Omar Rivera and his wife Katherine are a Palm Coast success story. Together, and with assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF-Palm Coast, they have built Dr. Paint, a residential and commercial painting contractor, into a successful local business in just two short years.
In 2013, Omar Rivera was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Sumter, South Carolina but contemplating his retirement and life after the Air Force. He enrolled in a program designed to assist military personnel with the transition into civilian life called “Boots to Business.” There he came into contact with the South Carolina Small Business Development Center (SC-SBDC).
“Boots to Business and my SC-SBDC consultant helped me a lot. I had a lot of ideas about what type of businesses to get into and he guided me in the right direction,” Rivera recalls.
Shortly after retirement from the Air Force, the Riveras moved to Palm Coast to start Dr. Paint and immediately connected with Ray Peter, a consultant and area manager for the Florida SBDC at UCF - Palm Coast. Peter has been helping them ever since in areas including marketing and financial management, as well as government contracting.
“The FSBDC has assisted us in so many ways; guiding us in putting together our Employee Handbook, building our marketing plan, sharpening our social media and public relations, strengthening our financial management. They even introduced us to government contracting,” says Katherine Rivera.
“And not only did they help us understand how to go after federal contracts,” continued Omar Rivera, “but they actually made it possible for us to put in bids and win the work. They helped get all the documents together and explained what the government was looking for. In a very short time by government standards – less than a year – we have been awarded multiple contracts worth more than $80,000 in sales to us.”
Omar and Katherine Rivera are excited about Dr. Paint’s future in Palm Coast, and they are intent upon continuing to work with Ray Peter and using the Florida SBDC to help them with their business.
“The FSBDC is like a mentor to us. When we have any issues, we can always count on them. They are just a call away. It is great to know they are there whenever we need them,” Mr. Rivera states.
“Entrepreneurship is a lonely road,” he continued. “Sometimes you don’t know where to go or what to do. It’s definitely worth it to seek out the Florida SBDC. They know what they’re talking about; they are very knowledgeable and have great resources. They can help with any aspect of your business. And it’s all at no cost. I’d tell any business owner: ‘Try them out. You’ll be glad you did.’”