The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville (SIUE) is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its client, Dog.Heart.Soul.
The SBDC has helped Dog.Heart.Soul with a year’s worth of support and information. With SBDC’s one-on-one, no-cost business counseling services, owner Cheryl Newman has grown the business into something special. She meets regularly with SBDC Director Jo Ann DiMaggio May.
“Jo Ann has been awesome – truly great! She is full of ideas,” Newman said. “She has so much information, expertise and so many connections.”
Dog.Heart.Soul is an authorized retailer for Dog is Good. Newman offers Dog is Good products consisting of pet lover gifts, apparel and more to the Metro East.
The products are for dog owners with a wide variety of tastes such as the outdoors (camping/RV, hiking, yoga, swimming, gardening, boating, etc.), those with rescue dogs, those who may need humorous outfits for their dogs and more.
Newman’s family understands entrepreneurship quite well. Her father and brother have owned businesses. She never saw herself pursuing entrepreneurship until she discovered that she enjoys that life. Her passion for the Dog is Good products and pet community has unlocked bigger dreams.
Her future goals are to pursue the business full-time. She hopes to buy a camper to travel with her dogs and explore the world while running her business and doing 2- or 3-day pet shows and fairs.
Newman’s overall experience with the SBDC has been extremely enjoyable. “Jo Ann has supported me throughout the business process and given great insight on how to make my business even better,” Newman said.
“Cheryl is highly motivated and eager to grow,” DiMaggio May said. “She has taken suggestions and is willing to learn what it takes to be successful. She is participating in many events and vendor fairs, gaining exposure. I am certain Dog.Heart.Soul will be a household name for years to come, and the SBDC is always here to assist along the way.”
“Doing this brings great joy to my life,” said Newman, who is especially passionate about her dogs. “You need to do what you love when it comes to work, because if you’re doing what you love, then it is not work.”
Newman loves to give back to the community in many ways. She hopes by sharing her story that organizations will reach out to her about doing a trunk show / “pup” up shop, or fundraiser (a percentage of the funds is given to the organization or cause).
The Illinois SBDC for the Metro East assists start-up ventures like Dog.Heart.Soul as well as existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE as a service to Illinois small businesses.
By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new jobs and encouraging new investment. It enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.
To learn about the SBDC, contact the IL SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE at (618) 650-2929.