Earth Tech Landscape Solutions

From Unemployed to Successful Employer with Help from the SBDC

When Fabian Lopez was laid off at Christmas, he received an unemployment assistance offer he couldn’t refuse: take classes at the Chemeketa SBDC and start a new business.

At the SBDC, Fabian found valuable courses and developed his business plan, landing his first landscaping contract in 2012 and soon after hiring his first employee. Earth Tech Solutions has continued to grow ever since.

“I can’t say enough about Don, my adviser,” Fabian said. “I couldn’t be happier with what Don and the SBDC have brought to the table. I sleep better at night.”

Through continued advising and classes, Fabian found a community of small business owners all facing similar issues and an environment designed to help solve these challenges. By hearing from others and understanding common issues, he has continued to learn and grow with his business.

“I couldn’t imagine ever running a business without the SBDC classes, and nor would I. You can always learn more,” Fabian said. “The SBDC provides confidence, the ability to ask questions and help with the stress. I cannot say enough about the Chemeketa SBDC.”

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Valley Pacific Floral Inc.

Longtime Florist Revives Business with Help from SBDC

When Cindy Wurdinger-Kelly took a field trip to a Woodburn flower shop in high school, she knew right away she wanted to be a florist.

Cindy now owns that flower shop, called Valley Pacific Floral, Inc.

The shop was called Rudy’s Flowers and Gifts when Cindy started working there at age 16, she said. She went on to get an associate’s degree in retail floristry. She worked at several flower shops in Portland before going to barber college. She cut hair for several years until she’d saved up enough money to buy the flower shop in 1991.

Cindy went to SBDC while experiencing financial troubles in her shop. SBDC helped her get her cost of goods under control, write a business plan, build a website and write an employee handbook and operations manual, she said.

SBDC has helped her better understand her customer base in order to grow sales, Cindy said. She often attends the SBDC’s monthly sessions to stay up to date on topics like social media marketing, insurance and new legislation that affects her business.

“They’re helping me work smarter, rather than longer hours,” she said. “So I can get a day off now and again.”

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Monmouth Fitness Club

Small Business Management Class Helped Gym Owner Boost Membership

Tony Jeffries worked at Monmouth Fitness Club for 15 years before purchasing the gym.

Just three months into ownership, Tony started the SBDC’s Small Business Management class in fall 2016.

“We loved the class and we’re already getting signed up for the next step,” he said. “I would recommend it to anybody who is starting or has already started a business.”

The class helped him develop better human resources policies, streamline his finances and update the gym’s marketing practices, Tony said. The gym took some of the advertising funds it had been spending on TV commercials and newspaper ads and put it into social media and sponsoring at local sporting events, he said.

“Membership has gone up about 7 or 8 percent since starting the class,” Tony said.

With the SBDC’s help, he’s now working on writing an employee handbook.

Monmouth Fitness Club offers personal training, group fitness classes and kids programs.

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You’ve got the idea and the business, let us help you take it to the next level.

Island Girls Lunchbox

SBDC Helped Island Girls Lunchbox bring the flavors of Guam to Salem

Having grown up eating traditional Chamorro food from the island of Guam, Stephanie Sosa wanted to bring the cuisine to the people of Salem.

Before starting her mobile food truck business, called Island Girls Lunchbox, Stephanie attended MERIT Program classes at Chemeketa Community College. The SBDC helped Stephanie apply for capital from the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund, which she used to purchase a food truck in 2014.

“The SBDC has been very helpful because I knew nothing about business in the beginning,” she said. “I just had an idea of what I wanted to do.”

Stephanie’s menu features short ribs, tacos, a Korean style burrito, rice dishes and empanadas.

Island Girls Lunchbox is open for lunch Tuesday-Friday at various locations in Salem. Stephanie also organizes philanthropic food truck events where she donates a portion of her earnings to organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Willamette Humane Society.

“I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have fulfilled a dream that I had,” she said. “I set goals and I have accomplished them and I have actually accomplished far more than what I had expected thus far for as long as I’ve been in business.”


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You’ve got the idea and the business, let us help you take it to the next level.