LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Dorothy Lane runs the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Wilkes University. She says she's been very busy the last two years.
"It's been kind of a crazy time. Usually, in a year, I think we see about 350 to 400 clients. And in the first, I think, six months or so of the pandemic, we had, I remember the number was like 825," said Lane.
SBDCs are nonprofit resource centers for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
"I always tell people, we're kind of the best-kept secret out there to help small businesses," added Lane.
Business owners Newswatch 16 spoke with who were helped by the Wilkes SBDC would agree. That includes Kimberly Carpenter of Specialty Physical Therapy in Wyoming.
"They're amazing," said Carpenter. "I left my job on a Tuesday night, and I was in their office on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. I just showed up, and I said, 'This is what I want to do. I want to open my own practice.' And they said, 'We can help you with that.'"
Carpenter says she was also guided through financing and legal help.
"I mean step by step the whole way through, they were amazing," she added.
The women who opened The Hodi Lymphatic Center in Edwardsville say they couldn't have made their vision possible without the help of the Wilkes SBDC.
"They were a great resource for us," said co-owner Holi Heffron.
"Both of us were therapists," explained co-owner Candice Yendrzeiwski. "We've been therapists a long time. So we know lymphedema, and we know that stuff really, really well. But when it came to putting a business plan together and getting a business started, that's a different animal entirely."
"If we didn't have them, to begin with, what we needed and what was required, we wouldn't be here today. So we're grateful for that. And we're grateful for our business that we have because, you know, now we can help all those people that are really seeking the discount seeking services that they weren't able to get before," said Heffron.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube page.