Client Success Stories

  • SMITH/Associates is a small, woman-owned consulting firm that focuses on bringing numerous parties with divergent goals and approaches together to achieve measurable results. Their clients are the U.S. military, federal government agencies worldwide, as well as local government agencies.

    SMITH/Associates was founded in 2001 by owner Patti Muller-Smith. Leigh-Ann Fabianke, the company’s vice-president, began working with Senior Certified Business Advisor Richard Sifuentes in 2006 to seek advice on how to grow the business and obtain additional government contracts. At that time, the company had fewer than 10 employees in their San Antonio office. With Richard’s help, the company developed strategies for increasing their government business. The company also sought the advice of the SBDC Contracting Resource Center for assistance with human resource policies. Since then, the company has expanded their sales force to 65 employees throughout the country, as well as in Korea and Portugal. The company has also created a GmbH subsidiary, a German limited liability company, so they may conduct business in Germany and other overseas areas. SMITH/Associates recently obtained their GSA schedule.

  • The Enrichment Academy is a unique, comprehensive children’s center that provides quality child care in a nurturing, developmentally appropriate environment.

    Mandy Pruitt has used the services of the San Antonio Business Development Center since 2007. Most recently, Ms. Pruitt sought assistance from Mike Reyes, Senior Certified Business Advisor for help in expanding into a new location. Mike helped research the competition in the area and also reviewed the center’s new location layout. With Mike’s guidance, Ms. Pruitt learned about marketing and pricing strategy, financial projections, budgeting and strategic planning in preparation for her business expansion. Mike helped Ms. Pruitt focus on ways to grow the business while maintaining cost containment and monitoring operating expenses. Ms. Pruitt received Mike’s assistance with reviewing and updating her business plan and financial projections. Since their expansion in May 2010, the business has significantly increased annual sales and has grown from 24 to 31 staff members.

  • Tin Star restaurant provides a healthier choice of unique Southwest and Mexican cuisine. Tin Star is an emerging leader in the “fast-casual” dining. Every menu item is made from scratch on-site with high quality, fresh ingredients.

    Equipped with nearly 30 years of experience working in restaurant chains, Jay Battle and his wife Sarah were determined to follow their dreams of owning a restaurant franchise. The Battles met with Senior Business Advisor Jaime Martinez to discuss their options and have their business plan and financials reviewed. In June of 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Battle funded the opening of their own Tin Star restaurant, which is located in an active area of central San Antonio off of Callaghan Road. Noticing their restaurant’s immediate success, the Battles knew they needed working capital to continue forward. They again met with Jaime for assistance with a loan request, as well as advice throughout the loan process. With Jaime’s help, the Battles were approved for a commercial loan from United San Antonio Federal Credit Union. With these loan proceeds, the Battles continue to realize their dreams of restaurant ownership with the help of 25 employees. Jay and Sarah enjoy serving patrons their unique cuisine and feel that their guests appreciate the unique flavor profiles of their food

  • Alex Gonzalez, Owner, Monster Mini Golf

    “Mark helped me realize my vision to start a Monster Mini Golf in San Antonio. I look forward to continuing to work with him and the SBDC in the future”

    His Story:

    Alex Gonzalez felt the time was right to move forward in starting a new Monster Mini-Golf venture in San Antonio. He realized that even though this franchise has locations throughout the United States, each location is unique and custom-designed. Monster Mini Golf is an exciting indoor, glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed 18-hole miniature golf park. Monster Mini Golf customers experience the adventure of playing mini golf within cool monster décor and custom, animated props at every turn. This mini golf center offers challenging courses for children and adults to enjoy. While navigating through the golf courses, guests are entertained by an in-house disc jockey. The venue includes party rooms and an array of arcade games. Corporate events such as team building activities or after work parties can take place in their private meeting rooms. Having extensive management experience and the knowing that the Monster Mini Golf franchise has been successful in other cities, Alex eagerly met with Mark Ahrens, Business Advisor at the San Antonio SBDC for guidance. Mark assisted Alex in developing a complete financial loan package for financing the business. This included a feasibility study, business plan review, financial projections, site selection, staffing assistance and promotional planning. The new franchise opened in the fall of 2011 and has created 17 new jobs. Alex continues to work with Mark on marketing ideas and website design.

  • Foard Houston and Debbie Calame, Owners, Rose Hall at Sandy Oaks Ranch

    “I cannot thank Ben Garza and the SBDC enough for all the support and wealth of information in helping us prepare for this new adventure! We could not have done it without the knowledge and dedication that walked us through this process. Many, Many Thanks”

    Their Story:

    Sandy Oaks Ranch in Devine, Texas was originally a wing-shooting facility with lodging; however, due to a severe drought in South Texas, the quail population declined dramatically. Making a living solely on the hunting industry would not bring enough income to keep the business profitable. It was then that owners Foard Houston and Debbie Calame envisioned a plan to utilize Sandy Oaks Ranch for a new venture – a “special events” rental facility. Specifically, they wanted to promote the use of their land for weddings, receptions, and other special events. They started promoting weddings at their Live Oak Pavilion which is primarily an outdoor facility. After a few weddings, they discovered that they needed to build a beautiful banquet hall with an outdoor gazebo for brides to have the option of having an indoor or outdoor wedding. The ability to build the new hall would be possible through securing substantial funding, so Ben assisted them with updating their financial projections and helped them prepare the loan package to submit to a lender. Upon loan approval, construction of “Rose Hall” began. Today, the newest addition is a 6,000 square foot, climate-controlled hall with a 10-foot wraparound porch tucked in the most natural setting of Live and Spanish Oaks. The name Rose is derived from Foard’s grandmother, Rose Harpman Meyer, who originally owned the property along with Ferdinand Meyer. They both passed the ranch down to their daughter Carol Houston, Foard’s mother. Rose’s painting will be displayed in Rose Hall in their office for all to admire. Their new expansion, Sandy Oaks Ranch created 15 new jobs and retained two existing jobs.