You would probably recognize Steve Bullock's face before you would his name. But neither is as important as his reputation for producing quality work.
He's been performing custom and commercial glass installation and repair for three decades across Pulaski County. His customers are familiar ones: Somerset Independent Schools, Pulaski County Board of Education, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital and more. The list is a long one.
This spring, the Somerset native decided to put his 30 years of experience to work for himself at his new downtown business: Bullock's Glass Shop.
Opening his own business wasn't a part of the plan. It was a necessity.
When his longtime employer needed to close his business, Bullock had a choice: go to work for someone else or take the leap of faith and go out on his own. His previous clients helped make his decision for him. It was simple: They needed work done. They knew Steve could do it and do it right.
Within weeks, things started to come together. He'd found a good location at 600 East Mt. Vernon St., Somerset, Ky. and met with some of the staff at Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corp. (SKED) to apply for the startup money to get his business open and him back to work.
Soon, he had the money he needed, with one of SKED's U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) micro loans and was working with the nonprofit organization's small business training staff to get the key pieces of his business plan in place. With each micro loan, SKED provides free technical assistance to loan clients. Staff helped Bullock maneuver through several important steps in his business' development.
Bullock says without SKED, he wouldn't have had the courage to do it on his own.
"Going out on your own can be scary," Bullock said. "I really didn't know where to start, but the folks at SKED told me about things I didn't even know I needed to do. They (small business training staff: Amanda Kelly and Kyle Smith) came to me, walked me through the steps and are doing everything they can to help, even now. I don't think I could have done this without SKED."
Speaking of help, Bullock's Glass Shop is a family business, with daughter Beth Todd working the front of the shop and marketing it through social media. His grandsons help with some of the physical work. You may have seen them all over town, this summer, working at Northern Middle School, downtown at The Mole Hole's new location and multiple other locations.
SKED Business Loan Officer Karen Minton worked closely with Bullock in the financing of his new business venture.
"Steve has all of the skills he needs to do the work, he just needed someone to believe in him and give him the tools to give his small business dream a chance," she said. "Our micro loans are designed specifically for people like Steve. I'm glad we were able to give him the startup cash to get his doors open and him back to work."
To learn more about Bullock's Glass Shop, visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Bullocks-Glass-Shop-LLC, give him a call at (606) 451-1508 or stop by the shop at 600 East Mt. Vernon St.
If you know a small business owner in need of working capital or funds to purchase equipment or building improvements, contact SKED at (606) 677-6100 or email email@example.com.
SKED is a nonprofit economic development organization formed 33 years ago by Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers to create jobs in Southeast Kentucky.
Its corporate office is based in Somerset and serves a 45-county service region. A staff of nine professionals works with business owners, small and large, to identify financing solutions to fund their location, expansion and working capital needs, and provide them the technical assistance and training they need to succeed. For more information about SKED, visit our website: www.southeastkentucky.com.