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18 NASE Members Get Funding To Build Better Businesses

NASE Awards $85,772 In Business Development Grants in 2008

The economic numbers don’t look so good.

Credit is tightening for micro-businesses, making capital even tougher to find than in years past. Retail sales continue to shrink. Consumers are cutting back their spending and businesses are closely watching their budgets.

But not all micro-business owners are buying into the bad economic news. In fact, many are finding ways to thrive in spite of the difficult circumstances. And the NASE is doing what it can to help.

In 2008, the association awarded Business Development Grants to 18 NASE Members, for a total of $85,772. Those dollars helped members stock stores with inventory, purchase new equipment, kick off marketing campaigns and more.

“These grants are our way of providing a little stimulus to our micro-business members,” says Robert Hughes, president of the NASE. “The smallest businesses don’t have access to bailout money. We’re doing what we can to give them working capital so they can keep their businesses growing.”

Since initiating the Business Development Grant Program in 2006, the NASE has awarded more than $350,000 to members.

“These business owners aren’t letting the lousy economy knock them down,” Hughes says. “They’re staying positive and staying focused. They’re exhibiting the best of the entrepreneurial spirit. And we’re pleased that the NASE grants can contribute even a small part to their ongoing success.”

Here’s a look at how a few NASE Members put their grant money to work in 2008.

Toys For Bigger Tots

NASE Member Dawn O’Neil
Dawn O’Neil’s Family Child Care
Location: Ashley Falls, Mass.
Web site: Not yet launched
Number of years in business: 7
Number employees: 1

O’Neil is using her NASE grant funds to buy one big toy: an enormous cedar jungle gym with two slides, a gangplank, a double sandbox, swings and a ladder.

The purchase is all part of her plan to expand her in-home child care business.

“My old equipment was more geared toward the smaller kids,” says O’Neil. “The kids that are getting bigger and starting school—I want to keep them coming here after school, and they’re excited about this equipment.”

What kid wouldn’t be?

O’Neil now cares for five to six youngsters in her home. But with the jungle gym and plans to enlarge her house, her day care business could potentially double in size.

“I would like to put a small room onto my home that I could just designate for day care. Then, since I have a waiting list, I could upgrade my license to a large day care, which would up my capacity to 10 children.”

Home Sweet Home

NASE Member Chris Hutcheson
Peachtree Restoration LLC
Location: Manchester, N.H.
Web site:
Number of years in business: 2
Number of employees: 1

Hutcheson feels right at home in old houses. He specializes in restoration and preservation carpentry, bringing homes back to their original beauty.

Working out of a home office and shop, Hutcheson produces architectural details for historic houses. He builds stairs, porches and decks, repairs interior and exterior trim, and restores entire rooms.

Hutcheson admits the competition for business is tough in New England. But, he has a plan to make his micro-business stand out from the crowd. All he needs is a new piece of machinery.

That’s where the NASE grant will help.

“Manchester, N.H., now requires a lead-free environment in all homes, which requires removing old, moldy moldings and casements,” Hutcheson explains. “I plan to purchase the Williams & Hussey Molder that will allow me to recreate those original moldings and casements to replace the leaded ones, so I am hoping to tap into that business. There is no competition in New Hampshire or northern Massachusetts that currently offers that.”

By helping him buy the new equipment, the NASE grant will give Peachtree Restoration an edge over competitors, and Hutcheson says it will also allow him to generate additional revenue.


NASE Member Melodie Ellis
Melodie’s Music and Dance
Location: Trophy Club, Texas
Web site:,
Number of years in business: 12
Number of employees: 1

Ellis takes music to kids wherever they are. She teaches piano in students’ homes, gives voice lessons at her home-based studio, offers dance classes in schools and more.

She contracts with other music teachers to give some of the lessons. But she also takes on much of the teaching herself. Between instructing kids and running her business, she’s moving in double time, working 12 to 15 hours every day.

“I’m the accountant, human resources, everything,” Ellis explains. “I also teach 15 to 20 hours a week. So, time is my biggest challenge.”

Ellis hopes the NASE grant will buy her some time and boost her business simultaneously.

She plans to use the grant money to produce 45,000 door-to-door flyers and to purchase online advertising, all in a marketing blitz coordinated over several months.

“My goal is to get more business, allowing me to replace the income that I make from teaching so that I can concentrate more on managing these businesses and less on teaching myself,” says Ellis.

Ellis estimates that her marketing campaign will generate an additional $2,000 to $3,000 a month—and a few extra hours in her day.

More Grant Recipients

In 2008, an accounting service, a fitness center, a trucking company and other micro-businesses across the country enjoyed a financial boost from an NASE Business Development Grant. Here are the other grant recipients for 2008.

Joseph Carr
Carr Development Group Inc.
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Gina Covello
Habla Language Services
San Jose, Calif.

Robert Crosser
Southwest Hauling, LLC
Eloy, Ariz.

Cheryl Cruson
Oregon Trail Hobbies & Gifts
Ontario, Ore.

Jill Dittrich
Thresholds of Madison, LLC
Madison, Wis.

Karen Dorsey
The Paint Gallery
Moorefield, W.V.

Scott Dullock
The House Doctors
Jackson, Mich.

Lora Edelman
Curves of Walla Walla
Walla Walla, Wash.

Kathy Hester
Kathy Hester’s On Target Golf Schools
Vicksburg, Miss.

Richard Hylan
Hylan Plumbing Co.
Rocky Mount, N.C.

Regina Milan
Ideation Ink LLC
Santaquin, Utah

Jennifer Peace
Peaceful Images Styling Salon
Great Falls, Mont.

Gregory Steeg
Steeg’s Haul-Away Service Inc.
Rock Falls, Ill.

Carlene Thompson
D & C Entertainment LLC
Delafield, Wis.

Tiffany Washington
Washington Accounting Services
Waldorf, Md.

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