Posts Tagged ‘Dale Rice’

Tony’s Canvas and Leather Wins Manufacturer of the Year from SBDC

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
Tony O'Geen

Tony O’Geen, owner of Tony’s Canvas and Leather in Massena and 1984 SUNY Canton graduate, mends a hockey glove in his shop. O’Geen won the SBDC’s Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year award.

If you rip it, Tony O’Geen can stitch it.

O’Geen, owner of Tony’s Canvas and Leather in Massena, has been selected by the New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year after working with the SBDC office at SUNY Canton. He will receive his award at a recognition dinner on May 24 as part of the SBDC’s Annual Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid.

The 1984 SUNY Canton graduate started Tony’s Canvas and Leather from his home in 2001 after realizing the demand for local sports equipment repair services. He traveled to Montreal, Canada, to learn the art of re-palming hockey gloves from Eagle Hockey and began posting flyers in the local hockey arenas and sports facilities. His grass roots efforts paid off and he quickly expanded his offerings to manufacturing and repair of all variety of sports bags and equipment. He soon began repairing hockey equipment for local colleges, including SUNY Canton.

“Tony represents the idea of a true American entrepreneur,” Dale Rice, SUNY Canton SBDC director said. “He saw a need in the market and found a way to fulfill it, beginning as a part-time, home-based business and growing gradually to become a force in the global marketplace.”

O’Geen began working with the SBDC in 2008 on a variety of business development initiatives. Over time, he amassed an impressive menu of services worthy of his slogan, “You Rip It, I’ll Stitch It.”

He gradually expanded to work on leather saddlebags, boat and trailer covers, tack repair and shoe repair. He also began creating custom printed and embroidered apparel, fire bags, hunting bags, signs and banners.

Several years ago O’Geen worked with the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative to develop his website, It immediately gave him access to a global market and in recent years he has attracted customers from as far away as Australia.His success is even more notable considering that up until this year the business was a part-time venture in addition to his full-time employment as a New York State Corrections Officer.

Upon retirement earlier this year, Tony set out to further expand his company by seeking grant and loan funding through the St. Lawrence County IDA. The funds allowed him to purchase new equipment that will greatly expand his printing logos and sign services.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.


SUNY Canton Entrepreneur Recognized for Business Success

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
Sarah and Lucas Manning

CAFE SUCCESS – Pictured are Sarah and Lucas Manning, proprietors of The Partridge Cafe in Downtown Canton. Lucas recently won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award through the Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A twenty-something SUNY Canton alumnus was recently honored by both the New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Lucas Manning, owner of The Partridge Café in Canton, received with the SBDC award at the organization’s annual staff training conference at the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson. Manning was again recognized at the SBA’s Syracuse District Small Business Excellence Awards luncheon in Syracuse.

“In just three years, Lucas has made his business a successful venture and important part of the Canton community,” noted Canton SBDC Director Dale Rice. “His ‘just do it’ attitude and his ability to make wise business decisions will assure that The Partridge Café will continue to thrive.”

In 2005, after receiving a Business Administration degree from SUNY Canton, Manning purchased the Partridge Café in downtown Canton. The café features an inexpensive and unique menu of coffees, sandwiches, wraps, and locally-made bagels. Lucas said he is focused on providing an excellent atmosphere with good food, great coffee, and plenty of reading material.

While maintaining the café’s original ambiance, Manning has partnered with other businesses to increase services in accordance to his market. He is an agent for Trailways bus service, has partnered with The Birchbark Book Shop, and recently began selling microbrew beer and locally produced wines to compliment a slate of live entertainment on the weekends.

Manning worked with Canton SBDC Business Advisor Michelle Collins when he purchased the business and again later when it was time to expand. Collins, who is also an adjunct business instructor at the college, taught Manning during his college studies.

“From the very beginning, Lucas exuded confidence and determination,” Collins noted. “Lucas is the model entrepreneur, doing everything the ‘right’ way and works hard while keeping a smile on his face.”

At age 26, Lucas continues to take college courses while operating the business with his wife, Sarah.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.

SBDC Ribbon Cutting at St. Lawrence Centre, April 23

Monday, April 7th, 2008

The SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be holding an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, at their new location in the St. Lawrence Centre Mall in Massena.

Representatives from the Massena Chamber, SUNY Canton, New York State SBDC Central Offices, Small Business Administration, and Federal, State, County and Local politicians will be on hand for the ceremony and to provide brief statements in support of the SBDC program and the small business community that it serves.

“Our grand opening falls during National Small Business Week,”Dale Rice, Director of the SBDC said. “It seemed an appropriate time to invite the community in which we serve to an event that also recognizes the small business owner and aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The SBDC Open House is open to the public, refreshments will be provided throughout the day. The office is located in the Saint Lawrence Centre Mall next to the SUNY Canton Education Center.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.

SUNY Canton SBDC Has Record Impact on Local Economy

Friday, October 19th, 2007

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SUNY Canton has had the best year ever, according to Director Dale Rice.

“The economic impact of the businesses that received our assistance in the past year has almost equaled the total economic impact for our past seven years of operation,” Rice said.

From Jan. 1, 2006 through September 30, the Canton SBDC’s clients recorded more than $24 million in economic impact as compared to the more than $25 million of economic impact reported from 1998 to 2005. The economic impact figure is tabulated by combining investments by entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and economic development agencies which resulted in the opening or expansion of a business.

