Submitted by Dan Crites on Thu, 04/20/2006 - 2:10pm.
It's always nice to hear success stories. Here are three from the Small Bussiness Association, winners and runners-up for the 2006 National Small Business Person of the Year Award.
Eric A. Hoover of Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, who overcame childhood rheumatoid arthritis and built a thriving machine tool company from scratch in the scenic northwestern Pennsylvania resort town where he was born and raised, was recognized as National Small Business Person of the Year.
Hoover's company, Excalibur Machine Company was founded in 1988. Excalibur provides original equipment manufacturing, machining and fabricating services for major manufacturing companies. In the past five years Excalibur has experienced continual growth in a difficult industry, and has posted sales growth of more than 350 percent, giving Hoover the time to launch three other companies: Camelot Consolidated, a sales organization; Blade Transport, a trucking firm and Lancelot Construction, a construction firm.
Andrew Field, the first runner-up, is what one might call a “serial entrepreneur,” having launched three successful businesses since 1976. His current venture, PrintingForLess.com, started in 1999 with 6 employees and $600,000 annual sales when a customer at his conventional print shop asked him to print a brochure that had been created on a computer.
Today, that company has grown to 125 employees, posting more than $20 million in sales, and is working on the construction of a 46,500 sq. foot, state-of-the-art facility set for completion in May 2006. PrintingForLess.com has been named to Inc. Magazine's 500 fastest growing companies in the United States for a third year in a row, and is a leader in the field of Internet- based color printing.
Big dreams, new ideas, perseverance and SBA financial backing gave the second runner-up, Robert 'Leroy' Shatto, the drive and wherewithal to save his family's dairy farm and restore its profitability. Marrying into a family that had been milking Holsteins in Missouri since the 1800s, Shatto embraced new ideas and equipment that turned him from a producer who sold his milk to other processors into a bottler who sells a variety of finished dairy products directly to stores.
After consulting with SCORE, Shatto developed the idea of reaching out to families with great-tasting raw milk with no hormones or chemicals added. Through dogged determination to succeed, several SBA-backed loans and timely business counseling and assistance, Shatto Farms, Inc., today employs 20 full-time and part-time employees, delivers its products to 56 stores, and has become a home-grown small business success story.