After years in management with some of the best corporations in the world, Donna and Jack Killoren were excited to apply what they’d learned toward owning their own business. They had an opportunity to acquire Ten Star Supply Co., which had an attractive customer base, skilled-employees and a stable, twenty year history. In just five years, the couple doubled the company’s revenues, extinguished the firm’s debt, improved operational processes and improved employee morale. However, their success has not come without a few bumps along the way.
Not long after purchasing the existing business, the couple encountered several challenges they had not anticipated. They immediately sought help from the Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida (SBDC at USF). In addition to attending the SBDC’s one-on-one consulting, the Killorens started attending business courses to gain valuable information while meeting other small business owners with similar interests. The couple says that taking the time to engage with other business owners is probably one of the best gifts a small business owner can give themselves. More recently, in 2012, they took advantage of the SBDC Growth Acceleration Services to create a strategic roadmap for continued growth.
“The SBDC consists of people who are absolutely passionate about helping small business owners improve and succeed. There’s something here for everyone – whether you’re struggling with a specific issue or would just like an independent review,“ said Donna.
The company’s primary service is a screen printing process which allows for direct application of a printed label or graphic on commercial products of all shapes and sizes – from cylindrical shaped bottles, jars, or buckets to irregularly shaped objects of all kinds. Through their growth, they’ve been able to diversity their products and have launched a new promotions division in which the company sells advertising specialties and executive gifts.