Here are just a few Pathway to Work client success stories - new businesses, and jobs created.
Julia Heinlein became unemployed when the medical practice where she worked for many years dissolved. Julia is a nurse practitioner, and wanted to continue to use her professional skills. Through the Pathway to Work Program she started Vanish Laser Studio, located at 875 Islington St., Portsmouth, NH. She receives help from SBDC business advisor Katherine McCormick of the Seacoast SBDC Center and NH Employment Security. Vanish Laser Studio provides laser spider vein removal and hair removal, using a medical grade laser. Julia is trained and certified in the use of the laser, and with her nursing background, training and specialized equipment, Vanish Laser Studio offers a level of expertise and service above the norm. As her business grows, Julia will add laser tattoo removal. The SBDC is now working with Julia on market plan development and refining her financial projections.
Holly Morin, a lifelong Keene resident and pet lover, began her career working for an IT services firm in Keene and also for an insurance company. Around this same time she became active with the Canine Agility Training Society (CATS), where she became passionate about dogs, dog training and agility classes and competitions. She began traveling around the country with her award-winning keeshonds competing, and winning agility trials – her dogs have placed in the top 10 nationally a number of times. Unfortunately in 2013 Holly lost her job as a sales manager for a pet food manufacturer, making her passion much more difficult to achieve. In August of the same year, Holly applied to participate in the newly launched Pathway to Work program, signed into law just a couple of weeks prior by Governor Hassan. Once accepted, she immediately and purposefully began work with SBDC Keene Regional Manager Rich Grogan on many aspects of starting a business, including gathering research, crafting a business plan and obtaining a loan. “It’s a great program…if it wasn’t in place, I wouldn’t be here. I would never have taken the risk…It’s pretty intense…he (Grogan) helped with everything. I wrote my business plan in a month. I’m a steamroller. But you have a deadline, and unemployment benefits only last about six months,” said Morin. Grogan states that Morin was “a lot of fun to work with…a dream client. She had a very clear vision of what she wanted, and the determination to make it happen no matter what.” That determination paid off, and on December 20, 2013 Morin opened The Fuzzy Dog Pet Specialty Store and Training Center in Fitzwilliam, selling upscale dog and cat food, supplies and toys, and offering on-site dog and puppy obedience and agility training.
Reinig at podium at Pathway to Work Recognition Event with L to R: Mary Collins, NH SBDC, Sen. Boutin, Governor Hassah, Senator Larsen
Reinig Morris has been in the newspaper and media business for ten years, most recently in digital marketing. He and his business partner (web developer Todd Perkins) have developed easy-to-use software which takes social media and other content and instantly “streams” it from the source to content blocks and advertising spaces within media-focused websites. Through Pathway to Work, Reinig has started Platypost LLC, along with Todd. The company sells to locally focused media companies. Andrea O’Brien of the Manchester SBDC center has helped Platypost to grow their revenue base to 40 current media clients, with projections of more than 100 clients by the end of 2014.
In March, 2014 Governor Hassan visited with Pathway to Work and SBDC client Rob Brown and his family as they celebrated the opening of their new business, B3 Crossfit, in Weare. SBDC business advisor Amy Rodman worked with Rob on website development, social media and business planning which has resulted in B3 Crossfit and 2 new jobs!
Amy with clients at the ribbon cutting
Governor Maggie Hassan with Rob Brown and family
Karen Koutsavlis, a personal trainer from Auburn, had been considering starting her own business for a while. When she was laid off in 2013 she used that as an opportunity to start the business she had been longing to launch. Through the Pathway to Work program and advising sessions with SBDC advisor Andrea O’Brien, Karen was able to do just that. “I went to school for exercise science, not business. Creating a business plan and focusing on cash flow was difficult, also learning how to price services instead of products was a real challenge” states Koutsavlis, who credits the SBDC with providing her with the confidence she needed to move forward. “I felt Andrea was as excited about my company as I was. With no one else in the actual company, it gave me a boost every time we met to keep plugging away…she also helped me connect with other businesses in the area that could benefit from what I offer.” Karen’s business, New England 360 Fitness, now offers a variety of on-site small group training workouts for businesses, private in-home training, and classes on prenatal fitness and mommy-and-me fitness and there are plans to expand those offerings. While Karen readily admits that it is a real challenge to work for yourself and that she has “never worked so hard in her life,” she wakes up every morning and can’t wait to get up and do what she loves to do. She enjoys working and being able to control her own hours and services, and can now focus on doing what she does and doing it the best!