The BistroClient Stories
Craig Alderson has a history seeped in delicious food. His resume includes teaching others to cook in Arkansas Tech University’s Hospitality and Continuing Education departments and in Dallas on the Project Husband show. Alderson has judged dishes in SkillsUSA competitions and has cooked at Mount Magazine Lodge and Chamberlyne Country Club. Before opening his own restaurant, he was one of twelve chefs chosen to cook at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Arts VIP dinner. Among patrons at the event were the Bushes, the Clintons, the Tysons, the Waltons, and Vera Wang. His vast experience as a chef led Alderson to fulfill his dream of opening his own restaurant.
The Bistro opened in June and serves made-from-scratch Italian recipes including salads; chicken, seafood, beef, and pork dishes; pizza; sandwiches and desserts. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are also served. Monthly live music enhances the already-inviting atmosphere and features local artists.
Alderson came to the Arkansas Tech ASBTDC to get licensing and permit information for his new restaurant. He obtained market research as well to discover the market potential for his new endeavor. Of his experience with the ASBTDC Alderson remarked, “This is an invaluable service for small businesses. Any questions I had were answered immediately. They are “plugged in” and know how to do the groundwork to start a business, which can be so difficult.”
Through the ASBTDC, Alderson also participated in a Money & Banking student project. ATU students researched different financing options on his behalf and reported their findings to him. “It was nice to see the different options for collateral, interest rates, and terms. The students saved me quite a bit of time by doing the leg work for me,” he said.
The Bistro is located at 27 South 1st Street in Paris, Arkansas. Lunch is served seven days a week, and dinner is served Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Stop by and enjoy a meal or see photos of his mouth-watering dishes on Facebook.
Other Client Stories
Using recipes handed down from past generations, Cisco and Dana Olvera recently opened Cisco's Authentic Tex-Mex restaurant in Dover. The Olveras previously owned and operated a restaurant in Texas and are happy to be sharing special recipes with the people in and around Dover. From enchiladas and fajitas to sopapilla cheesecake, all menu items are made daily from scratch. "Even our hot sauce is made from scratch," says owner and cook, Cisco Olvera.
Before they opened, Dana Olvera came to the ASBTDC for information about accounting and payroll, workflow procedures, and to make sure they were compliant with licenses and permits for their restaurant. "We were at a loss for how to do our payroll and bookkeeping for the restaurant. I went to the ATU College of Business and was pointed to the ASBTDC. There, I was given the information I needed to handle the payroll and bookkeeping for our business," said Dana Olvera. "They also gave me helpful information on restaurant processes, portion control, menu pricing, marketing, and other things to get us on the right track."
The Olveras opened in March and have two full-time and four part-time employees to serve their patrons. Cisco's Authentic Tex-Mex is open Tuesday through Saturday and located on Highway 7, across from the post office in Dover. Stop by for lunch or dinner or visit them on Facebook.
Nails by Mike & Vicky opened in November as a full-service nail salon specializing in artificial nails, nail designs, manicures, pedicures, and more. Before they could begin business, the new owners needed assistance to start their business. "The ASBTDC helped me understand the forms we needed to fill out and the paperwork that was required to start our business," said owner Mike Lam. Because English is not their first language, the Lams wanted to make sure they understood the barrage of paperwork that comes with opening a business.
"Sometimes the little things can be obstacles for entrepreneurs. Our office helps by doing things like reviewing lease agreements to ensure the terms are understood and pointing people in the right direction to obtain their licenses and permits so they can operate their new business in a legal manner, " said business consultant , Nathan George of the ASBTDC. "With over fifteen years of experience in their craft, the Lams know nails. They just needed a little help on the business side, and that's what we do."
Stop by Nails by Mike & Vicky at 2410 East Parkway, Suite 2, and welcome the Lams to Russellville or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NailsbyMikeandVicky.
The Brain Storm Agency officially opened its doors on September 15, 2014. After doing freelance design work and working as a lead graphic designer at a local news outlet, Emily Young decided to go out on her own.
