UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three years ago, Bill Alford of Reedsville, Pa., set a goal to open his own restaurant after working as an engineer for 10 years.
“I always wanted my own restaurant, but I could never figure out how to do it without working myself to death,” Alford said.
Alford felt the area needed more barbecue so he was determined to open a restaurant to meet that need. A self-described foodie, Alford was born in Texas, but grew up in Louisiana. He came up with recipes combining culinary influences from both states.
Billy’s BBQ in Reedsville is now open and will be celebrating its one-year anniversary in October. It’s one of 52 new businesses started in 2011 and one of three purchased with the help of the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The SBDC provided Alford with training to help write a business plan for a bank loan. Alford said the advice from SBDC was worthwhile, adding that his business is doing well.
“Our sales since October have been quite impressive,” he said. “I’m already looking into finding a place for my next location."
In 2011, the SBDC helped businesses create 130 new jobs and kept another 90 from leaving Centre and Mifflin counties. To accomplish this, the SBDC held 41 seminars and trained almost 700 clients over a period of 5,300 hours, said Heather Fennessey, director of the SBDC.
“Helping entrepreneurs develop business plans is just one of the many services that we provide to our communities,” Fennessey said. “We get excited about helping people realize their dreams.”
For more information about the Penn State SBDC, visit http://www.sbdc.psu.edu/ online.
Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers. The Penn State SBDC provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 115 countries worldwide.