If you love your mountain neighborhoods, help keep local jobs and services here: “Think local” when you make out your holiday shopping list this year. Santa’s found an exciting banquet of gift opportunities in the December “Shop the Mountain” special issue of The Mountain Pioneer. Don’t forget the Pine Mountain Holiday Crafts Fair on Saturday, Nov. 28 and the Fantasy of Lights Holiday Faire and Parade on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Frazier Park.
All Mountain Business Owners and Managers are invited to the next Synergy Business Lunch Thursday, Jan. 21 at Noon at Los Pinos Restaurant. RSVP to Editor@MountainEnterprise.com, subject: Synergy
By Patric Hedlund
“When times get tough, the tough get going” used to be an idle cliché. Today it is an accurate description of how small business people on the mountain are developing Synergy Summit business groups to research and bring resources to the Mountain Communities.
The next event is January 21 at noon at Los Pinos Restaurant. Funding through the Kern Microenterprise Opportunity Program (KMOP) will be explained. “Think Big, Start Small” is their motto. They offer low (or no) interest loans up to $50,000 from federal community development programs rather than a bank. Paul Sippel, Economic Development Program Manager for Kern County’s Community and Economic Development Department will be here.
On Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19-20 Diane Howerton, the Regional Director of University of Merced’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC, a partnership of the University of California and the U.S. Small Business Administration, based in Fresno) was invited by The Mountain Enterprise to come up to meet local business people and to learn what is needed here to develop local expertise and infrastructure.
Howerton is an energetic woman with a talent for listening and zest for linking business people with tools and marketing ideas.
She arrived Thursday night, met some of the local Rotary members and old friend Professor Fred Kiesner of Pinon Pines (for whom a $5 million endowment for entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University has just been named). That evening, Frank and Michelle Maga were her gracious hosts at their Cuddy Valley home.
On Friday morning Howerton toured the mountain region from Apache Saddle through Pine Mountain Village to Mount Pinos, Frazier Park and the Visitors’ Kiosk that is being built in Lebec.
At the noon lunch Howerton listened carefully to 22 business people tell of their goals and needs. She suggested that a SBDC satellite office can be established here, which can offer one-on-one business consulting to individual business owners to solve specific problems, as well as a series of management and entrepreneurship training workshops. There is no charge for these services to the business owner.
The program can start out with SBDC funding, which will need to be matched dollar for dollar. The match can be 50 percent in-kind donations. For example, $20,000 to initiate the consulting and training sequence can be secured from SBDC if our business community can raise $5,000 in cash and $5,000 of in-kind donations (such as a donated location to serve as an office and another facility where workshops can be held).
At the Synergy Summit lunch, we heard from Peter Bogdanoff of Chatterpillar. He is seeking funding to start an additional business and needs to develop his business plan and financial projections. “We can help you with that story,” Howerton said. She also spoke about inventory control and cost analysis training.
Among those who spoke were Linda Robredo of Blue Rose Pet Salon, Stacey Havener of All Seasons Realty (president of the Mountain Communities Chamber of Commerce), Gary DeBona of Air Master Comfort Systems, Professor Fred Keisner, Code 4 Acupuncture’s Deborah Turner, Paul and Sarah Edwards of Let’s Live Local (which is seeking to open 22 new sustainable “green” businesses), Michelle Nosco of Arts for Earth, commercial property owner Sigmund Lichter, Tamara Smith who co-owns the Screaming Squirrel and is a leader of the new Pine Mountain Village Merchants Association, Joan DeBruin of ArtBridges. com (an online gallery), contractor Jerry Garcia who asked about the benefits of converting a sole-proprietorship into a corporation, Tammy Goddard of Mountain Top Video, Kathy Parker who has KP Sales and is co-owner of Mike’s Plumbing and Chumash storyteller Alan Salazar who contracts with museums and schools.
This is part of the November 27, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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