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Small Business Development Center

“An excellent resource to have on your side. I’m still utilizing their services while I elevate, expand, and grow my business.” – Katie Graves, Craft Coffee House

Trail Otter – Your Outdoor Adventure Outfitter

Bill Waterhouse and Sonja Olbert of Trail Otter LLC, recently opened their outdoor specialty store at 134 Main Street in Leicester, NY. With the assistance of Norm Karsten of the Geneseo SBDC, Trail Otter was able to discuss business strategy, prepare financial projections, and create a solid business plan, to ultimately win the Dream-O-Vate contest sponsored by Livingston County Economic Development.

Trail Otter is a fun outdoor store specializing in hiking, camping, and backpacking gear, offering guided hikes and outdoor skill-building classes. The Genesee River Valley is overflowing with beautiful landscapes, providing fantastic hiking, biking, and paddling experiences. If you are a person who would rather be hiking in Letchworth, camping at Stony Brook State Park, or backpacking in the Adirondacks, Trail Otter is your kind of store!

Located in the geographical center of Western New York and the Finger Lakes, Trail Otter is minutes from the north end of Letchworth State Park, conveniently nestled between New York City, Niagara Falls, and Toronto Canada in Leicester, NY.

Check out their offerings and store hours at, or call 585-382-5055.

Academy of Theatre Arts

Dina Sarno Slawson has been creating, writing, directing, performing, and producing theatre for children and young adults for many years. In 2002, she created Academy of Theatre Arts, a part-time theatre school with 9 classes a week in a small one room studio. Since then, she has built a year-round theatre academy specializing in acting, musical theatre dance and vocal performance classes.

In 2006, the ATA Theatre opened as the only theatre venue in WNY devoted solely to performers between the ages of 5 and 18. The 132 seat state of the art theatre is home to Academy Encore Ensemble, ATA’s young resident theatre company of high school students from the WNY area and the Academy Performance Group, an audition only performance group for ages 10 & up.

Academy of Theatre Arts and the ATA Theatre is the only FULL TIME YEAR ROUND theatre venue in Western New York created and designed solely for the development and training of children and young adults in the genres of acting, vocal performance and musical theatre dance. Dedicated to enriching young lives dramatically, ATA provides an extensive year-long program for anyone who has an interest and passion for theatre arts.

Not only does Academy of Theatre Arts excel in theatrical training, but with a generation now losing those communication skills needed to succeed in life, ATA uses theatre as a platform to teach and promote excellence in public speaking, self esteem, confidence and personal skills.

Council Opticians

Niagara SBDC client Dr. J Todd Demario OD and his partner own two Council Opticians, one in Hamburg and the other in East Aurora, NY. Council Opticians of Hamburg has been at its current location for almost twenty years. With continued growth and customer loyalty, the current location’s size was restraining potential growth. Dr. Todd felt that moving to a free standing, self owned property would add increased visibility. He also wanted to enjoy the property management freedom that comes with being a building owner and not a tenant. One of the location requirements was to not move far from his current location. After an extensive search a suitable property was found and a business loan was needed to purchase the land and building and to renovate it into a modern optometric facility.

Dr. Todd enlisted the aid of the Small Business Development Center by talking to one of his patients; Certified Business Advisor, Jack Dezik. One of Dr. Todd’s main concerns was that his customers may not be willing to follow him. Jack enlisted the help of the SBDC Research Network, which found several articles about relocating a business and still maintaining your customers. Fortunately, the new location was across the street from his current location, in an old oil change facility. Jack advised Dr. Todd to have an inspector look at the building for any possible environmental problems. Dr. Todd also needed help completing a loan package. Jack worked on the project putting in over thirty hours over eight months to help the client thoroughly vet the project, determine its feasibility, and get the loan package ready for the Loan Committee at Mr. Todd’s bank. The bank did a phase one environmental study and offered financing. Dr. Todd put in significant owner equity. The project totaled over half a million dollars and rehabilitated a vacant property.

Dr. Todd not only put in his own money but a lot of sweat equity. He did the painting and used over 60 gallons of paint. He finally moved in early spring 2013. Dr. Todd said, “The Small Business Development Center really helped me with my Business Plan. Jack pointed out things that I did not think about at first”.

As always, the counseling services of the Niagara SBDC are provided at no charge and are completely confidential. We thank Dr. Todd for utilizing our services, for investing in our community, and for allowing us to tell his story.

Faery's Golf & Landscape

In the fall of 2014 Tony Grenzy wanted to purchase Faery’s Golf & Landscape, a business that had employed him for the last ten years. He worked with the Niagara SBDC to help make the purchase possible. Dinene Zaleski, SBDC Certified Business Advisor, assisted Tony with his funding package. This included hours spent developing the narrative, exploring market opportunities, and analyzing the financial feasibility of the project. The comprehensive loan package included multiple funding partners.

