With a family and employment history in the mattress manufacturing industry, Juan Rodriguez looked to find an organization that could help him with starting his own mattress repairing, manufacturing, and refurbishing business. Luckily, he found the Oklahoma SBDC, registered for advising, and was assigned to business advisor Susan Urbach.  

With over 30 years of advising experience, Urbach has worked with numerous mattress manufacturers in the past, so her knowledge was incredibly beneficial for Juan’s business development. She was impressed by how Rodriguez had already bought and established his own shop with cost-efficient methods and equipment. She took the time to help him get the necessities for his business squared-away. After assisting with the business set-up, logo, website, accounting systems, sample sales, service contracts and invoices, Susan worked with Juan to identify customer targets in retail, wholesale, and commercial markets. 

“I can’t imagine trying to start this business without the help of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and meeting with Susan Urbach,” says Rodriguez. “I knew there was a lot to learn, but she made things understandable, and was so patient. I have been trying to keep all my startup costs as low as possible, and she helped me find all sorts of other resources that were reasonable, and many were even free.” 

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Nelson Allen, a Tulsa resident for over 44 years with a strong business background, had a passion for starting his own storage facility company and doing what he could to support his community of North Tulsa. He had been planning the start of his business for over five years, going to conventions, and talking to different storage facility owners to learn as much as he could.  

Eventually, Nelson reached out to the Oklahoma SBDC and was assigned business advisor Jessee Paxton. In partnership with the Greenwood Women’s Business Center, Jessee helped fill in the gaps so Nelson could reach his business goals. Although Nelson already knew most things on how to start a business, he worked with the Oklahoma SBDC to make sure that he had everything planned out and every box checked before he opened his doors. Gilcrease Express Storage was able to open in late 2022 with a climate-controlled, state-of-the-art facility with 24-hour security monitoring video surveillance. 

“Jessee and the SBDC helped teach me what to do and what not to do,” said business owner Nelson Allen. “With the trainings and one-on-one counseling, [they helped provide] me business skills in planning, marketing, and HR… I will continue to use the SBDC and the Greenwood Women’s Business Center to help accomplish my future business goals which is adding more businesses around the storage facility that will build the community and help with more business opportunities for entrepreneurs.” 

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No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

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With a goal to create a healthy snack bar, Jeff Ragan founded KiZE Concepts, a business that produces healthy nutrition bars in a variety of flavors. While preparing for the required certifications, the company heard about the Oklahoma SBDC and reached out for assistance with the Safe Quality Food (SQF) audit. Despite the set-back made by the COVID-19 pandemic, they were able to pass the audit in October of 2020, thanks in large part to the help of business advisor Stephanie Baker, who met with the KiZE team regularly to review the necessary code requirements.  

KiZE continued to improve their food safety and quality programs while working with the Oklahoma SBDC. Because of this, they were able to pass both the 2021 and the 2022 SQF audits, allowing their company to expand their sales. 

“Really incredible service from Stephanie Baker,” says Jeff Ragan, CEO of KiZE. “We have no prior industry experience and going for a high-level, difficult audit like SQF would not have been possible without her support. Not only did we pass, we received an excellent score – 11 points higher than when we did the first time. Stephanie was a huge part in helping prepare and improve our operation and understanding the SQF system…” 

“… We are extremely grateful to have the support from the Oklahoma SBDC and know that the investment in us will continue to pay dividends in improving our business, the lives of our people, and our community.” 

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No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

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The Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad Company is a family owned and operated Class III railroad serving customers along a 118-mile corridor between Howe, OK to McAlester, OK and Shawnee, OK to Midwest City, OK. The key commodities received are: wheat, corn, oats, CSM, feed ingredients, frack sand, ceramic proppant, auto’s, plastic resin pellets, drilling fluid products, hydrochloric acid, lumber, and hydro processing catalyst. The key commodities shipped are: coal, aggregate, and decorative stone. The A-OK provides storage car needs on short- and long-term basis to customers looking for convenient reliable service. Inspection, running repairs, cleaning, and stenciling services can be provided upon request. The A-OK currently has 23 storage car customers. The A-OK can accommodate unit pipe trains at Midwest City, OK, McAlester, OK and Wister, OK. The A-OK facilitates rail car leasing for a wide variety of car types upon request. The A-OK provides land and rail service for trans-loading upon request.

