ST. GEORGE – Small Business Administration officials toured two successful small companies Thursday. This comes following the announcement of a Utah record of more than $500 million in guaranteed loans facilitated by the Small Business Administration.
Betsy Markey, Small Business Administration region VIII administrator, and Utah SBA District Director Stan Nakano were visiting Southern Utah to get a sense of what is going on in the area, to meet with small business owners and to promote Nov. 26 as Small Business Saturday in Utah as proclaimed by Gov. Gary Herbert.
As part of their trip, Markey and Nakano visited the St. George businesses of Design to Print and Forever Young Fine Jewelers. Both businesses have used the services of the agency.
Design to Print
Design to Print is a locally owned 21-year-old business that has grown a national customer base. The company utilized a $2.5 million SBA loan to make improvements to a 30,000-square-foot facility at 175 North 400 East in St. George, which the company moved into in June.
The company prints everything from campaign signs to billboards to building wraps, Josh Bevans, owner of Design to Print, said. “We wouldn’t be in here without the SBA.”
Josh Bevans runs Design to Print along with Stefanie Bevans, who is CEO of the company.
Only 5 percent of Design to Print’s business is from Utah. The company does a booming business in materials for trade shows in Las Vegas.
Design to Print has an environmental emphasis, using VOC-free print process, biodegradable fabrics and water-based ink.
The couple also owns Steamroller Copies and has a second Design to Print location in Las Vegas, employing about 80 people.
Forever Young Fine Jewelry
New business Forever Young Fine Jewelry, located at 41 N. Main St., also benefited from the Small Business Administration help. Owners Jeremy and Megan Young purchased the jewelry store from McArthur Jewelers, which closed in November 2015 after being in business for 65 years.
Read more: Iconic Main Street jeweler closes its doors
Jeremy Young, who owns the business along with his wife Megan Young, said the Small Business Development Center really helped with fine-tune their business plan and get the paperwork ready for the banks.
“That’s the part I was really nervous about – pitching it to the banks,” Jeremy Young said.
The Youngs received coaching in how to approach the banks and how to follow up.
“I felt pretty strong with my business plan,” Jeremy Young said, “but the funding aspect of it, there’s no way I would have been able to do it.”
The business has been able to employ several people who formerly worked for McArthur Jewelers, including those responsible for jewelry repair, watch repair and jewelry appraisals and also members of the sales staff.
While in Southern Utah, Nakano and Markey also met with Dixie State University President Richard Williams and Southern Utah University President Scott Wyatt.
“We just really want people to support and appreciate what small businesses do for the economy and the community,” Nakano said.
Markey, a former U.S. Representative for Colorado who oversees the agency’s small business programs and services in Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, has good reason to be enthusiastic about the Small Business Administration.
She and her husband launched a successful technology company, Syscom Services, in the 1980s. It was one of the first companies to market email and subsequently expanded into web design and web-based information management systems.
“We went to a small business development center and the advice that they provided to us was really invaluable to get us off to a good start,” Markey said.
“Our focus – we started in 1953 under President Eisenhower – is that small businesses create two out of every three jobs in our communities,” Markey said. “Our role is to make sure that those companies are able to get off the ground.”
According to the 2015 Utah Annual Report, the state experienced an all-time record for Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans – $538.1 million.
From August 2014 to July 2015, Utah led the nation with 57.43 SBA loans per 100,000 people.
Utah continues to be recognized as one of the nation’s leading states for small business growth and development. From 2010 to 2013, Utah enjoyed 4.3 percent small business growth, ranking number 3 nationwide, the report states.
Utah received a $395,000 grant from SBA to support the agency’s State Trade and Export Promotion program. The grant supports small business foreign trade missions and sales trips, international marketing campaigns, export training workshops and more.
Jeff Mather is a counselor at the St. George Small Business Development Center, which is funded by the SBA, Dixie State University and Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
“We assist businesses with ‘no cost’ confidential business assistance,” Mather said. “It may range from starting to growing to selling. We can work with clients to provide assistance with bank loan applications and paperwork and develop business plan advice.”
The center also sponsors classes for client businesses in many areas including social media, basic website development, accounting, human resources and more.
The St. George Small Business Development Center was awarded the 2016 Utah Small Business Development Center “Center for Excellence and Innovation Award” from the Small Business Administration for the second time in four years. The center is one of 11 in Utah, and 1,100 throughout the United States.
The Utah SBDC Network is administered from Utah State University in Logan. The St. George SBDC serves the businesses of Washington and Kane Counties.
The St. George SBDC has an experienced staff committed to providing the services needed by their clients. For more information visit the website.
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