Chonda Loder, a dedicated fitness professional, faced several challenges when starting Foxtrot Industries BG. Her dream of creating a Veteran-Owned, women-focused gym to support new moms required a solid business plan. She needed to address issues such as market analysis, financial projections, and operational strategies to ensure her gym's success. Chonda's passion was evident, but she needed guidance to translate it into a viable business venture.
Chonda turned to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help. With the assistance of her SBDC Business Coach, Brittanie Dawson, she crafted a comprehensive business plan. Brittanie provided valuable insights, resources, and expertise to shape Chonda's vision into a practical roadmap for success. The coaching allowed Chonda to refine her objectives, financial projections, and marketing strategies, ensuring her gym's long-term sustainability. Armed with this plan, Chonda was well-prepared to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.
In July 2022, the town of Fleming-Neon, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, experienced a devastating flood that left many residents, including the Kincer family, in a dire situation. The Kincers, owners of Busy B's Flower and passionate dance and gymnastics instructors, awoke to find their business and homes destroyed. Their flower shop, which had been a labor of love since its inception in 2000, was in ruins. The floodwaters had left a trail of destruction, and everything they had built over the years was lost. Cleaning up the aftermath of the flood was an overwhelming task. Mud, glass, water, debris, and unimaginable challenges must be faced. The Kincers and their family and friends embarked on the daunting journey of rebuilding their lives and business from scratch.
"Without the visit from the Kentucky SBDC on that fated day, we would not have known about the grant application from the Foundation of Appalachian Kentucky and would not have applied in time."
Amid this crisis, Michelle Spriggs from the Kentucky SBDC and Kyle Smith from the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) visited Fleming-Neon and surrounding areas to offer support and inform business owners about available resources, including emergency business loan programs and grants. Many business owners, including the Kincers, were so engrossed in cleaning up their establishments that they hadn't explored these options. Michelle Spriggs sat down with Bonnie Kincer and assisted her in completing a grant application through the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. This crucial step, facilitated by the SBDC, provided the Kincers with much-needed financial assistance to begin recovery.
Seth and Tabitha Manea harbored a dream of owning the iconic Calvert Drive-In Movie Theater, but this aspiration came with unique challenges, even for experienced business owners like them. While they possessed valuable entrepreneurial expertise, the specific intricacies of purchasing and operating a drive-in movie theater posed uncharted territory. The Maneas recognized the need for a well-structured business plan and financial projections to navigate this endeavor successfully.
"I sat down with Aaron and we spoke for almost an hour. We talked about logistics of starting the business back up, operating, and challenges we might face. He put my business plan on paper in a format that SBA would understand. We crunched numbers and put profit and loss projections on paper so we could see our break even point to determine if the potential reward was worth the risk. I don't know if buying the drive-in would have been possible without this,"
The Maneas sought assistance from the SBDC in Paducah to transform their dream into reality. Business Coach Aaron Harned played a pivotal role in their journey. Together, they delved into the intricacies of reopening and operating the drive-in. Aaron guided them through crafting a comprehensive business plan that would serve as a roadmap and meet the standards required by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Seth Manea and Aaron discussed various aspects during their consultations, from logistical considerations to potential challenges. Aaron translated these discussions into a structured business plan that met the SBA's criteria. The collaboration also involved crunching numbers to create profit and loss projections, allowing the Maneas to gauge their break-even point and assess whether the venture was financially viable. In Seth Manea's words, the support from the SBDC and Aaron Harned was indispensable, making their dream of owning the drive-in tangible.
Thanks to the guidance and support of the SBDC and Aaron Harned, the Maneas were able to successfully reopen the Calvert Drive-In just a few weeks after finalizing the purchase. Their timing was impeccable, aligning with the busy summer season, which is a prime time for drive-in movie theaters. Today, you can visit their website, https://www.thecalvertdrivein.com/, to find showtimes and visitor information, a testament to the Maneas' achievement in acquiring and efficiently operating the iconic Calvert Drive-In Movie Theater. Their story exemplifies how expert guidance and a well-structured business plan can turn ambitious dreams into thriving businesses, enriching the community and providing entertainment for all.