Success Stories and Testimonials
Blue Ribbon Buckle Co.
In 2011, Wendy Ozburn started her company Blue Ribbon Buckle Co., an American handcrafted buckle and accessory company located in Firebaugh. After going through a difficult time in her personal life, Ozburn joined the U.S. Armed Forces as a welding/machinist where she tapped into her talent and was able to further develop her product.
Fresno Sate SBDC has provided Ozburn assistance and guidance through her entrepreneurial journey. Former Fresno State SBDC director Jeff Macon, and project specialist Akshay Raorane connected Ozburn with business attorney, William McComas; patent attorney, Grace Liu; entrepreneurial professor, Nelson Sebra; and videographer, Nathan Montanez.
"Fresno State SBDC provides the atmosphere and support that most people are not equipped to handle. I'm living proof of how my SBDC has supported me and my business goals," expressed Ozburn.
Ozburn's projected net profit for 2017 is $3,780,000. She is currently on the second round of auditions for the ABC show, Shark Tank.
Creative Flowers co-owner, Meg Bagnall.
During times of drought and trends leaning away from live flowers, finding an affordable and seasoned live flower arrangement can prove difficult. Creative Flowers in Visalia has beaten the odds and flourished.
Owners and longtime friends, Shyra Hicks and Meg Bagnall have served over 50 areas within the Central Valley since 2013. Hicks has been a floral designer for more than 25 years. She focuses on the creative side of the business and works alongside customers to understand their vision. Bagnall brings years of floral design experience and business knowledge gained as a previous business owner.
The amount of care and consideration put into each of their arrangements has shown greatly in revenue numbers. With assistance from Fresno State SBDC, the flower shop has increased its net profit by $10,000 annually. Both owners expressed that looking out for the customer's best interest and really listening to what clients want have been keys to the success of their business.
"Even if someone ends up using a competing florist, we want our customers to understand that using a wire service to order floral arrangements is not a good idea. A local florist will always ensure that you get your money worth, whereas with a wire service you will usually end up paying for a substandard arrangement, " said Hicks.
Creative Flowers has been nominated by Fresno State SBDC as the Visalia Chamber of Commerce's 2016 Small Business of the Year and is a finalist.
Current Culture H2O
Daniel Wilson, CCH2O president, Akshawy Raorane, Fresno State SBDC consultant; Christian Long, CCH2O Vice President.
Current Culture H2O (CCH2O) is a hydroponics company in Central California that began in 2006 in hopes of changing the farming industry with the idea of using a hydroponics system in order to reduce water consumption, waste and contamination.
CCH2O developed a patented system of growing plants that utilizes a continuous flow system with fluids only, rather than conventional substrates like gravel/bark/coconut fibers. Their technology eliminates contamination of the fluid which permits re-circulation of the growth fluids as well as saves water and space, which is advantageous to those farming in the drought. In addition to this patented system, CCH2O designs, manufacturers and distributes products that are relevant to commercial and recreational growers.
CCH2O has nearly doubled their annual sales and currently operates through more than 900 retailers and distributers throughout North America. To move forward with their business and to continue to grow, CCH2O began working with Fresno State SBDC.
CCH2O is hoping to expand in order to revolutionize small commercial farming operations, as well as recreational farming around the country and the world. With Fresno State SBDC's assistance, CCH2O has been able to work on expanding their facilities, marketing, and product development.
CCH2O was awarded the Innovation and Technology Business of the Year Award at the 2016 Small Business Recognition Program.
Di Amici Coffee Shop
Coffee shops far and wide are popping up, providing a warm, comfortable, and energizing place for people to collaborate and socialize. Sam Rubio developed his own coffee shop dream while working with Fresno State SBDC to create Di Amici Coffee Shop.
Since 2007, Fresno State SBDC has assisted Rubio from a pre-venture to a business startup, and with strategic planning and a growth strategy, the business has expanded to a larger site in Mendota and a second location in Fresno. Knowing his market and being able to provide the changing products and services needed to keep up with the competition, Rubio has been able to sustain a profitable business. Over the last two years, Di Amici Coffee Shop has shown remarkable growth with sales increasing by 11% and 21% and a net profit of 18% and 26%.
Dim Amici Coffee Shop and Fresno State SBDC have built a successful business that provides the ultimate drinking experience to the Central Valley.
Fresno State SBDC Consultant, Munir Kahn and Tropical Shades owner, Denise Lofton.
Denise Lofton started her business, Tropical Shades, nearly 12 years ago. An in-line gift shop at Manchester Shopping Center in Fresno, the business started out small, selling sunglasses only and later expanded to include more products, including jewelry and other gift items.
Tropical Shades has been a success with sales exceeding $100,000 annually. In the past two years, Lofton's business has increased sales from 40% to 47% and, with the help of Fresno State SBDC, three new full-time staff members were added to the team.
For the future, Lofton is looking to expand her business. The opportunity arose as Manchester Shopping Center is expanding to include a second outlet location where Lofton is interested in opening a specialty gift and children's toy store. Fresno State SBDC is currently assisting in developing a plan for the second business, marketing, product protection, and funding resources.
Consultant Matthew Faulkner
"Matt is the best consultant I have ever worked with, very detailed oriented, patient and always tries to help whenever possible. He makes me feel like working as a team. Very productive and experienced."
Client: Degree on Track
Consultant Akshay Raorane
"Akshay Raorane was brought on as a consultant for Pangea Global in August of last year. He was brought on to help us with the development and refinement of our business plan and pitch deck so that we could be prepared to present our idea and company to potential investors. Additionally, Akshay also helped us by giving us information on potential opportunities to present our project and more ways to synthesize our pitch deck to improve its presentability. Furthermore, Akshay introduced us to numerous other individuals who helped us with our project or company in a variety of ways.
Akshay has been an absolutely great help to Pangea Global and he does his job extremely well. Pangea Global is grateful for everything that he has helped us with and we are glad we met him."
Client: Pangea Global
Consultant Peter Vang
"Peter Vang was very helpful in review and formatting the draft of our marketing plan. He was very easy to work with. He provided helpful recommendations on how we can further our marketing efforts toward our target audience. The resources provided were of great benefit.
Thank you for all you do!"
Client: BBB Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties
Client Testimonial-Best of Breed Farms
2016 Center Impact Award Winner-Munir Khan