Young visited the Arkansas Tech office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) for startup assistance. She obtained help with her loan documents so that she could go forward and move into her office. Young also received free market research from the center and came away with key industry and market information pertinent to her business. To help Young find clients, the ASBTDC worked with her to define her target market, to understand business-to-business marketing techniques, and helped her generate a lead list to begin working her business.
Of her experience, Young said, "The ASBTDC team is friendly, welcoming, and there to help you in any way they can. Not to mention it's free! They helped me think through business decisions, really consider certain choices, and loaded me up with tons of reading material that I couldn't have done without. They are a godsend."
The Brain Storm Agency is located in Russellville at 103 North Fargo Avenue. Visit them at: www.thebrainstormagency.com
Serving more than 8,400 clients and growing, George Termite & Pest Control has outgrown its current location on State Highway 22 West in Dardanelle.
Dusty George wanted to know his best option for funding his expansion, but he didn't have time to do the research himself. He joined in on a money and banking student project. Students investigated four loan options, prepared a report, and presented their findings to George. "The students did the work and showed me that I could afford to make the expansion happen. I went to the bank with the report that the students provided and did exactly what the plan recommended" said George.
George obtained a loan for $117,000. He is constructing a brand new building across the highway from his existing location which is scheduled to open in July 2014.
Visit them in their new location at 1966 State Highway 22 West in Dardanelle or on the web at www.georgetermite.com.
Arkansas River Valley food enthusiasts can spend more time cooking and less time driving now that a local option for gourmet kitchen supplies is available. Kitchen Essentials owner, Becki Bryson, said she made the decision to open the store when she realized there was need in the community.
Bryson started doing research on her idea. While looking at the SBA website, she discovered an ASBTDC office right here in Russellville. "Without their help with market research, advice, and encouragement, we would not have been able to put everything together for our business plan. The help we received really made me realize my dream was possible," Bryson said about her experience with the ASBTDC.
Kitchen Essentials offerings include, "everything you need for a kitchen," according to Bryson. In addition to kitchenware and small appliances that can't be found elsewhere in the River Valley, the store has food and gadgets. Food items include a variety of dip mixes, sauces, fresh-roasted coffee beans, and more. They also have the River Valley's first olive oil station which allows customers to save money on high-quality olive oil by reusing their bottles.
Kitchen Essentials is located in the Russellville City Mall at 407 N. Arkansas Avenue. Visit them at www.facebook.com/KitchenEssentialsInc
Dusty Walker has always enjoyed working on a farm, and owning his own farm has been
a dream come true for him. "I knew that obtaining financing for these new expensive
houses would be tough, so I contacted Nathan George of the ATU ASBTDC. Not only did
I know that Nathan had over two decades of banking experience, but that he also had
over 30 years' experience running a large poultry operation. Nathan was knowledgeable
in our discussions of new equipment requirements, chicken house placement on the farm,
and income returns that each size house would bring. He helped me with details like
cash flow forecasting and other information for my loan refinancing which allowed
me to build these two new houses."
Walker obtained a loan for $840,000 for the construction of two chicken houses and the refinancing of his current farm. Walker recently completed his first batch of chickens with the new houses. His farm's performance was near the top of the charts which increased his earning for that batch. He was very excited about how well his new equipment and computers performed and has plans to add additional chicken houses in the future. He said he would definitely continue to work with the ATU ASBTDC to help him reach his business goals.
The first private welding school in the state recently opened in Pottsville. United Welding Institute (UWI) is licensed by the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education. Owner and instructor, Jonathan Humphrey, started his school to meet the need for qualified welders in different industries. While working in the oil fields, Humphrey observed the difficulty employers had in finding newly-trained skilled welders. United Welding Institute uses a hands-on approach to training students in TIG, MIG, and arc welding and prepares them for state certification and employer testing as qualified welders.
