Client Stories 



The Floral Court
Floral Court

Husband and wife team, Courtney and Tyler Haisty, realized their dream of starting their own business when they opened The Floral Court in January.

Both alumni of Arkansas Tech University, Courtney received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in business. “My business degree from ATU has helped in so many ways with the business. If I could point to one thing specifically, it would be the project we did in my Money & Banking class with an ASBTDC client.” said Tyler. In that project, students were matched with a startup business to assess and report on funding options for that business. “That class taught me what the basics of starting a business were and what tools to utilize. I know I use those tools every day.”

Courtney explained that her reason for wanting to start a business was so that she could push her floral design and creativity to its greatest potential. “Having my own shop of some kind was a dream I had growing up. I have always been an artsy person & dabbled in all things crafty. Not long after I started working as a floral designer, I knew I had found my niche and wanted to eventually open my own flower shop.”

The Haistys came to the ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech University for assistance with their project. They worked with business consultant, Ronda Hawkins, who helped them throughout the business planning process, the loan request preparation phase, and the startup process.  

Courtney found the step-by-step startup steps for business formation, licenses, permits, and best practices the most helpful. “We had no idea where to begin, but the ASBTDC made the process much smoother, and it was comforting having someone to go to with all our questions,” said Courtney.

Tyler found the market research and how to budget/project what their business could achieve the most helpful. “The projections that the ASBTDC helped us with better set us up for understanding how much we needed for start-up as well as how much we needed to be profitable,” remarked Tyler.

When asked to share her thoughts with other entrepreneurs, Courtney exclaimed, “If you have a dream that seems so far out of reach, but it keeps you awake at night, go for it. Starting a business from the ground up is no easy task, but it is definitely worth the work. Make use of programs such as the services provided by ASBTDC so that you are aware of the risks and are better equipped for the project.”

Visit The Floral Court at 911 East Main Street in Russellville, online at, or learn more on Facebook.


Client Stories


Russellville Physical Therapy

Russellville Physical Therapy


Laken Hoover contacted the Arkansas Tech University ASBTDC in August of 2021, with the dream of opening a physical therapy clinic with her husband, Wesley. Living in Hot Springs Village at the time, they wanted to live closer to Dardanelle, Laken’s home town. Russellville Physical Therapy, Inc. opened in September of this year.

In addition to receiving assistance from the ASBTDC to financially analyze the project and prepare for the loan process, market research was prepared for the couple.

 “Before we even started our business plan, my business consultant, Ronda Hawkins, and the ASBTDC helped to create an analysis of the feasibility of opening our particular type of business in the Russellville area. They compared competition and other data in Russellville to similar towns to see how many businesses other towns could support. This was so helpful!” exclaimed Laken.

Laken and Wesley have been practicing physical therapy for the past five years. Laken, who holds a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and Wesley, who is pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, want freedom in treating patients their own way. “Our patients are at the forefront of our priorities, and we would like to have full control of how we see them, when we see them and for how long we see them without outside pressure and metrics driving our decisions,” said Laken.

Russellville Physical Therapy offers personalized exercises, manual therapy, and other techniques to improve flexibility and strength and to alleviate pain and balance deficits for their patients.

Russellville Physical Therapy is located at 1703 West Main Street in Russellville. Learn more at 479-567-5754 or  


Ten Tiny Toes Imaging Studio


With the assistance of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas Tech University, Darcy Pearson opened Ten Tiny Toes Imaging Studio in Clarksville on March 1.

At her new business, Darcy uses the skills she has learned as an ultrasound technician to let new babies introduce themselves before they are born and create an experience for the entire family. Siblings, grandparents, and parents-to-be can all be part of that experience and have 3D and 4D ultrasound keepsake images and merchandise to celebrate baby’s upcoming arrival.

“The ASBTDC was a huge asset when I was starting my business. I was given information on how to estimate revenue vs cost of business, everything I needed to file in order to start my business, and help filing those things. Any time I have had a question or needed help with something Ronda (Hawkins) has responded very quickly. She is incredibly knowledgeable and willing to help.

It’s certainly not easy running your own business! But it is extremely rewarding when you see your hard work start to pay off! I would encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a business or even already has one to utilize the resources ASBTDC offers. It was invaluable to me, and I could not have done it without their help!” said Darcy about the assistance she received from the center at ATU.

Visit Ten Tiny Toes Imaging Studio at 1307 West Main Street in Clarksville or on Facebook or learn more at 479-774-6958.


Big Cuppa

Big Cuppa

It started with a phone call to Ronda Hawkins in the regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center located at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

From there, Jaime Krutz gained the expertise she needed to help her and her husband, Marty, grow their small business in Morrilton.

Three years later, Big Cuppa LLC is a multi-site operation with 13 employees that is helping lead a revitalization of Morrilton’s downtown and Krutz is the 2022 Arkansas small business person of the year.

She was presented with the award during a virtual ceremony that coincided with National Small Business Week.

“I was introduced to ASBTDC in my second year of business when Big Cuppa wanted to start roasting our own coffee beans,” said Krutz in a news release from ASBTDC. “Ronda Hawkins, the director at ATU’s ASBTDC, helped me with my projections and formalizing the roasting business plan. This allowed us to receive a loan from our bank to purchase the equipment.”

