Success Story…Gold Star Graphics, Inc.

Gold Star Graphics, Inc. started as a part time project for Pam Guffey when a friend from Dallas, who owned a successful graphics business, encouraged Pam to try the same in Oklahoma City. After just three months, Pam had more screen printing and embroidery orders than she could fill. Turning to her husband Stan for help, they became full-time entrepreneurs that fall of 1987.

In the life cycle of a business, one must consider every imaginable circumstance and plan for both success and failure. But how often does a business owner worry about a natural disaster? For Gold Star, it was a double disaster. Only sheer determination and commitment have kept the Guffey’s going after not one, but two tornadoes. The business was down for 10 days after being hit by the first storm in 1999. The second tornado struck Oklahoma City in 2003, totally destroying the Gold Star building and much of their equipment. “This business has been good to us,” says Pam. “We were determined to get back into production as soon as possible, and we needed help.”

Gold Star moved into temporary quarters and the Guffey’s went back to work. When starting to rebuild, the couple’s banker was less than helpful. A friend recommended the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center for help with loan packaging assistance. Tammy Allard, a loan specialist with over 15 years of experience, knew immediately she could help the award winning Gold Star secure an SBA loan to help rebuild.

Tammy helped the couple revise their business plan, put together the SBA paperwork, and negotiate the terms of their new loan. “Tammy was great. She kept me motivated through that difficult time,” says Pam.

The Guffeys are now in their new building and keep 17 employees busy. “Having great employees has given us the freedom we have always wanted.” The future is bright for Gold Star and several 2005 strategies include working with the OKSBDC to identify and develop new markets. These markets will include government contracts. “Tammy is walking us through the contracting maze, and we are excited about the future.”

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