December 11, 2009

Operation Bootstrap graduates third class

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Operation Bootstrap December 2009 graduates at Southern Illinois University Carbondale could be on their way to owning their very own businesses.

Operation Bootstrap, a collaboration between the University and the Delta Regional Authority, hosted its third graduation ceremony of the year on Thursday, Dec. 10, with 37 participants from all over Southern Illinois graduating from the business training program. During the awards ceremony, 14 of the 35 potential businesses each claimed $3,000 in business development grant funding to help officially start the new business or formalize the existing business.

“Graduating our third class puts our total of entrepreneurs trained at 102! Wow, that’s a great feeling,” said Robyn Laur Russell, Entrepreneurship Center director. “We are working now to find ways to network the graduates together so then can learn from their peers and interact as they go through their business cycles together. The trainees have naturally gravitated toward one another in the classroom and we want to provide a platform to continue that connection. Our new Web site,, will soon launch a blog and a directory including all classmates. That social networking aspect will help the graduates tremendously,”

Throughout the two-month program, participants learned all the ins and outs of starting and successfully operating a business, from determining business viability to creating individual business plans and setting up operational procedures to help assure success. Sponsored through the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit, the intensive program gave participants the knowledge and tools to be successful business entrepreneurs.

Competing for the seed capital, participants gave five-minute oral presentations along with three-page written executive summaries of their plans and proposals, showcasing their business concepts and explaining their need for the seed capital. Judges for the event included regional business developers and entrepreneurs including: Tom Corpora, entrepreneur and business development consultant; Scott Pate, Southern Illinois president of Regions Bank; Kim Sanders, director of the SIUC Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development; Tracey Glenn, Williamson County commissioner; and Kristen Gregory, executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

“Watching the participants learn from each other and all working toward the common goal of starting their businesses is the greatest part about facilitating the class. I’m continually impressed by the amount of commitment and effort the entrepreneurs put forth in the training,” said Emily Carter, director of entrepreneurship and business.

December graduates of Operation Bootstrap, along with the proposed business name and a brief description of the product or service, listed by city, are:

Alto Pass

• Pharaoh Motorsports, retooling vehicles to operate on electricity, James Earles.


• The Money Saver Store, general store, Kenneth Jones.


• Anderson’s Kremes, ice cream delivery service, Anthony Anderson.

• Golden Goodies, antique/auction store and concessions, Donna Hammonds.


• 618 Kids, hair salon for children, Callie Glasco.

• Ecological Consulting Services, ecological consulting business, Sorrel Kunath.

• Eve’s Treats, homemade baked goods, Evelyn Love.

• Exclusive Exposure, clothing and accessories, Tasha Kimbrough.

• Rover Enterprises, LLC, exclusive offer card, Michael Phillip.

• Southern Illinois Residential Energy, solar panels/insulation, Jason Willenborg.

• Sweet Cakes and Deli Café, bakery/café/sandwich shop, Patricia Littlepage.

• The Family Care Home Project, daycare for the disabled, Alicia Oakley.


• SI Tours LLC, wine trail tours of Southern Illinois, Charlie Campbell.


• Wallin Forge and Design, blacksmith/artist, Jeff Wallin.

Creal Springs

• A Fine Canine, dog breeding business, Laura Moore.

• DW Disposal, disposal service, Francoise Booton.

• Little Shepherds, offering people agricultural experiences, Jerry Moore.

Du Quoin

• Image Wizard Photo Restoration, photo restoration and graphic design, Michael Samples.

• Mr. Bones Disposal, disposal service, Clarence Van Hoorebeke.

Ellis Grove

• Mary’s Country Cookin’ Café, restaurant, Mary Hudson.

Grand Tower

• Hand Craft Caddy, crochet caddy product, Doris Alley.


• Lean Green Mining, coal mining consultant, John Skinion.

• Living Hope Ministries-Garden of Eden, day care, Christine Pullen.

• The Consultant’s Office, online consultant service, Mary Periman.

Johnston City

• Moving Day Survival Kit, production of a moving day survival kit, Karyn Golliher.


• Builder, low-cost homes, Rosa Murillo.

• Shawnee Adventure Guides, guide service, Kelly Drew.


• Brown Scholarship Enterprises, scholarship consulting, Karen Brown.

• Your Heart’s Desire, wedding and event planning, Jacinta Allstat and Vicky Oakley.


• Catch ‘M Boutique, women’s apparel, Marquitis Baldwin and Stafania Payton.

• Kids’ Day Out, daycare, Heather Karg.


• Quail Ridge Plants and Produce, plant nursery, Jon McClurken.


• Creative Designs by Elaine, machine embroidery, Elaine Haertling.


• General Contractor Services, construction, Terrance Hunt.

• Lockendz Naturally for You, mobile hair care service, Alka Johnson.

Receiving the start-up funding at the Dec. 10 ceremony were: Creative Designs by Elaine, Eve’s Treats, Exclusive Exposure, Image Wizard Photo Restoration, Kids’ Day Out, Lockendz Naturally for You, Moving Day Survival Kit, Pharaoh Motorsports, Rover Enterprises LLC, Shawnee Adventure Guides, SI Tours LLC, Southern Illinois Residential Energy, Wallin Forge and Design and Your Heart’s Desire.

Operation Bootstrap is a program for residents of Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Pope, Johnson, Hardin, Union, Jackson, Williamson, Randolph, Perry, Franklin, Hamilton, White, Gallatin and Saline counties.

To learn more about Operation Bootstrap call 618/453-2070 or e-mail For more information about the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805, e-mail