When Jessica Young wanted to buy an optometry practice in State College, she turned to the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help.
The 32-year-old Johnstown native had no business background or experience, so the SBDC helped her evaluate the business she wanted to buy, negotiate a sales price, and write a sales agreement.
“They went over so many details that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own,” Young said. “They made it easier to understand and gave me a road map for what I wanted to do.”
In January, Young took ownership of what is now State College Eye Care. She has a staff of two, and hopes to expand the practice in future. Young still meets regularly with the SBDC and stays in regular email contact about issues big and small.
“They’ve really been with me every step of the way,” she said. “Going forward, they’re going to be really helpful as far as growing the business and giving me the tools to make it better.”
In 2012, the Penn State SBDC helped 45 clients start new businesses and seven others purchase existing businesses in Centre and Mifflin counties, creating 196 jobs and keeping 104 more in the region. The center helped clients obtain $3 million in financing and increase sales by an estimated $8.3 million.
The center consulted with 576 clients on issues such as cutting costs, establishing marketing strategies, and thriving in the current economic conditions. The SBDC also held 38 seminars with more than 600 attendees on topics like “The First Step of Starting a Business.”
The SBDC helped with five grand openings in Pennsylvania in 2012, including Webster’s Bookstore Café and Momentum Fitness in State College, the Gaslight Café in Philipsburg, the Village Eatinghouse Marketplace Café in Bellefonte, and Bushmen Landscaping in Lewistown.
For more information on the services provided by the SBDC, visit http://sbdc.psu.edu/ online.
The Penn State SBDC, part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers, provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties in Pennsylvania, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.