Kinney & Keele True Value Hardware

93 Year Old Business Receives Help Staying Fresh from the SBDC

Mara Slinker started working in the Kinney & Keele True Value Hardware store at 14 when her dad and his partners ran the shop.

In 2015, her father decided to pass along the business to his children in a succession plan. Slinker and her brother, Randall, purchased the hardware shop and became co-owners alongside their father.

First started in 1926 by two brothers and their brother-in-law, the Ontario hardware store is in the top 10 percent of True Value hardware stores in the world. “Our store is known for its hard to find items and vast product knowledge,” Slinker said.

She and her brother went to the SBDC for assistance with business accounting. The SBDC helped them develop profit and loss statements and project future expenses.

“Our business is 93 years old this year, so we’ve been through a lot,” Slinker said. “It’s nice to have them on hand to ask questions when we need it. They’re always up to date on what’s going on in town and in the business world.”

When officials at the Snake River Correctional Institution told Slinker they wanted to start purchasing paint and other items from the hardware shop, she went to the SBDC for advice. The SBDC told Slinker about the Government Contract Assistance Program and helped the business complete the paperwork to become state certified.

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Ogawa’s Wicked Sushi

Making the leap from chef to business owner with help from the SBDC

Tyler Huston worked at Ogawa’s Wicked Sushi, Burgers And Bowls for five years before he and his parents purchased the Ontario restaurant in 2015.

Previous owner Tommy Ogawa had mentored Tyler in high school. After graduating, Tyler attended Western Culinary School in Portland before returning to Ontario, where Tommy hired him to be a sushi roller. Five years later, Tommy was ready to sell the restaurant on East Idaho Avenue and looked to Tyler and his parents, Connie and Tom.

Tommy referred the Hustons to SBDC, where an adviser helped them explore financing options. The Hustons have attended community trainings on various business topics to help them run the restaurant efficiently.

“They’ve provided ongoing guidance, which has been very valuable to us,” Connie Huston said.

SBDC also helped the restaurant owners write a business plan. In the future, the Hustons would like to expand Ogawa’s catering and possibly purchase a food trailer.

“I would utilize the SBDC for advice in any advancement we would make,” Connie said.

Ogawa’s menu features hamburgers, chicken burgers, steaks, sushi and rice bowls. The restaurant also has a full bar.

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Miller Cabinets

From Fifth-Grade Dream to 10 Years in Business

Herbert Miller knew when he was in the fifth grade he wanted to grow up to be a cabinet maker.

Now, he’s celebrating 10 years of Miller Cabinets being in business.

After apprenticing with a cabinet maker, Herbert went to the SBDC in Ontario in 2007 to get his contracting license so he could launch his own business.

“They’ve almost been more like family than anything,” Herbert said. “They’ve just been an amazing support system.”

The SBDC encouraged Herbert to engrave his logo into his cabinets, put company signage on his truck and start a monthly email newsletter, he said. Herbert still uses a spreadsheet he created with the SBDC’s help to price jobs.

“You can’t really put a value on it,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

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