Free business assistance provides jolt to coffee house entrepreneur

Help from Penn State Small Business Development Center in 2008 led to new businesses, job creation

University Park, Pa. — Greg Anderson’s idea for a small business was simple: a place in which residents in the Huntingdon, Pa., college town where he lived could sip on gourmet coffee or tea and eat from a unique menu — and, if they needed to, do their laundry in a back room. Plus, Anderson wanted an environmentally friendly company, with biodegradable to-go materials; locally grown produce; and energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and washing machines. For help, Anderson approached his local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which in turn reached out to environmental expertise at the Penn State SBDC; the Penn State center’s Environmental Management Assistance Program helped Anderson secure two grants from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. The result: The Standing Stone Coffee Company opened up last August; it is estimated that the energy efficiency upgrades will reduce costs by nearly $6,000 annually by decreasing water and electricity usage.

The Penn State SBDC, which provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, worked with 329 clients in 2008 — helping eight businesses in the area get started and assisting with the purchase of five companies, creating 91 jobs. The unit helped spur $3.7 million in small business investment.

Terri Breindel’s venture opening a Goddard School franchise in State College is another example of a Penn State SBDC success story. Breindel sought an SBDC consultant to review her business plan and numbers before seeking funding. Since opening in December 2007, she hired 28 employees and has nearly 150 children enrolled, boasting a waiting list. Breindel, who also had previously worked with the SBDC on a Comfort Keepers franchise, said, “It never occurred to us not to contact them again for help on our next venture.”

Interested individuals can call (814) 863-4293 or 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. For more information, visit http://www.sbdc.psu.edu online. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education.
 

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Last Updated November 18, 2010