Castle Valley Summit Part V: Local Business Focus
|Wayne Jensen speaks about the San Rafael Research business.|
San Rafael Research
Wayne Jensen is the operations manager for San Rafael Research. This business does market research and is a call center. His sister wanted to bring jobs to the area and first opened the business in the old Cleveland Town library. It did well there. The business moved to Price where it also did well. This business was sold to new management. Five of those former employees formed their own business called Info-Alliance which is headquartered in Logan. Wayne's father Randy Jensen wanted to open a call center in Emery County and about a year ago that dream became a reality as the business started. It is located in the old laundromat building in Huntington which has been remodeled to suit the new business.
The business worked through Zions Bank to obtain the needed funding for the business. The SmartSite program also helped to get the business on its feet as well as the Emery County Economic Development Council and the Workforce Services has helped to keep the new business staffed. The business has given a lot of people an opportunity to stay in the county and work. "One of the big reasons we started this business was to bring jobs into the community and to help with unemployment. We now employ 68 people and would like to get up to 100. Our phone bill for one month was $4,900. We hope to expand and fill more seats as we get more work. We have had to turn down some clients because we don't have the staff. We are also working on some new software options which help caseworkers and youth corrections and other programs," said Jensen.
|Dale Fillmore describes one of the products made by EAO Services in Lawrence.|
Dale and Angie Fillmore operate a machine shop in Lawrence. "We operate a family business with two part-time employees. Our business has grown a lot and we have invested a lot. We do work that has brought a new business opportunity to the county. We build brakes and have a patent pending on our brake. We have designed a wet disc brake for underground equipment. We are working on expanding that product. We do a lot of machine work. We designed it, built the machine that makes it and sold it.
"We have also worked on an in-take flame trap. This works on the intake of a diesel engine and makes it flameproof. We have several orders for this product. We also produce an exhaust flame trap. We sell a lot of products in Canada. We have invested heavily in CNC equipment. We also build a nut for the power plant.
"Mike at the economic developement office and Commissioner Gary Kofford have been supportive and helpful to our business. We are looking to grow and we want to do it here," said Dale.
Rockland Music Supply
Todd Oldham created Rockland Music Supply, Inc. and started selling musical equipment of every kind from his home in Helper. He has done an excellent job of servicing the public as well as schools. He has now gone international and does buying and selling over the Internet. Oldham employs seven people and the business is now operating at their new location of 78 North Carbon Ave. in Price. Oldham recently purchased Breinholt Music and the business is expanding and growing at a rapid rate. Oldham reported they are the largest seller of musical instruments on e-bay. Oldham has built a relationship with Breinholt Music and Neil will stay with the company in product development. Oldham grew up in small business and his parents sold drums from their home. "You can learn a lot from other business people. Our new building is 2,200 sq. ft. and will house a music school and recital hall. We've invested some money and it's been a fun project. Our business has just evolved starting with the schools and going on the Internet and now a retail store. This area is a good place to run a company. We have two buildings in Helper to house our inventory. The music and retail part of the business are in the Price store. We couldn't have afforded a building this size in other areas, retail space is just too expensive in other areas. We have plans to build a new warehouse. Our business started in a garage. My wife is a pharmacist in the area and we are building a home, so we plan to stay. I took the NxLevel course and learned a lot about cash flow projections. Cash is king. Cash is key to any business, you have to have cash to stay in business. My father was a great mentor for me. Get up and work hard every day. Learn good business principles to survive in this area," advised Oldham. Grand opening on Nov. 4-11.
Choices is a four year old program that was developed for people with muscular dystrophy and other disablities.
Owner Jerry Chavez and her husband, Ed took in foster children while she worked at a restaurant for a while. They loved helping them and took care of more than 100 children. They have three kids. They adopted their two girls who both had special needs.
She then applied as a teachers aide at the Castle Valley Center in Price where they teach and help individuals with disabilities. She loved this job and the wonderful people she helped there. "They taught me so much more than I taught them," said Chavez.
She still felt as if something was missing. So she decided to start her own business, Choices. They then worked on getting clients. Five months later they received their first client. The next client came but the family told them they would only have him for a few weeks. It has been five and a half years now and he is still there. "We tell them that they can't have him back now," joked Chavez. They take clients in anywhere from a few hours or a few days. They teach them skills to become more independent. They also teach reading and writing.
The hardest thing was convincing businesses to hire the individuals to work for them. After they did they proved to be reliable and hard workers. A Choices staff member goes with the employee and stays with them while they do their work and then takes them home.
Choices now employs 12 staff members and has 28 clients. "We are lucky to have these individuals as our friends. There is an over abundance of love for them. It's so wonderful to watch them succeed and grow. I'm doing what I love. I can't call it a job," said Chavez.