A-OK started working with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center for disaster relief support during the pandemic and the severe weather in winter of 2021. After becoming familiar with the services offered, the OKSBDC continues to be a resource on business growth strategy, research assistance and management opportunities. The leaders of the railroad work with OKSBDC advisors and research team to pull statistics and data for key transportation upgrades, to learn ways to leverage federal, state and tribal workforce and financial programs. 

A-OK through the family leadership of the Donoley Family is an economic driver in Oklahoma. As leadership has transitioned to the next generation, the company continues to look forward to expansion and opportunities for partnership to grow the economy. The past 36 months have been challenging, initially due to COVID and severe winter weather which created chaos and physical damage; then the family dealt with a serious health crisis which was emotionally challenging. The leadership of this second generation kept the railroad moving forward. While shouldering more duties, this group recognizes the power of collaboration and is appreciative of the OKSBDC resources and support. 

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No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

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Hotel property owners and managers, Vik and Jenny Desai learned about OKSBDC small business advising services in 2019 with the goal of improving accounting. While these hotel owners were successful, they recognized the value of evaluation and assistance from an outside team. 

“…Then, 2020 hit, and the hospitality industry was crushed…” said Jenny Desai. The pair worked with OKSBDC throughout the pandemic for assistance navigating relief programs and for discussion on moving the business forward during difficult times. 

Jenny goes on, “After 2020/2021 settled down, we began meeting with Dana Hugle. We are a maturing company, and needed some guidance on HR best practices, growing a positive culture in our business, searching for the best insurance companies, and EIDL payback. We have relied on Dana and Ben Evans at OKSBDC to help guide us through this complicated process. It has been extremely helpful to have someone to ask questions to, someone who may have more access to higher levels of SBA, etc…” 

Advisors at OKSBDC assisted with HR and guest policy review. They also supported the business owners in discussions around employee training and retention. The hotel staff turnover rates have declined and the satisfaction rates have improved. 

Many small business owners are under the misconception that OKSBDC only works with start-up businesses; however, the business advisors address a number of issues from financial, to staffing, to marketing and much more. With a company that has a history of success in the industry, working with an OKSBDC advisor gives fresh perspective and the encouragement needed for the business owners to continue to move forward. 

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No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

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MacKenzie Russom had always wanted to start her own salon business, but could not figure out where to begin. Luckily, one of her clients told her about the services the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center provides, and how they could help her follow her dream and reach her goal. On the same day Russom found out about the Oklahoma SBDC, she booked an appointment with the Oklahoma SBDC and was paired with Nichole Tucker, who would help MacKenzie through the start-up process.

Eventually, Nichole was able to help MacKenzie with finding a building, hiring employees, and opening the business, all under 30 days. Not only that, but Nichole was able to help with the personal loan application process, the business plan, financials, marketing plan, and online system for clients to schedule appointments.

“I had the upmost professional, kind, helpful experience,” said MacKenzie. “Nichole was absolutely more than helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.”

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

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Rebecca and Chris Britton knew exactly where to go for help when they started their business – the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, getting in contact with Business Advisor Susan Urbach. The Britton’s industry experience helped them observe and find a niche market. Chris has longstanding experience in the warehousing and transportation logistics area, and Rebecca also has warehousing experience along with senior management experience in another company. Together, with help from the Oklahoma SBDC, they would create Endeavor Industries, LLC.

Endeavor Industries is an e-commerce fulfillment and Amazon FBA prep service located in west central Oklahoma City. E-commerce has been growing for years, and especially spiked during the time of the pandemic, and there will be a continued increase in e-commerce as time goes on. They have engaged other programs that deal exactly with local Oklahoma companies who are wanting to get into or expand on their e-commerce options. They anticipate other companies approaching Endeavor Industries, namely those that will find a central US location helpful in their e-commerce strategy.

“That was something we so appreciated,” said Rebecca Britton. “Getting a business loan is very different from a consumer loan.  We are grateful that we worked with the Oklahoma small Business Development Center and had that experience on our side.”

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

Want to be one of our success stories? Click the button below to get started!

Request Advising