In addition to equipment financing, Hawkins has helped Krutz navigate the COVID-19 relief funding application process and become involved with the U.S. Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders program.

“I have attended numerous ASBTDC seminars, especially during the first year of COVID-19,” said Krutz. “Ronda made sure I was aware of all the programs offered to small businesses, the due dates and guidance on all those forms. At a recent seminar on (search engine optimization), I made a connection with a commercial loan officer that financed our newest roasting facility. I also learned that I will be outsourcing SEO. Sometimes those seminars let you know when you should delegate.”

Learn more about the regional ASBTDC office at ATU by visiting

“As a full-service roastery, coffee shop business planning is part of the services we offer,” said Krutz. “I refer 100 percent of my new clients in the area to Ronda Hawkins at Arkansas Tech University ASBTDC.”


Hound Town

Hound Town


Luisa Santos wanted to create a space for grooming where dogs can be dogs. With the assistance of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas Tech University, she now owns and operates such a business.

Luisa came to the ASBTDC in June of 2021 with the goal of leaving her job as a dog groomer and opening her own salon. She received assistance with assessing the financial viability of her project, and she received step-by-step guidance with the business startup process. “The most meaningful assistance the ASBTDC provided for my business was guidance. I was overwhelmed with where to even begin.

Ronda was like a fairy godparent I could lean on, listening to my concerns, reassuring me that I was on the right track, and bringing my attention to the parts of starting a business I never knew about. Knowing that I have access to that fountain of knowledge has taken a weight off my shoulders,” exclaimed Luisa. Hound Town LLC opened on August 24.

I have often daydreamed about working for myself, but I never thought I would actually start my own business. I am so thankful I decided to gamble on myself and go for it. The more I learn, the more learning I realize I have to do, and I have a new hunger for knowledge. While at times clumsy, I continue to take strides forward and I cannot wait to see where this adventure leads me,” said Luisa about her entrepreneurial journey.

Hound Town is located at 411 North Elmira Avenue, Suite 2, in Russellville. Learn more at or on Facebook.


Gulletts Custom Cuts

Gulletts Family

Brothers, Allen and Johnny Gullett, opened Gullett’s Custom Cuts on July 17, one year after contacting the ASBTDC for assistance with their project.

Prior to opening their custom meat processing business, Allen worked in meat packing for a number of years. “Our motivation for this business was to help farmers and ranchers get their cattle processed in this community instead of having to drive way off. We have also wanted to start a family-owned business for a long time that could help us reach our financial needs,” remarked Allen.

 “Our relationship with the ASBTDC during our start on this journey was very helpful,” said Allen of the assistance they received, which included assistance with their business plan and projections for their lender. “They also helped us know what was expected of us as for getting licenses and what we needed to do to get our LLC started. We learned a lot from the information the ASBTDC provided us. We are very grateful for their assistance in our business journey.”

Trying to construct the meat processing house during a pandemic was a challenge for the family. “The pandemic had banks unsure of any kind of loans,” said Allen. While building their facility, material costs were in short supply, making the building phase take longer and cost more than originally estimated. “We were able to get Centennial Bank to give us the loan. They were the only financial institution that would even give us a chance.”

When asked about what he learned in starting his business, Allen remarked, “I have learned one real valuable lesson: figure in all the small expenses you can think of because they add up real fast when you are building a business from the ground up; don’t overlook the little things.”

Gullett’s Custom Cuts specializes in processing beef, pork, and venison for individuals such as farmers and hunters. They are located at 129 Dooger Loop in Hattieville, AR. Learn more at 501-669-2538 or at


Lola's Blessed Bean

 Lola's Blessed Bean

Racheal Calderon recently opened Lola’s Blessed Bean in Greenwood, with the assistance of the ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech University. The coffee shop opened on March 13 and offers a variety of desserts, teas and coffees.

Racheal showed strong determination to become a business owner while working with her ASBTDC business consultant. “Being a single parent is not easy. Getting my little coffee shop up and running was hard. Because I was doing this all on my own, this project took me a lot longer than I wanted. I spent a lot of time praying and regrouping. God kept telling/showing me that it was not time, yet. He saved me from opening before the pandemic,” said Racheal.

When asked about the inspiration for the business and its name, Racheal explained, “The name, “Lola's Blessed Bean" is to honor my grandmother. She gave me my first cup of coffee and taught me to show everyone unconditional love and acceptance. The Lord laid opening up a coffee shop on me, not only to honor the memory of the countless cups of coffee that I shared with my grandmother and grandfather, but also to honor the memory of my grandmother's sense of community and love for others.”

It took time for her dream to become a reality. Racheal and her business consultant stayed in touch throughout the process, working on projections, developing business plan, and discussing startup steps and other details in preparation for the time to open. “Being able to have the ASBTDC and Ronda help me during this whole process was a complete blessing. I have developed the confidence and abilities necessary to be successful. I know that because of the endless hours of coaching, counseling, and assistance developing my business plan and projections with Ronda that Lola's Blessed Bean will be successful.”

Lola’s Blessed Bean is located at 9 North Main Street in Greenwood. Learn more at 479-597-3300 or









106 West O Street • Russellville, AR 72801 • 479.356.2067

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