More entrepreneurs complete MAP class with plans for business success in Orleans

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Spring graduates of the Microenterprise Assistance Program celebrated with dinner June 14 at Gallo’s Bar and Grill in Hamlin. Michelle Gallo is a former graduate of MAP and has returned several times to share how the class helped her and her husband Rick in their new endeavors. Seated, from left, are Chacora Abrams, Jessica Skehan, Dorothy Daniels (instructor), Amanda Vasquez and MAP coordinator Diane Blanchard. Second row, are  Amber Moss (with Cassandra Brady, who took the class), Rebecca Alexander, Debbie Prest, Michelle Gallo (instructor), Tiffany Allen, John Fitzak (county legislator) and Sam Campanella (adviser). Third row, Erin Hills and Chris Glogowski. Absent are Delores Hansel, Andrew LaFave and Kristen Ostrander.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 June 2022 at 7:55 am

HAMLIN – The spring class of the Microenterprise Assistance Program brought the number to 557 entrepreneurs who have completed the 10-week class that offers many pointers for building a successful business.

MAP is a program of Orleans Economic Development Agency. Diane Blanchard is administrator of MAP.

The graduates bring a variety of unique interests and the potential to create a thriving business in their community.

Graduates shared their goals and proposed businesses at Gallo’s Bar and Grill in Hamlin on June 14. Gallo’s is owned by Michelle and Rick Gallo, who offered to host the evening. Michelle is a graduate of the Microenterprise class and has become an instructor in the program.

Graduates and their proposed business are Delores Hansel of Albion, who owns Brush Strokes Studio in the Arnold Gregory Complex; Tiffany Allen, who wants to own a restaurant and bar; Rebecca Alexander of Albion, who is adding tailgate games and a restaurant to their existing business – Dubby’s Wood Fired Pizza; Cassandra Brady, bakery; Chris Glogowski, the Coffee Joint; Erin Hills, a make-up artist; Deborah Prest, home décor; Amanda Vasquez, bakery; Jessica Skehan, an artist; Andrew LaFave, plastic recycling; and Kristen Ostrander, Bloom’s Flower Shop.

Each of the graduates shared their business plan and reasons for taking the Microenterprise Assistance Program.

Tiffany Allen shared her plans for a restaurant/bar.

Hansel purchased Brush Strokes from Tim Elliott of Medina. She enjoys ceramics and hopes to grow the business. She would like to do a summer camp for children and fused glass and eventually, pottery. She said wanted to gain a little more business acumen from the class.

“My goal is to become a full service art business for Orleans County,” she said.

Alexander and her husband already own Dubby’s Wood Fired Pizza and wanted learn more about the business end of running a bar and tailgate games.

“We will be a one-stop shop for food and fun,” Alexander said.

They are ready to open a restaurant in Albion and will be open Wednesday through Sunday and offer a full menu. All baked goods can be customized and made to order. They will cater to food allergies. She also wants to have cake decorating classes for adults and children. She took the class to get help with a business plan for their new venture.

Cassandra Brady took the class to help her and her friends Chacora Abrams and Amber Moss, who are running a bakery in their home, but would like a real store in Orleans County. Their specialty is custom cakes and desserts. When they started, Abrams said they knew they needed help on how to run a business.

Amanda Vasquez also wants to open a bakery and needs a certified kitchen. She hopes to work with customers in local towns. She would like to have a store front in Medina by 2024.

Tiffany Allen has been living in Hawaii for 18 years, but recently came home and is looking for a business that fits her lifestyle, she said. Her business will be called Mommy’s Kitchen and Daddy’s Bar and will feature home cooking, a rotating menu and a local delivery option.

Deborah Prest sells home décor and crafts.

Allen is confident she can run such a business with one person in the kitchen and one in the bar. Her goal is to provide an enlightening and unique dining experience. Her staff will be encouraged to learn something from every customer, she said.

Chris Glogowski opened The Coffee Joint at 59 North Main St. in Albion, with a partner, David Mogle. They will offer a variety of high-quality coffee and tea drinks. Manager of the business is Heidi Peterson. Glogowski is an Albion police officer and Mogle is the police chief.

Glogowski wanted to keep a coffee shop in downtown. In the future they plan to add smoothies, breakfast wraps, waffles and energy drinks. They also intend to have delivery and a drive-up service. Their hours will be expanded for the summer, he said.

Debbie Prest has been doing crafts and home décor for 20 years, but needed to know more about the business end, she said.

“I’m good at crafting, but not so good at the business stuff,” she said. “I knew creating a business plan was crucial to my goal.”

She has been doing a lot of sales on Facebook and at craft shows, but now will have her own brick and mortar store in back of Five Star Bank in Albion.

Erin Hills is a make-up artist who hopes to open a salon.

Jessica Skehan of Holley studied art and printing in college, but didn’t learn the business end, she said. She hopes to establish a business doing custom painting and selling prints of her original artwork online. She would like to have a store front within the next five years.

Erin Hills thought as a make-up artist she would have to live in a big city to be successful. She has discovered, however, she is in high demand in Orleans County for weddings, and has 69 booked. She also does lash extensions. She is confident she can make a six-figure income doing hair and make-up. Her goal is to have a salon by 2023 and a mobile unit after that.

Two other graduates were not able to attend the graduation. They are Kristen Ostrander, who owns Bloom’s Flower Shop in Albion, and Andrew LaFave, who plans a plastic recycling business.

Beth Miller, a former MAP graduate, returned to share her success with the class. She had lost her job with Covid hit about two years ago and took the class to prepare for opening her own business. Dorothy Daniels encouraged her to open her store Wild Flour Deli & Bakery in Albion last fall.

A $21,000 grant through MAP enabled her to build a dining room at 438 West Ave. She has since expanded and added equipment.

“In one month I made as much money as I had anticipated making in five months,” Miller said.

She said the MAP class was overwhelming at first, but turned out to be very beneficial. She was recently voted one of the top five deli-bakeries in Western New York.

Anyone interested in taking the next MAP course can contact Blanchard at or by calling (585) 589-7060.