New class of entrepreneurs in Orleans County graduates from MAP
CHILDS – The Microenterprise Assistance Program graduated its latest class Tuesday night at Tillman’s Village Inn.
The 10 who received their diplomas brings the total of budding entrepreneurs to 495 who have gone through the program since its inception in 1999, said MAP manager Diane Blanchard.
“Taking the Microenterprise Class enables new start-ups to access expert consultants from the start of their business to when they open and thereafter to keep their business going,” Blanchard said. “The course covers all aspects of operating a small business, including going into business, taxes/financial statements, legal/business law, budgeting/record keeping and marketing.”
The program is run through the Orleans Economic Development Agency. Consultants help MAP students develop a business plan. Those consultants include John Costello with SCORE, Sam Campanella with the Small Business Development Center in Brockport, and Dick Petitte, an adviser with the SBDC and teacher of small business management and entrepreneurship at Brockport State College.
MAP sponsors two 10-week classes per year, and the ideas for new businesses never ceases to amaze Blanchard, she said.
Tuesday’s graduates included Courtney Allchin of Albion, who got the idea for a clothing boutique as a stay-at-home mom; Ashley Casanova of Lyndonville, who has purchased Fastan in Medina; Katrina Chaffee of Lyndonville, who plans to open an Early Head Start child care program; Heather Colella of Clarendon, who with her family operates a hauling and excavating business; Gabrielle Gugino of Brockport, who plans to open a drop-in child day care facility; Laura Kemler of Albion, whose business is Vintage Inspired Gifts; Will King of Medina, a personal trainer who hopes to attract teens, young professionals and families with children to his business; Julie Sanford of Albion, who sells custom vintage lamps; Tiffany Smith of Albion, who operates the only local gym which offers 24-hour fitness; and William Young of Albion, who runs a machine shop.
The graduates shared their business plan and why they chose that particular business.
Heather Colella, who has owned DC Hauling and Excavating with her husband for eight years, said they were both unemployed and running out of options when they decided to invest their last $3,500 to go into business for themselves. They started out doing snow plowing, and within seven months, made a profit.
Four years ago, she got her woman-owned business certification, and this year they are on track to do $1.5 million in revenue.
This month they will hire their first year-round, full-time employee. They plan to use a $25,000 loan from Economic Development to buy a 10-wheel dump truck to be able to operate more efficiently.
Rick and Michelle Gallo, who graduated from MAP in the June class, returned to tell their success story to the class. She had been working for Dunkin’ Donuts and helped open their stores in Medina and Albion when they decided to go into business for themselves. Their idea was to develop a business their kids would some day take over.
They began by towing cars and collecting scrap metal. As their business progressed, they had to rent two storage locations, one in Orleans County and one out of the county. They are working to obtain contracts with AAA and Onstar.
“Your mentor in this class is everything,” Michelle said. “I call him two or three times a week.”
She also said the connections made through the class are priceless.
“You meet new people and bounce ideas off each other all the time,” she said. “Having a mentor and relationship with EDA is invaluable.”
“This EDA is the big brother you always wished you had,” Rick said.
Graduates from MAP are eligible to apply for grants when they are available, Blanchard said.
“I love that the program makes dreams come true for these entrepreneurs,” she said.