14 South Main Street, Port Deposit.
Charlotte Jones is an innovative entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, and creative assistance to clients from home. After completing the necessary courses to become a virtual assistant, Charlotte visited the Small Business Information Center to learn how to effectively market her new business.
At the Small Business Information Center, Charlotte learned the importance of a feasibility study. The Small Business librarian worked with Charlotte to discover the types of industries that would need a virtual assistant and how to target those industries. The librarian demonstrated how to create free professional business cards online and identified both online and print resources that would help Charlotte create a marketing plan.
Charlotte credits the Small Business Information Center in helping her to "think outside the box." If you are interested in inquiring about Charlotte's virtual assistant business, The Assistants, please call 410-642-9276.
Fringe Salon and Spa
Ann Hovatter's dream to open a hair salon is now a reality. The grand opening of Fringe Salon and Spa, LLC in Rising Sun was December 5, 2009. The success of the opening and the great location and decor of the salon proves that Ann did her homework before opening her own small business.
While in the planning stages, Ann came to the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center for guidance and information that she would need to be her own boss. The library provided Ann with a brochure that explains all the steps necessary to start a business in Cecil County. Because the process of small business ownership was new to Ann, this brochure was a great place for her to create a checklist and make sure that she followed all the appropriate steps. The librarian showed her the many small business resources available from the library. She also attended a free business program at the library that explained how small businesses can successfully use social media to gain loyal customers. Ann states that "without the help of the library, I could not have pulled this off so quickly - the resources were great! I just took them and ran like the wind!"
Fringe Hair Salon and Spa, LLC is located at 225 East Main Street in Rising Sun. To make an appointment with the salon and spa, call 410-658-7575.
Small Business Success Video
Click play to watch a video showcasing a Small Business Success story about Wyre Naturals, a local company that makes beautiful, handmade soaps.
We are very excited to present another success story from the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center. Veronica Wyre, owner of Wyre Naturals, is a small business owner who lives, gardens and handcrafts natural soaps and products in Cecil County.
Veronica began making soap as a little girl, taught by her grandmother. As an adult, she made soap for her own family and soon, the requests for her gentle and lovely products became more and more frequent. Soap making was a hobby she enjoyed, so Veronica decided to see if she could turn it into a profitable venture. She was also committed to creating a small business that was "green" and chose to embrace earth-friendly practices for her products and work.
The soaps produced by Wyre Naturals are made from natural, wild harvested and organic materials, all hand-crafted using carefully researched recipes of her own creation. Many of her products are created fresh when you order, using botanicals she grows or acquires seasonally from local gardeners and growers. As a commitment to providing her customers with the safest and most natural products, Veronica chooses organic ingredients whenever possible.
Veronica came to the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center to get help starting and growing her business. Veronica met with the Small Business Librarian many times to discuss her business ideas, legal aspects of small business ownership, as well as marketing, branding growth and more.
Veronica currently sells her soaps and products online, at the Elkton Farmers Market, and at booths at many local events throughout Cecil County. She is also available to do demonstrations of soap making and use of botanicals. For more information or to purchase products from Wyre Naturals, contact Veronica Wyre by visiting her website wyrenaturals.net.
Patricia's Thrift Store
On September 5, Patricia Gayles opened up Patricia's Thrift Store in Elkton. Patricia has been planning the opening of her store for a long time, and started her preparation at the Cecil County Public Library. With the help of the small business librarian, Patricia was able to develop a plan of action for starting her business. The librarian was able to send her relevant information pertaining to her business plan and personally invite her to programs that she felt Patricia would benefit from attending. Patricia praises the small business planning books she was able to check out at the library. They provided her with a wealth of information to guide her in the planning process. Along with the small business books, she was also able to research demographic information on one of the library's free small business databases. This allowed her to narrow down her target market and have a better understanding of her customer base. The library also helped Patricia identify competitors and set a pricing strategy. Patricia attended a library program presented by a SCORE volunteer that taught her how to develop a positive cash flow.
Patricia's Thrift Store is located at 10 Chestnut Drive, Suite N in Elkton, MD and is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. She has a wide variety of new and used products for sale, including clothes, furniture, and household items. She sells children's clothes for as little as $2.00 and women's dresses for $5.00! She accepts donations to the thrift store during regular business hours, and also accepts major credit cards.
