Operation Bootstrap

Operation Bootstrap Awards -- Operation Bootstrap seed grant recipients are shown with a ceremonial $3,000 check following the recent graduation and awards ceremony. Chosen from the 31 recent program graduates to receive the start-up seed funding were: Back row, from left -- Colleen Shupe, James Basse, Angelique Kuehl, Loretta Cloninger, Greg Olkoski, Kimberly Clemens, Christopher Wright, Rebecca Harris, Kevin Edwards and Tom Harrness; front row, from left -- Rachel Cristaudo, Clifton Bailey, Steven Johnson and Jackie Mills. Not pictured is Victor Brown. (Photo provided) Download Photo Here

August 23, 2010

31 graduate from Operation Bootstrap

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- New and prospective businesses in Southern Illinois have claimed more than $1 million in investment funds courtesy of Operation Bootstrap, a program from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Office of Economic and Regional Development’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit.

The fourth graduation ceremony for 31 entrepreneurs from around the region last week brings the total number of program graduates to 133. In addition, 15 graduates each claimed $3,000 in seed grant capital to help officially start a new business or formalize or expand an existing business.

“Operation Bootstrap has leveraged into an investment of more than $1,020,000 in the southern 16 counties of Illinois, giving entrepreneurs in communities all over the region the knowledge and funding to help them succeed as business owners,” said Robyn Laur Russell, Entrepreneurship Center director.

During the free, 12-session training program, the entrepreneurs -- from 14 different communities -- learned all the ins and outs of starting and successfully operating a business, including assessing business viability, creating individual business plans, setting up operational procedures and more. The SIUC Entrepreneurship Center partnered with the city of Du Quoin and the Man-Tra-Con Perry County Family Opportunity Center to host this class in Du Quoin.

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 recent 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.

Receiving the start-up funding during the August ceremony were: Basse Seamless Guttering, Buzz and Cackle Farm, Country Scenes Photography, Coverall Painting and Decorating, Cristaudo’s and 6 Pence/Kaleidoscope Mercantile, D-Sign Shop LLC, Edwards’ Antiques and Jewelry, Elite Cleaning Service, The Family Garden, Harness TechEd Consulting, Legacy Custom Cycles and Motors Inc., Little Dreddy Boy Productions, Oh So Scrumptious: Gourmet Chocolate Truffles, Paw Pal Pet Sitting and Phoenix Graphix.

To find out more about Operation Bootstrap, call 618/453-2070, e e-mail startbiz@siu.edu or look online at www.operationbootstrap.biz. For additional information about the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805 or rrussell@biz.siu.edu.