• Sam Pena of SAMS (Spine and Musculo-Skeletal) Clinic

    Sam had been a chiropractor working with a corporate practice for three years. He was able to save up some startup capital and planned to open his own practice. With his own practice, Sam is now able to operate and treat his loyal patients with the absolute passion and quality that he’s always wanted to provide under his own business model. Sam’s wife, Sunny, was familiar with the services of the UTSA Small Business Development Center. Once she and her husband were ready to make the leap of starting their own practice, Sunny recommended her husband visit with the UTSA SBDC in order to gain some startup assistance. During Sam’s session with his Business Advisor Hector Ramirez, they first discussed legal structure and the process of attaining an EIN in the effort of opening up a business checking account. Sam and Hector also reviewed several sample business plans. By understanding the value of business planning, Sam is well on his way to building a practice with future growth potential. Sam anticipates continuing to use the services at the UTSA SBDC by attending marketing workshops and follow up sessions with his Business Advisor.

    Additional therapy room on site

    Sam and Sunny Pena

    Website: https://provider.kareo.com/samuel-pena
    Facebook Page: SAMS Clinic SATX

  • Carlos De La Cruz Jr. is a retired veteran whose dream was to open a 9Round Fitness franchise. From the military, he knew the benefits of having structure in his life, so being a 9Round trainer fits him well. He and wife Annette decided to buy a 9Round fitness franchise in San Antonio since they found the other seven 9Round fitness franchises there had been successful.  The fitness center offers a full body workout with an emphasis on kickboxing and personal trainer guidance.  Members get their workout at their leisure and complete the circuit in 30 minutes. They are the 8th franchise in San Antonio and are located in the northeast side of the city.  Carlos and Annette shadowed an existing 9Round Fitness franchise for a few months so they would get an idea of how it runs. They needed assistance in researching and finding an ideal location for the gym. They engaged with FranNet prior to getting in contact with the SBDC, so they were aware of the franchise opportunity. They had a preliminary business plan that was provided by the franchisor, but they needed help in getting it into a format that would be acceptable to a bank.  They met UTSA SBDC Senior Business Advisor Lisha Garcia at a franchising business class. At that time, they were seeking a loan through their bank, and they had also already attended several small business workshops at the UTSA SBDC. Lisha assisted with initial market and territory analysis, and developing a business plan and projections.

    Also, with the assistance of SBDCNet (SBDC National Information Clearinghouse), Carlos was able to research and locate his franchise in an ideal territory. The SBDC further assisted with a business plan and projections to secure a 7a SBA loan. The SBDC helped them start the business in 2018. Carlos is at the business full time. Annette is a full time nurse and works in the operations side of the business. The business began with four employees and has now grown, in just over a year, to nine employees. Carlos has employed a successful marketing strategy to meet his area needs with targeted marketing in his territory. His sales grew significantly in 2018, and in 2019 they are projected to double his 2018 results.  The SBDC continues to work with Carlos on his goals for 2020, including purchasing more equipment to continue to expand his business offerings.

  • Ever since she could remember, Dr. Melody Zamora wanted to be a dentist. She knew that smiles build confidence and change lives. She completed her dental education at Oregon Health and Science University where she earned a D.M.D. degree.

    From watching her father manage his own business, she learned entrepreneurship and how to be of service to others. She found a perfect opportunity to start her own business when two dental practices came available for purchase. Dr. Zamora worked with Senior Business Advisor, Patrice McElfresh, at the UTSA SBDC, on financial projections, demographic research, business valuation and other business support. She is now the primary dentist at both locations, one located on the Southside of San Antonio and the other on the Northside. ZAM Dental offers General and Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening, Restorative Dentistry, and Dentures and other oral care treatments. Dr. Zamora highly values the well-being of her patients. She offers oral cancer screenings to every patient. In 2015, Dr. Zamora’s practice was recognized as a top Dentistry practice with some of San Antonio’s best Dentists.

    Dr. Zamora is on staff at The University of Texas Health Science Center and continues to give back to the community through sharing her knowledge and mentoring others. She hopes to continue to grow and help more patients to have the best smiles possible.

  • Meet Pam Hankins, owner of Barking Lot Treats, a business based in Seguin Texas, providing delicious, nutritious treats for all of our furry friends.

    Pam Hankins, Barking Lot Treats owner

    Pam Hankins, Barking Lot Treats owner


    Pam and Scott Hankins started Barking Lot Treats after searching pet food industry options for their Frenchie babies Alvin & Coco and found so many chemicals/products in the mass produced food. While better pet food is available now, they found most treats still contain bad stuff like fillers, preservatives & even indigestible products being sold as treats for your pet.

    Frenchie babies Alvin & Coco

    Frenchie babies Alvin & Coco


    Barking Lot Treats contain only natural, safe ingredients with no preservatives or byproducts – all digestible, human grade and made in the USA! These treats are handmade in small batches in Seguin Texas & are Alvin & Coco approved.

    Barking Lot Treats Store Front

    Barking Lot Treats Store Front


    Their pledge is to provide the freshest, most healthy, delicious treats you can get that your pets will love. No animal by-products, no additives, NO BONES ABOUT IT!

    Barking Lot Treats Logo

    You can find Barking Lot Treats at 505 N Austin St, Seguin, TX 78155 and online at https://www.barkinglottreats.com

    Client Assistance:

    Pam and Scott used the assistance of the New Braunfels Small Business Development Center and met with the Center’s Business Advisor, Larry New to help with their move from a mobile trailer to a brick and mortar location. Together, they worked on demographics and financial projections and cash flow projections.

    We are proud to be a part of Barking Lot Treats’ success!

    Find the UTSA Small Business Development Center at 940 W. San Antonio Street in New Braunfels and call us at 830-214-6435.

    Check out more New Braunfels and Seguin success stories!

    Interested in receiving New Braunfels & Seguin news on a weekly basis? Then sign up for our e-newsletter!  click here to sign up.


  • Karen and Marc Solomon were referred to the UTSA SBDC and Senior Business Advisor Patrice McElfresh in February 2018. The Solomons were previously in the dental field, running family-owned Dental Centers of America for over 20 years. Soon after selling the family business in 2012, the Solomons wanted to continue to utilize their entrepreneurship knowledge and they loved the thought of working together again, so they began to research buying franchises. They were immediately drawn to Apple Spice Box Lunch Delivery & Catering Company. They traveled to Salt Lake City to meet with the owners of the 30 year-old company and were impressed by the integrity of the people in management and their sense of family. Patrice and the UTSA SBDC were able to help the Solomons answer all of their questions and connect them with resources for setting up their LLC, obtaining approval to be set up as a vendor in city and county agencies, developing marketing strategies, and attending networking events.

    Apple Spice Box Lunch Delivery & Catering serves a variety of sandwiches on three different types of bread, delicious healthy salads, and a hot catering menu for meetings and events. Among the items that set them apart is their preservative-free bread. It is made fresh every morning.

    The Solomons continue to work with their advisor, Patrice McElfresh, on growing their business through effective networking and marketing. They have utilized the training workshops provided by the UTSA SBDC and sought assistance on small business certifications, specifically gaining certification as a woman-owned business.  They are also now one of UTSA’s catering vendor options, and they continue to reach out to other institutions to provide ready-made meals for business and recreational needs.

    “We are so lucky to have found the SBDC! It is such a phenomenal program for the San Antonio community and we are so grateful for its providing us and all business owners such learning opportunities and at the same time growing our local economy by its extraordinary work.”  – Karen Solomon