Tony has grown Faery’s Golf & Landscape into a full service golf course renovation contractor. He has an extensive client list that includes regional courses as well as those across New York State and beyond. Services focus on renovation and construction of all golf course features including tee construction, leveling, bunker renovation and construction, irrigation installation and retrofitting, drainage systems, and much more. The company uses specialty equipment which means little or no disruption to play and as little damage as possible done to golf course. Tony retained 12 employees at the time of purchase, added 3 soon after, and will add 1 to 2 more in 2016. He is excited about his business’ future. When asked about SBDC services, Tony stated: “Dinene was a pleasure to work with. Without her we would not be to the point we are at now.”

Giuseppina Kenyon Savard D.O. PC

Dr. Savard is the President of a family practice medical office founded in 2012. She currently has 4 employees. The practice achieved a Level 3 designation for Patient-Centered Medical Home in late 2013 just 18 months after the company first opened. Dr. Savard was recently recognized for her excellent care and expanding practice by the Niagara Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the SBA-Buffalo District Luncheon in May of 2014.

Dr. Kenyon Savard has been driven to be an ethical, high quality health care professional for as long as she can remember. She began to fulfill her lifelong dream at Wheatfield Family Medicine as an employee. It was here, that Dr. Kenyon Savard began to establish her brand as a physician with a personal touch, able to relate to her patients and help them truly understand their course of treatment – not treating patients as a set of numbers on a chart. After a rewarding three years in practice, Dr. Kenyon Savard was provided with an opportunity to expand her talents by joining Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and their Osteopathic Residency program. She brought with her over one thousand patients and a desire to help the next generations of osteopathic physicians to develop their skills. However it became clear to Dr. Kenyon Savard after eight months that her passion remained in a private practice setting. By opening up her own practice Dr. Kenyon Savard was able to fully engage her patients in an environment centered around preventative health care, reaching them both in the office and remotely through technology to promote healthy living in all aspects of one’s life.

When Dr. Savard and her husband Adam first decided to open their own business they reached out to the SBDC with ideas and excitement but wanted to make sure they were on the right track. Here is what they said about their experience opening the practice.

“Partnering with Maureen Henderson, SBDC Certified Business Advisor not only confirmed that we were doing the right thing for ourselves and our family, but also gave us the guidance and experience that provided an important edge before approaching a bank or opened our doors.”

“Maureen worked with us by phone and email, reviewing and guiding our business plan with nuance and expertise that helped to set us apart from other start-ups in our field. Through our discussions with Maureen we went from feeling we were doing the right thing to knowing we had done it. The details of getting a business off the ground are where the lines of success or failure are drawn, and we are much better off for working with Maureen and the vast expertise she brings to the planning process.

“If you are starting a business, regardless of industry or your tenure in it, you would greatly benefit from partnering with the SBDC and Maureen. Don’t make starting a business harder than it needs to be. Have an advocate in your corner, and we would strongly recommend Maureen be your advocate.”

Dr. Giuseppina Kenyon Savard
Adam Savard

Mon Chéri Childcare

Congratulations to Lisa Marie-Claire Kankolenski on her recent opening of her new location at 6037 Shawnee Road in Sanborn, NY. The Niagara SBDC was excited to assist such a wonderful and growing local business. SBDC services (provided at no charge) included helping Ms. Kankolenski prepare her comprehensive loan package / business plan to secure funding for the project.

Ms. Kankolenski has operated Mon Mon Chéri Childcare since 2013 and just expanded to a full day care center. Ms. Kankolenski is a NYS Certified Teacher with 18 years of experience in Early Childhood and School based Education. Mon Chéri is a New York State licensed Childcare Program. “We pride ourselves in what we offer your precious children.”

The fully qualified staff and beautiful new facility combine to create a safe and nurturing environment. The center offers English, Spanish, French, Sign Language, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, preschool curriculum, and much more. Activities Include Cooking, Hygiene, Arts, Crafts, Music, Movement & Circle Time, and daily outdoor fun: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

The center is now accepting children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Call Mon Chéri today for a tour at 716-984-9234.

Pulp 716

In July 2015 husband and wife, Jay and Amy Berent excitedly opened Pulp 716. This coffee shop, comic book store, cool hangout offers a unique experience in a comfortable setting. They carry a full line of new books, graphic novels, merchandise, and clothing as well as Bubble Tea, coffee, and treats from the finest bakers they could find, most of whom are local to Western New York.

Pulp 716 offers our exclusive “Retro Blend” coffee that they prepare in house. They have gone to great extremes to capture the flavors & characteristics of coffees that were served during specific times in history. You can sip a “Roaring 20s” blend or if you’re adventurous you can order their “Erie Canal Builder” blend and taste what coffee was like in the 1830s. If you’re really adventurous you try their very popular bubble tea with exotic flavors and fruits including jackfruit, mangosteen, lychee, rambutan, and even longan (dragoneye) fruit.

The Berent’s offer dozens of comics and graphic novels for sale, with new releases each week. Customers of all ages, genders, and interests are guaranteed to find something they will love to read. In addition, they carry novelty and gift items. They even have a record player and encourage customers to bring in their own favorite vinyl records to listen to while spending time in their lounge area.

