Global Electric, Inc.

Growing electrical contractor sees benefits from Small Business Management program

Global Electric, Inc. is a full-service electrical contracting company specializing in residential, commercial, industrial and solar projects and is licensed in California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Currently, owner Justin Spiering employs 18 full-time workers and the business is still steadily growing.

“I love owning my own company,” Justin said. “It’s great to have the freedom to steer it in the direction I want it to go.”

“I knew I had the ability to run my business from the operational side,” Justin said. “But I really needed to learn more about the financial side as a whole.” After being referred to the Small Business Development Center, Spiering signed up for the Small Business Greenhouse Course.

“I was hoping for the financial knowledge, and I got so much more out of it,” Justin said. “The course covered all the basis of owning and operating a small business, from systems implementation, marketing, management of employees and the financial piece I was originally looking for.”

After completing the 16-week greenhouse program, Justin began taking the Small Business Management classes. “We were able to really break down what seemed like difficult business tasks and make them very manageable,” he said.

Connect with us today

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

Nancy J. Smith Photography

Successful Photographer Gets Business Help from SBDC

For nearly a quarter of a century, Nancy J. Smith has been capturing nature’s beauty through photography. “When I go out to take pictures, I just notice every detail and try to capture everything I can.”

“I’ve been doing an annual calendar for many years,” Nancy said. “And because it’s always been local photos, I’ve kept all the production environmentally conscious and local as well.”

Nancy didn’t have the time and resources to grow her business while managing the day to day operations. “I have so many great ideas—I’d like to photograph in Hawaii, get my nature clothing line to thrive and send the message to young girls that you can be whatever you want to be, even a successful female photographer!” Nancy said. The Small Business Development Center helps keep her business level.

“Over the years, I had taken classes with the Small Business Development Center to learn more about being in business. They were always a great resource for me,” Nancy said. “No matter how long you’ve been in business, it doesn’t mean you can’t change or learn new things. The folks at the SBDC have been invaluable for that.”

Connect with us today

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

Brooklyn Hardware

Panelclip Prepares for Succession with SBDC

Carol and Mike Grant started Brooklyn Hardware, LLC out of their home to manufacture the Panelclip®, a hanging device that eliminates the need to put a nail on a board—it’s an easy way to attach things to a wall in an aesthetically pleasing way. The Panelclip® is known for its unique interlocking connection and higher quality.

Today, Brooklyn Hardware operates out of the historic Brooklyn yards business area in Southeast Portland and employs five people, including Carol, who still owns the business, and her nephew, Ben Hillesland, who is general manager. In their modest facility, all operations from ordering, manufacturing, customer service and shipping are maintained by this small crew with an additional focus on sustainability and reduced waste.

Ben has been with the company for eight years and in 2014 stepped in as the GM. He is in line to purchase the company in the near future and recently began taking courses through the Small Business Development Center.

“Carol and Mike began utilizing the SBDC years ago, so she recommended that I attend some courses in business management to help prepare and develop me for management and ultimately for business ownership,” Ben said.

Connect with us today

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

Cha Cha The Clown

Clowning Around is Serious Business for Regina Wollrabe

Regina Wollrabe always knew she wanted to be a clown. While attending Clackamas Community College, she created her dream: Cha Cha the Clown. Despite her penchant for humor, Regina needed guidance for the serious side of clowning. At the SBDC, she found a supportive community who pinpointed the caveats many artists face when confronted with the business side of their passion.

Nailing the business of clowning means Regina does more of what she loves—bringing joy and excitement to people. Laughter is medicine, she explains, and healing for the bones. It creates dopamine and takes you out of a place of sadness. When she clowns, Regina sees the happiness she creates: “I want to bring Disneyland to the world when I’m clowning.”

Her youngest audiences, especially preschoolers, are extra special for Cha Cha: “I want to encourage kids to do the things they want to do and that they’re special. I want them to see that grown-ups make mistakes, and I want to be the fool to help them see that.” Regina’s encouragement for the next generation plays out through her work with the magazine The New Calliope, where she directs Junior Joeys, a program that transforms interested children into clowns. Regina “Cha Cha” was awarded Clown of the Year by Clowns of America International in 2016.

Connect with us today

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

DeAngelo’s Catering & Events

From successful catering business to nonprofit with skills from the SBDC

“Do you camp?” asked Steve DeAngelo, owner and founder of DeAngelo’s Catering & Events. “We find that people who love to camp make excellent caterers. You have to love the daily setup and tear down.” DeAngelo’s catering has done just that since 1982.

“You’ll never experience what business is like today, until today. With the ever changing business environment in today’s economy, it was critical to focus on growth and profitability,” he said. “The SBDC really taught me to do what I do best, and to outsource the rest.”

One of the biggest advantages of using the SBDC for Steve has been the opportunity to grow his business to the point he can enjoy life outside of the kitchen. He has taken many of the principles he learned in the SBDC classes and applied them to his nonprofit work. DeAngelo is chair of Potluck in the Park, which has been hosting a dinner every Sunday for anyone in need of a hot meal for the last 23 years.

“I love it.” Steve said. “It keeps my drive alive and I’m able to bring what I have learned from SBDC and my business to the nonprofit side of my life.”

Connect with us today

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