Amanda Stetzel and Kathleen Schonsheck combined their entrepreneurial spirit, love of dogs, and canine expertise to create Uptown Pup: a small business dedicated to the care of dogs. With a firm belief that dogs should be treated like family members, the owners of Uptown Pup wanted to offer top-of-the-line services for man’s best friend including a dog day care, a spa using natural products, and specialized boarding options that meet each unique dog’s needs.
To bring their business idea into fruition, Stetzel and Schonsheck turned to the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services division, a one-one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
After approaching the Indy Chamber, Uptown Pup was first paired with a Business Ownership Initiative business coach. Together, they worked on a business plan and financial forecast. When identifying that the business would need over $50,000 in financing in order to be successful, Uptown Pup was directed to another member of the Entrepreneur Services team: Teresa Marti, a business advisor with Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC).
Working with Marti, Stetzel and her partners made adjustments to their business plan and began the financing process. After overcoming some obstacles in finding a location for the business, partnership changes, and revisions to their financial projections, Uptown Pup found the perfect place through an ISBDC banking connection and was awarded a SBA 504 loan.
"The ISBDC had a tremendous impact on our success as a startup. From their expert advice in the early phases of business planning, to their support during our hardest obstacles, and their follow-through now that we're open and running, we are stronger, smarter, and more successful thanks to their guidance. They were absolutely invaluable," says Stetzel.
When the location required special signage permits, Marti reached out to Jim Rawlinson, Regulatory and Permitting Ombudsman at the Indy Chamber, who is a liaison for the City’s Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. Rawlinson was able to resolve the issue so that Uptown Pup’s signage was compliant.
“It is recommended that a business owner make sure their contractors are licensed and understand permitting processes, as ultimately the business owner can be held responsible if things go wrong. It is always much easier to edit a proposal for a sign that is out of compliance than to fix an existing sign!” explains Rawlinson.
To arrange a meeting with an ISBDC business advisor, please visit the ISBDC website at www.ISBDC.org.