When they came up with the idea for Pulp 716, the Berent’s wanted to create a place for people to feel comfortable and welcome. They wanted graphic novel enthusiasts to have a place to share ideas and discuss their favorite stories and characters. They wanted kids to find adventures and a love of reading. They wanted teenagers and young adults to stop by for a bubble tea and conversation. They wanted grandparents to have a place to bring their grandkids and share an afternoon.&

Jay and Amy worked with counselor Maureen Henderson at the Niagara Small Business Development Center to help develop their business plan and secure funding.

Stop by Monday through Saturday 11am to 9pm at 45 East Avenue in Lockport.

Sweet Angels Daycare & Preschool

At Sweet Angels the goal is clear, to offer a “Fun Learning Experience” for children of all ages, aiding in the foundation of social and academic success

As a new mom in the late nineties, Kelly Doel was working as a supervising nurse coordinator in an assisted living home. She found herself unable to put her son to bed at night because of the hours worked and quickly learned this was not the profession for her. So in 1999 Kelly started a Family Day Care in her home; she could care for her son and work in a field that was more than rewarding. Every night when she would put her son to bed she would say, “Good Night, Sweet Angel.” So when deciding to open a day care it only seemed appropriate to call it Sweet Angels.

It wasn’t long before Kelly expanded her family daycare into a group family daycare licensed through New York State. In 2003 Kelly decided it was time to expand and open Sweet Angels Daycare, Inc. on Dysinger Road in Lockport. Due to the center’s continued growth, in 2010 Sweet Angels Daycare rented additional space and expanded to expand their capacity. With quality childcare in our communities in high demand a second Sweet Angels location was opened on Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda in September 2011. Sweet Angels includes age appropriate programs to aide in children’s growth and development; programs include Sign Language, Spanish, Nutrition and Fitness, Martial Arts and Gymnastics. Both centers offer quality childcare and education to families in the community and provide quality care in a safe, loving environment for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.

The environment at Sweet Angels is hands-on, educational, and of course, FUN. Kelly continues to keep her LPN license current, another service offered to families. Having an on call nurse during business hours has been an asset to the facility. Parents have often been pleased and impressed as this service provides them with an increased sense of security.

Sweet Angels developed a training program for local centers providing the necessary training to ensure both New York State standards and the needs of children are met. Kelly works with organizations in Niagara County including: Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, Niagara University, Niagara Cerebral Palsy, Niagara County Health Department, WNY Epilepsy Association, Rapids Volunteer Fire Department of Lockport, St. Jude, United Way, and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The SUNY Niagara Small Business Development Center had the pleasure of working with Kelly Doel and Sweet Angels as she opened her second location in N. Tonawanda. The Niagara SBDC was pleased to name Kelly Doel and Sweet Angels as the SUNY Niagara Apex award winner of 2014. Each Year the Niagara SBDC presents the Apex Award to one of our clients that we feel defines success. This isn’t just based on revenue growth but on how the business treats its customers and employees and how it supports its community. Kelly Doel truly cares about her community and its children.

Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company

Niagara Wine Country visitors and winery staff had been asking for a brewery in the area for years and with the opening of Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company, the only brewery in Niagara County, they finally got one.

One crazy idea, two brothers and their wives, one old cold storage building in a historic town and a lot of good beer; this pretty much sums up Mark Woodcock and his wife Andrea along with Mark’s brother Tim and his wife, Debbie who together opened Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company (WBBC) in November 2012.

WBBC, which took two years to complete, opened in a reclaimed, century-old Cold Storage facility in the heart of Wilson’s lakeside community. Small touches like door frames, walls, and other items taken from the original building reflect the building’s history as an apple storage facility and give the place a homey feel and show off Mark and Tim Woodcock’s flair for stylish construction.

Dinene Zaleski, SBDC Business Advisor, assisted the Woodcocks in developing a business plan. The process included numerous meetings and revisions to the business plan and projections. The owners reworked the original project after the company’s initial loan request was declined by several banks. They did not give up and their final version of the project included a significant investment by the owners, bank financing, and a loan from a local public funding source. Twenty jobs were created.

Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company offers a great lineup of original craft beers along with Niagara County wines; the beautiful full-service restaurant features a wood-fired menu and a hip seating area with a view Niagara County’s first brewing facilities. In addition to selling beer on-site the company supplies other local bars and restaurants.

“This is very, very exciting,” said Wilson Town Supervisor Joseph A. Jastrzemski. “They have done a tremendous amount of work, and it looks incredible. It will be a point of destination. People will enjoy an afternoon ride to Wilson and enjoy the brewery. My hat is off to Deb and Tim and Mark and Andrea.”

Likewise, the Village of Wilson’s acting mayor, Bernard J. Leiker Jr., said, “The village is so excited about this. This will have a real economic impact on not only the village and town, but on Niagara County, as well, because it’s the first brewery in the county.”

This business has also been a great addition to the rapidly growing Niagara Wine Trail. It also draws boaters from across the region and the county because of its close proximity to Wilson Harbor. It is an important addition to the community.


Maureen Henderson, Director
SUNY Niagara Small Business Development Center
3111 Saunders Settlement Rd.
Sanborn, New York 14132
Phone: 716- 210-2515
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:00am – 4:00pm