Humphrey has worked with the ASBTDC since 2012 to bring his dream to fruition and said, "The ASBTDC helped me by showing me different ways to market my school. They also helped me find the right agency to obtain my license in private career education which was critical to getting started." Humphrey's office staff recently attended an ASBTDC seminar and rated it as overall "excellent."
The school is located at Exit 88, right off of Interstate 40 on Mountain Base Road. Humphrey invites area companies to tour his facility and discuss their specific welding needs with him. Students interested in a career in welding should contact the school at (479) 264-2495 or gain more information by visiting their website at United Welding Institute.
Cyclone Car Wash
Cyclone Car Wash owners, Matthew Wilkins and Bob Lorimer, wanted to provide the latest
technology for their customers to get a clean vehicle using an environmentally friendly
process. To fulfill this goal, the partners purchased an existing car wash on the
west side of Russellville and have turned it into the most modern car wash in Russellville.
The ASBTDC assisted the clients with their loan package and helped them in determining viable financing options to purchase and renovate their car wash. "We really appreciate the assistance the ASBTDC gave us during the planning process of our business. The information and data they helped us obtain was a very important part of the development process," said Wilkins.
The owners invite you to visit their car wash and experience the convenience and quality they offer. Cyclone Car Wash is located at 2614 West Main Street in Russellville.
Joshua's Fine Jewelry brings three-dimensional technology to the ancient art of jewelry making using an innovative, new custom design system. The store recently remodeled its sales floor and added the 3D customization system in an effort to attract and meet the needs of more customers.
"Our goal is to be a cross-generational retail business, so we requested market research from Arkansas Tech's ASBTDC to find out what consumers want," said store owner Chris George. "The information we were given gave us insight into what people of all ages in our area want. The market research also included industry analysis and retail floor plans which helped us decide on the right layout for our store. Now that we have the technology and the information we need, we are taking customizing to another level. Our customers are instrumental in designing their purchases, and they can see their piece develop right before their eyes. It is fascinating to watch their faces when they see that digital render."
This innovative new custom jewelry design system is only available at select jewelry stores across the country. Stop in at Joshua's for a free, no-obligation demonstration at 310 W. Main in Russellville or go Joshua's Fine Jewelry.
Cathy George is on a mission to help people get healthy. Her passion is teaching people to make their lives more healthful. "Going on a diet is not a solution, so we teach people skills for healthy living that leads to real, permanent changes. Eating right is just a piece of the puzzle. We work with the whole person through counseling, nutrition and fitness to make these changes something each person can live with" said George.
After opening her new wellness center, Cathy George came to the ASBTDC for assistance in marketing including improving her web presence. "When you are in business on your own, it's difficult to know the steps to take to get your name out there. I knew I needed a website but didn't know where to start." George attended an ASBTDC seminar entitled, "Small Business Website Planning and Marketing" in October and had her professional-looking website up and running shortly thereafter. "I never thought I could do this myself, but after the class I investigated the different web services discussed during the seminar and chose one that fit my needs. It was helpful to know how to organize the site and plan it out beforehand so once I got started I had a vision of what it should be. The website I built represents my business; not someone else's idea of Healthy U" added George. "The help that the ASBTDC gave me helped me improve my online presence so people who want to improve their lives can find me." Healthy U is accepting new clients and is located at 911 West B Street in Russellville and online at Healthy U.
Michelle Litterst is the new owner of Rendezvous Formal Wear & Party Planning in Russellville.
The ASBTDC assisted Michelle with financial planning, market research, and other business
assistance throughout the process of purchasing this existing business and making
it her own.
Michelle says, "The ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech not only provided me and my husband with support for our new business, but they also built a trusting friendship with us. The ASBTDC always stops by to check up on things and provides us with additional information that might benefit our business. The Tech team goes above and beyond to make sure I have all the resources and information that will make my formal wear shop succeed. This whole experience has been a blessing to me and my husband."
The business is located at 208 West Main Street, Russellville and online at Rendezvous Formal Wear.