Cecil Business Resource Partners Prove to be Game Changer for Local Veteran-Owned Business: Peacock Training Institute, LLC

January 17th, 2017

I am so proud to have played a role in Cecil County native Alan Pfau opening his very own firearms training business, Peacock Training Institute, LLC. His story is so compelling because it showcases the power of successful partnerships between local organizations, and the strength the library has in connecting patrons to vital community resources.

Pfau served his country for over 14 years with multiple deployments stateside and overseas, and he hoped to translate the skills he learned in the military into a small business. One of his first decisions was to check out some books around the topic of owning your own business at the Cecil County Public Library. Little did he know that information gained from the books he checked out on entrepreneurship would be a small portion of the information he would receive from the library on launching his first business. While at the library, he learned about the Small Business Information Center, made an appointment with me and we discussed how the library could help him become his own boss.

Pfau and I met one-on-one and discussed his dream of starting a firearms training business. I provided relevant demographic and competitor information related to his industry, including gun ownership rates, which in turn helped him make more reliable projections for his business plan. The competitor information I was able to provide for him came from a free library database called Reference USA. With this information, he analyzed gun ranges near and far and got a sense of their sales volume, number of employees, and credit rating scores. I also knew he would benefit from assistance from other local organizations that have a mission to help small businesses succeed in Cecil County. I referred him to the Cecil Business Resource Partners (CBRP), which he describes as a real turning point for his business. CBRP is a partnership of Cecil County’s education entities and non-profit organizations that have joined together to share information about free resources for small businesses. CBRP members include: Cecil County Public Library, Cecil County Office of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center, Cecil College, Susquehanna Workforce Center, Cecil County Chamber of Commerce and Business Education Partnership Advisory Council.

One CBRP member I suggested Pfau meet with immediately, the Small Business Development Center counselor Ryan Del Gallo, Pfau now credits as being an instrumental mentor in the creation of his business. “Del Gallo assisted me with the financials of my business, writing a business plan, really everything that I needed advice with – he was there for me.” Pfau regularly meets with Del Gallo to discuss his business and credits his relationship with the Small Business Development Center as giving him access to connections throughout Cecil and Harford County. These connections fostered growth for his business, especially the focus group set up by Del Gallo to test out Pfau’s business concept.

Pfau used another connection he received through CBRP to teach a seminar titled, Refusing To Be A Victim, at Harford Community College. CCPL’s introduction to CBRP also gave him a connection to Cecil College. Pfau’s goal is to eventually teach courses there as well. Pfau mentioned another member of CBRP, the Susquehanna Workforce Center (SWN), as giving him access to private industry contacts. He also has an internal training scheduled with SWN in January.

Pfau’s entrepreneurial journey is a shining example of why the Small Business Information Center can be a game changer for local entrepreneurs. The library is a welcoming place, and when I meet with nascent stage entrepreneurs, they feel comfortable asking important questions and researching industry information to be better poised to reach out to banks, community members, or other organizations for assistance with their start-up.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center, or any of the other CBRP members call 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or email sbic@ccplnet.org or visit: www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business/.

For more information on seminars and training provided by Peacock Training Institute, LLC, visit www.peacocktraining.com or contact Alan Pfau directly at 443-406-6260. Peacock Training Institute, LLC’s main goal is to make sure clients understand and feel comfortable handling firearms, and Pfau’s training programs are designed to prevent participants from becoming a victim, inside or outside the home. Pfau acknowledges that there is only one place to shoot in Cecil County, Elk Neck State Park, but Peacock Training Institute, LLC will accommodate shooting arrangements there. Pfau’s long-term goal is to open his own shooting range in Cecil County, and with the help of the committed Cecil Business Resource Partners, he can see this coming to fruition.


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Plant Swap

May 9th, 2016

PlantsIf you’re an avid gardener like me then this is your busiest time of year. It’s time to clean out your vegetable and flower beds, plan this year’s garden, and get your seeds started. When planning my garden I think about which plants worked well last year, which ones didn’t, what perennials need dividing, and where I need new plants.

One of the easiest ways to get free plants is to divide the ones you already have. One of the wonderful things about perennials is that as long as they are happy where they are they will come back year after year with very little maintenance on your part. But eventually they will get too big or start looking unkempt, and then it’s time to divide them. This will not only improve the health of the plant but give you extras you can use in your garden and share with other gardeners. I know I’d rather pass on an extra plant and give it a good home than, heaven forbid, throw it away!

But what if you’re looking for something new? One of the best, and cheapest, ways of adding diversity to your garden and trying new plants is to go to a plant swap. At a plant and seed swap gardeners bring their extra seeds, seedlings or plant divisions and trade them with other gardeners. It’s a great way to share plants and gardening experiences, and it’s free!
Whether you’re an experienced or beginner gardener you want to make the most of your garden. At CCPL we have an extensive collection of gardening books and magazines, but if you’re looking for the latest, most up-to-date information you might want to check out our collection of on-line magazines available through Zinio where you can download home and garden magazines like Birds and Blooms, Country Gardens and Organic Life. In addition, our Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture database contains magazine and journal articles for everyone from the novice gardener to the professional.

For more hands-on instruction you can find home and garden programs throughout the Cecil County Public Library system. Check online through our calendar or look in The Link, our library newsletter; available in branches, online or have it emailed to you for a first look at upcoming events.

On Thursday, May 12 from 6-8 pm the Elkton Library will hold its 4th Annual Plant Swap. And if you can’t make it to Elkton, the Perryville Library will be holding their 2nd Annual Plant and Seed Swap on Wednesday, May 25 from 6-8. We hope you can make it! This will be a wonderful opportunity to swap plants, seeds and experiences with other gardeners. Don’t miss the chance to try something new in your garden!

What’s your favorite perennial to share?


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