CLERMONT — Clermont business owner Gary Gamache wanted some extra cash flow to get his company, American Backflow Testing, Inc., running more efficiently. His goal was to obtain a $50,000 line of credit, so Gamache sought help from one of Lake County’s Business Opportunity Centers, which offers training, consulting and incubation services for businesses starting up or expanding.
In January 2013, Gamache attended the “Business Plan Writing Made Easy” class taught by Stan Austin, certified business analyst with the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UCF in Lake County. Austin soon began helping Gamache put together the business plan he would need to win approval of his bank loan application.
While Gamache was preparing his business plan, he began looking for new customers, like local cities that needed backflow testing on a regular basis. Gamache enrolled in the SBDC’s “Government Contracting” class to better understand the ins and outs of working with government agencies.
As Gamache’s business continued to grow, the additional workload required him to add personnel. This year, he went from using three subcontractors to adding permanent employees, and plans to hire one more field technician in the spring.
“The SBDC in Lake County has been an invaluable resource to me and my business,” said Gamache. “They have mentored and coached me on how to better manage and grow my business. Companies in Lake County are making a mistake not to take advantage of their amazing, no-cost consulting, training and support.”
With his credit line secured, Gamache has been able to grow his business by obtaining a few major accounts, including some local municipalities. Two of his main clients are now asking him to expand his testing operations to other states.
“Positive stories like that of American Backflow Testing are why we have the Business Opportunity Centers,” said Robert Chandler, director of Lake County’s Economic Development & Tourism Department. “The professional staff in the centers, along with the resources within the county’s Economic Development & Tourism Department, are helping businesses get what they need so that they can be successful and grow.”
Lake County’s three BOCs offer a range of services to all businesses in Lake County, and are conveniently located at:
• Northeast Lake County
1520 S. Bay St.
Eustis, FL 32726
• South Lake County
20763 U.S. Highway 27
Groveland, FL 34736
• Northwest Lake County
600 Market St.
Leesburg, FL 34749
For information on starting, relocating or expanding a business in Lake County, call Lake County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department at 352-742-3918 or visit www.BusinessInLakeFL.com.