In addition to economic impact, the SBDC also tracks the creation and retention of jobs by new and existing businesses. These figures show marked improvement with 752 jobs recorded from October 1998 to December 2005, and 284 jobs being created in the past 21 months.

“A key factor contributing to this increased investment by SBDC-assisted businesses is our effort to strengthen our strategic partnerships with local lenders and economic developers,” Rice said. “We have worked closely with several agencies to increase client funding, but Raymond Fountain (St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Director of Economic Development) and Patrick Kelly (Deputy Director) have been particularly supportive of our center’s efforts to assist the business community.”

Rice also said Senator James Wright and SUNY Canton President Dr. Joseph Kennedy contributed continuing support to the SBDC program. “Senator Wright and Dr. Kennedy worked diligently to have the SBDC at SUNY Canton,” Rice said. “If it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be here to offer our assistance to the area’s small businesses.”

The New York State SBDC recently underwent a state-wide accreditation review and was recertified without limitations or restrictions for the next four years. Accreditation without conditions is a level only attained by about 10 percent of all programs nationally.

The SBDC has been helping start-up and existing small businesses through all phases of growth for over 20 years. Advisors also provide free individual counseling on business planning, tax requirements, financial analysis, government procurement, compliance issues, and record keeping in addition to periodic training sessions on a variety of business related topics. To schedule an appointment with the SUNY Canton SBDC, call 315-386-7312.


Small Business Development Center Counselor and Two Businesses Receive Accolades

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

A SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business advisor and two of the businesses the agency works with have won prestigious business awards.

Business Advisor Michelle Collins’ counseling has helped women entrepreneurs and young business people from across the North Country, and now, has earned her a Lead by Example Award through the New York State SBDC. Additionally, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of Karen M. St. Hilaire, was selected as the 2007 Home-Based Business Champion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Region II, and Sandy Maine, founder of SunFeather Natural Soap Company in Parishville received the Small Business Excellence Award also through the SBA.

Michelle Collins

COLLINS LAUDED – SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Advisor Michelle Collins has earned a Lead by Example Award through the New York State SBDC. Pictured are (l to r) Business Advisor Julie Williams, Canton SBDC Director Dale Rice, Collins, SBDC Office Manager Linda LaParr, and SBA Region II Administrator William Manger.

“Michelle has become the ‘go to’ person in Saint Lawrence County for women in business,” said Canton SBDC Director Dale Rice.

“She has been a mentor to many women entrepreneurs and has reached out to many more with her roundtable meetings and through the recent Women in Business Conference.”

Karen St. Hilaire

ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY CHAMBER AWARDED - The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of Karen M. St. Hilaire, was selected as the 2007 Home-Based Business Champion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Syracuse District. Pictured are (l to r) SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center Director Dale Rice, St. Hilaire, and SBA Syracuse District Director BJ Paprocki.

Collins has developed training events for existing business owners to assist in their ever changing business needs. She is an avid writer, and lends her talents for local organizations and for Absolutely Business magazine. She is a board member of the Norfolk-Norwood Minor Hockey Association and the SunFeather Soap Foundation, which was started to help raise funds to make it easier for small businesses to get started in the area. “Michelle created the strategic plan for the foundation and is instrumental in keeping the foundation on task,” Rice pointed out.

While all the initiatives the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce spearheads are for the benefit and improvement of the small business environment, one particular chamber effort has resulted in positive outcomes for home-based businesses specifically. The chamber’s Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative (NATC) has served nearly 100 home based businesses with training and business development assistance. The program has gained wide recognition for its success in successfully bringing the area’s cottage industry into the world of e-commerce.

The NATC initiative was endorsed by U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Assemblywoman Deirdre Scozzafava.

“I am so pleased that the St Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is being recognized again for this incredible initiative. What started as a great idea has now become an engine of growth and employment,” said Clinton. “Our purpose was to combine the buying and selling power of eBay with the principles of micro enterprise to create employment and wealth in the North Country and now we are seeing the fruits of our labor across the state and beyond. We wanted to create a global marketplace for local products and thanks to the incredible work of Karen St Hilaire, the St Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and everyone involved in this project, we continue to see incredible results. Not only are our local companies competing on the global stage, this initiative is creating jobs and providing the essential infrastructure to help the trend continue.”

Sandy Maine

SUNFEATHER DECORATED - SunFeather Natural Soap Company Owner and CEO Sandy Maine of Parishville received the Small Business Excellence Award through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Pictured are (l to r) New York Business Development Corporation President and CEO Patrick J. McKrell, Maine, Sandy's daughter Clara Maine, SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center Business Advisor Michelle Collins; and SBA Syracuse District Director BJ Paprocki.

SunFeather Natural Soap Company has been making artisan body care products for over 26 years. The business began with a $15 investment in Sandy Maine’s farm house kitchen and SunFeather is now a thriving wholesale and retail business that markets 4,000 pounds of soap weekly.

The company enjoys immense web traffic, owns affiliate bath and beauty stores and has received international acclaim.

“Both of the local honorees are guiding examples of what it takes to make business thrive in northern New York,” said Rice. “St. Lawrence County should be proud of the accomplishments of these two women.”

Mrs. Maine’s efforts also extend to fostering other micro business enterprises. She routinely consults with soap makers who are working to grow their businesses. Recently, Maine formed the SunFeather Foundation which will soon offer micro-business loans to economically and educationally challenged entrepreneurs. The Foundation is funded by private contributions and services are administered by a non-profit board. All micro-loan recipients receive business guidance from SunFeather management and employees.