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Oklahoma Small Business Development Center shares success story

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -An organization that takes part in promoting small businesses in the Lawton Fort Sill community is sharing its latest success story.

The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center offers confidential and free services to owners wanting to start or grow a business.  Their advisors are in every county in the state and they assist owners on capital sources, industry research, international trade and market research.

The Percolator Coffee shop in downtown Lawton is one of many that has seen its business improve, thanks to their advice and guidance

Carlos Irizarry is just one example of a successful business owner who still meets with advisors on how he can improve his coffee shop in downtown Lawton, the Percolator. He says this resource has helped him be more relaxed about the stress of owning his own store.

"They're giving us the opportunity of how do we make our businesses better, said Irizarry. It's a lot different than someone telling you this is going to be an issue, this is something you can't do. They're encouraging, they're motivating.”

Downtown Lawton is full of small businesses that are begging for residents to shop local and contribute to their sales. For a small community like Lawton Fort Sill, keeping these businesses thriving is what keeps our community growing. Tammie Ferguson, an advisor for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center says she's there to support business owners and their dreams of succeeding.

"We will walk through the steps with them, said Ferguson. We will give them examples. We will make sure they understand their part and what they need to do, then they go back to their home or business and they start doing the work and then we meet again. We talk through it and we make adjustments."

If you have a great idea for a business, but you don't know where to start...

"They can give us a call, register on our website or send us an email, said Ferguson. We can meet with them one on one in a confidential setting and help them brain storm ideas."

Irizarry says he's even been able to plan expansion opportunities and grow his business in another location. He says he knew from the beginning of working with OKSBDC, that this was in the future.

"They want to see small businesses get established in Southwest Oklahoma and grow, not only grow so they're hiring on more people, but grow so people recognize a city like Lawton has something unique and it's going to be developing a new industry,” said Irizarry.

Ferguson says right now the OKSBDC is focusing on connecting with the Lawton community and building partnerships with Cameron University, The Chamber of Commerce and the Great Plains Technology Center in hopes of getting help in supporting small businesses in our community.

To make an appointment and find an advisor near you, call 580-745-2877.

The development center was established more than 30 years ago.  Over the past five years alone, it has helped create nearly 4,000 jobs and helped start more than 750 small businesses.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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