AAMCO Transmissions: Complete Car Care
The library is proud to welcome a new small business to the community! Tom Furlong opened an AAMCO franchise at 349 East Pulaski Highway in Elkton. AAMCO specializes in transmission diagnosis and repair, as well as complete car care including: brakes, exhaust, shock/struts, radiators, oil, lube and filter changes, air conditioning and tune ups. With over 900 locations nationwide, the AAMCO's warranty will follow you across the country. Marketing research shows that the "Double A...BEEP/BEEP...MCO " trademark is recognized by an astonishing 90+% of the motoring public.
Tom was able to gain the necessary information needed to start his AAMCO franchise by meeting with the Cecil Business Resource Partners, of which the library is a member. The library's Small Business Information Center guided Tom through the process of writing a business plan. "The small business librarian helped me craft a business plan that was innovative and quite complete. The library provided both anecdotal examples as well as websites and URL's for valuable information going forward. It was with this help that I was able to secure funding for equipment purchases as well as vital marketing/ advertising activities. With the help of the SBDC and the library, we are well into our first month of service and the results have been quite amazing. Cecil County and specifically the Elkton automotive community have embraced us and we are off to a great start."
If you are interested in having your car serviced at AAMCO, they can be reached at 410-392-6383.
Que's Cart Hot Dog Stand
The Small Business Information Center is excited to introduce a new business to the community. LaVerne Lewis has opened a hot dog stand, "Que's Cart." In the early stages of developing her hot dog cart business, LaVerne visited the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library. LaVerne explains how the library was able to guide her through the stages of starting her small business.
"Getting information on putting together a business plan for a small business like a hot dog cart was invaluable for me. Also, the most important aspect was learning how to capitalize on finding the right location and learning the competitive side of business. Being a new business in a very small town and still being able to make income was the best thing ever. I know in my heart that I would not have been able to do this had I not come to the library."
The hot dog stand is open Monday through Friday, 11am to 1pm at Triumph Industrial Park. Que's Cart is also at the Elkton Farmer's Market, Monday through Thursday from 2pm to 4pm and every Friday from 2pm to 6pm, as well as Saturday from 11 am to 3pm. LaVerne's hot dog cart sells all beef hot dogs, hot sausages, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soda and bottled water. Don't forget to ask her about her delicious carrot cake too! The hot dog stand is also available for hire for events and parties. If you are interested in reserving the cart, LaVerne Lewis can be reached at 410-392-3818 or at email@example.com.
Lisa Kilby's dream to launch a homemade ice cream shop started with fresh ingredients from her family's dairy farm. In addition to sweet treats, her vision was to create an educational opportunity for children.
The Cecil County Public Library was key to helping her develop a business plan and secure grant funds. Our Library's Small Business Information Center provided much of the data in her plan, which helped her secure $50,000 in seed money for her agritourism venture. According to Lisa's husband Brad, my wife would have gone crazy without the library's help.
Kilby Cream is thriving in its first location, recently opened a second location and is expanding its product line. Stop by for a cone sometime!
Kabir Abubakar is a dual citizen of the US and Nigeria. He came to this country to attend university, then served as an intelligence specialist in the US Army.
Despite personal, economic and cultural hardships, Kabir dedicated himself to create Kebbi Web Hosting LLC to help himself, his family, and the community he left behind in Kebbi State, Nigeria.
Through the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center and their partners, Kabir developed a compelling business plan to provide web hosting for business and government customers.
Building on his success and to show his appreciation to his adopted community, he is working to develop a sister-city program between his home in Nigeria and Elkton, Maryland.
LuMu Candies is a love story. Joanne, an organic chemist and ardent candy maker, met Norm, a business consultant and teacher. After merging personally, they meshed their professional skills to develop a candy making business. "LuMu," is their acronym for "Love You, Miss You," which they used in their frequent emails while dating.
Joanne learned how to develop and grow her business via the Cecil County Public Library's Small Business Information Center. Thanks to hard work and the skills learned at their library, LuMu Candies was awarded the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Entrepreneurial Award in 2006.
Award-winning buttery English toffees, barks and crunches are now part of the LuMu product line and are all hand-made from uniquely formulated blends. They are now sold in numerous local shops and on the company's retail website.