Sunday, June 1, 2003

Business Notebook

Small business matchup in Chicago

Tristate small businesses that would like to work with government agencies and corporations are invited to attend a Business Matchmaking conference June 17-18 in Chicago.

The Business Matchmaking initiative, a joint effort of the Small Business Administration, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hewlett Packard, matches small businesses with federal, state and local government agencies and large corporations that have contract opportunities for products and services. The program is expected to provide up to $1 billion in procurement contract opportunities to small businesses during events held in 2003.

"The Business Matchmaking program is the largest national initiative in American small business history to bring small businesses and public and private organizations together at the same table for the specific purpose of awarding procurement contracts," said SBA administrator Hector Barreto.

In addition to offering individual meetings between small business owners and procurement officials, the event will include educational sessions. At a prototype event in Orlando, Fla., nearly 80 representatives from government and private enterprise met with representatives of more than 450 small businesses for a total of nearly 2,500 interviews. Thirty-six percent of the firms participating were women-owned, and 42 percent were minority-owned.

Attendance for U.S. Chamber of Commerce nonmembers is $125 for a single attendee and $60 for each additional participant from the same small business. Members can visit the Web site for their registration fees. A limited number of scholarships are available for businesses that meet certain criteria.

Other regional conferences are scheduled for July 31in Birmingham, Ala., and Sept. 19 in Washington, D.C.

Information, registration and a list of buyers that will be at the event:

Tri-County area Goodwill expanded

Goodwill Industries' Tri-County store has reopened to the public in a larger enhanced space after the completion of a $3.5 million renovation project.

"The new store is approximately 50 percent larger than the former store, with expanded departments and a wider selection," said George Palmer, spokesman for Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. "The new store features more children's clothing, an 'In Style' shop for teens and larger furniture selection. It also has a drive-up donation center."

Departments include men's and women's clothing, shoes, sporting goods, toys, books and seasonal items for the home. There is also a selection of new swimwear, jewelry and accessories. A new "Treasure Island Shop" will be run by volunteers and stock gift items, jewelry and dolls.

The renovation is part of a $13 million expansion and renovation of the Ohio Valley Goodwill complex.

The store, at 10600 Springfield Pike in Woodlawn, is open from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 771-4804 or

Redesign, staging owner's specialties

Creating a new look for a home from items on hand is the specialty of Design Makeovers, Etc. of Forest Park.

Owner Mary Stephens provides interior redesign, real estate staging and home organization.

"Interior redesign is the method of using a client's existing furnishings and other low-cost techniques to help transform a room for a dramatic new look," said Stephens. "Real estate staging is the art of professionally preparing a home for sale. Multiple services are offered, including one-day redesign, painting, landscaping and furniture arrangement, to name a few."

Stephens has been doing home makeover treatments for several years as a hobby but now is offering her services professionally. Multi-room package deals and payment plans are available.

Information: 473-5815.

McHale's expands to Park Hills

McHale's Catering & Event Specialists is growing.

On May 6 the company purchased Wood Brothers Smokehouse and Grill along with Town and Country Banquet Center, 1622 Dixie Highway in Park Hills. The business will be renamed The Gardens of Park Hills and will operate as a full-service banquet facility.

The space that formerly housed the restaurant will be renovated with a Tuscan theme and be renamed The Vista Room. When it reopens in August, it will feature a hardwood dance floor and chandeliers.

The Banquet Center will reopen immediately as The Arbor Room, a full-service banquet hall for groups of 25 to several hundred. Renovations to this space are scheduled for early 2004.

McHale's owns and operates several hospitality properties in Northern Kentucky. Current headquarters are in Wilder, but the company plans to move its offices to The Gardens of Park Hills in late summer.

Information: (859) 442-7776 or

Sysfixt now a Cisco Registered Partner

Loveland-based Sysfixt Inc. has gotten the thumbs-up from Cisco Systems, Inc., global supplier of wide area networking hardware and software.

Sysfixt president Thomas Witt said his firm has achieved Registered Partner status from the company.

"The Cisco Channel Partner Program provides Sysfixt with the resources and the expertise to sell, plan, design, implement and operate Cisco networking solutions," said Witt. "To earn this status, Sysfixt had to meet or surpass Cisco's stringent personnel, training, customer satisfaction, specialization and post-sales support requirements."

Sysfixt Inc. offers computer and network services that enable organizations to better manage their desktops, servers and networks throughout the information technology life cycle.

Information: 673-9488 or

Funding Services provides cash

Companies dealing with cash flow problems have a new resource.

Funding Services Group, LLC represents investors who advance cash by purchasing income streams such as accounts receivable, medical receivables, business notes and commercial or residential real estate notes.

"The result is cash now for your business or personal needs," said company president Tim Madden. "Our services compliment or are an alternative to bank financing, with no debt created. Often banks cannot provide businesses with the cash they need. We can help in those situations."

Funding Services will also work with individuals.

Information: 474-4428 or

E-mail or fax 564-6991 with openings, expansions and other news about neighborhood businesses.

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