August 11, 2010

Operation Bootstrap graduation set for Aug. 18

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It is graduation time once again as a new group of budding entrepreneurs completes Operation Bootstrap, a collaborative microenterprise training program from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Delta Regional Authority.

A group of 31 participants from all over Southern Illinois has completed the intensive business training program. Following the graduation, up to 15 of the businesses will receive $3,000 each in start-up grant funds. The graduation and awards ceremony is set for 5 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Du Quoin American Legion.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Operation Bootstrap graduation and awards ceremony at 5 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Du Quoin American Legion. For more information, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805 or by e-mail at

In recent weeks, the entrepreneurs, from 14 communities, have learned about starting and successfully operating a business. Determining business viability, creating individual business plans, setting up operational procedures and more were included in the curriculum of the free, 12-session training program sponsored through the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit.

The city of Du Quoin and the Man-Tra-Con Perry County Family Opportunity Center partnered to host this class, the fourth of its kind, in Du Quoin.

During the graduation event, each businessperson will make a five-minute oral presentation along with a written executive summary outlining their business plans and proposals, their business concepts, and detailing their need for seed capital. Operation Bootstrap is open to residents of Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, White and Williamson counties. The August event marks the fourth graduation with more than 130 individuals successfully completing the program.

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


• Edwards’ Antiques and Jewelry, retail and online antiques and jewelry sales, Kevin Edwards.


• Hot Dawgs and More, mobile hot dog vendor, Charles Tuggle.


• Butterfly Custom Creations, custom clothing and seamstress services, Abbey Margolis.

• Called and Delivered Courier Service, lab work transport, Jamie Leftwich.

• Check Out My Grades, Internet web design, Twangie Holman.

• Coverall Painting and Decorating, commercial painter, Victor Brown.

• Cristaudo’s and 6 Pence/Kaleidoscope Mercantile, restaurant/gift shop/artisan studio, Rachel Cristaudo.

• Imani Health and Wellness Group, health and wellness consultation, Sharifa Stewart.

• Oh So Scrumptious: Gourmet Chocolate Truffles, handmade truffles, Steven Johnson.

• Selective Choice Services, pickup and drop-off laundry service and alteration, Dorothea McFarland.

• The Smoothie Shop, specialty smoothies/nutritional shakes, Amanda O’Connor.

• Whirled Peas Café, vegan friendly restaurant, Lori Sailiata.


• Harness TechEd Consulting, technology training and consultation, Tom Harness.

• Paw Pal Pet Sitting, pet sitting and walking service, Kimberly Clemens.

• Rose Counseling, family counseling, Jennifer Rose.


• Icing on the Cake, cake decorating and bakery, Michelle Salingue.


• EMUOILUNLIMITED, emu oils, Deborah Musgrave.


• Phoenix Graphix, custom designs and printing, Christopher Wright.

De Soto

• Little Dreddy Boy Productions, production company, Clifton Bailey.

Du Quoin

• Country Scenes Photography, custom photography, Colleen Shupe.

• D-Sign Shop LLC, graphic sign shop, Gregory Olkoski.

• Elite Cleaning Service, commercial and residential cleaning, Rebecca Harris.

• Johnson Towing, towing company, Richard Johnson.

• Showcase Café, community restaurant, Jodi Shoen.

• The Family Garden, produce grower, Jackie Mills.


• Basse Seamless Guttering, seamless gutter installation, James Basse.


• Ancient Woods Music, audio production company, Chris Klarer.

• Makanda Hideaway and Adventures, cabins, zip lines and rope courses, Shirlee Riegger.


• Sherich Novelties, T-shirt business, Sherry Porter.


• Buzz and Cackle Farm, producing honey and eggs, Angelique Kuehl.


• Legacy Custom Cycles and Motors Inc., custom motorcycles, Loretta Cloninger.

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