Ken Garland is the co-founder and CEO of United Florists Network, a company that provides e-commerce services to brick and mortar florists. UFN is located in Peekskill, right here in Westchester County. We asked Ken about his experience working with SCORE Westchester.

“My business partner and I started UFN in 2008. We were a boot strap start up in Manhattan, and I have to say we did pretty well at first. We moved to Westchester. The business continued to grow and we faced a lot of challenges. We tried to do it all, but at that point, we’d grown out of our element.”

Some of the areas of concern that UFN faced came as a result of their growth, including the difficulties the company had hiring and managing employees.

“That’s when we reached out to SCORE Westchester. Our first meetings were with small business mentors Glenn Shell and Robert D’Agostino,” Garland said. “It was an absolutely fantastic experience, right from the start. Here you had these experienced small business professionals who were providing us with guidance – people we could bounce our ideas off of and learn from their experience. We will be forever grateful for this experience.”

“Normally, you pay top dollar for this kind of consultation,” Garland added. “The fact that SCORE Westchester’s services are free make them very attractive to the small business owner.”

SCORE Westchester: Helping Small Businesses Get Financing

“Another very important way SCORE helped us was by showing us how we could secure financing for our business. We were a boot strap, so we’d never dealt with any of that before. SCORE guided us through the entire process. We had to do the work, of course, but they explained what the financial institutions wanted to see, and helped us make sure we had our business plan in place and all the numbers added up.”

“I really feel like our SCORE small business mentors went the extra mile with us. They introduced us to local bankers, and even went with us to the bank. They guided us through the ins and outs of the loan application process, and played a pivotal role in helping us get our SBA loan. Without SCORE, we wouldn’t have known how to do this. Dealing with the government in this way – it’s really a lot. I’m glad we had SCORE’s help.”

“Now that we’re looking at further expansion, our SCORE mentors have introduced us to local government officials and helped us discover what small business incentives exist,” Garland added. “If you’re interested in growing your business, you’d be foolish to not take advantage of this free resource. You just can’t go wrong – there’s no commitment, no obligation, and you get great information you can use to grow your business.”

How SCORE Helped: 

“I really feel like our SCORE small business mentors went the extra mile with us. They introduced us to local bankers, and even went with us to the bank. They guided us through the ins and outs of the loan application process, and played a pivotal role in helping us get our SBA loan. Without SCORE, we wouldn’t have known how to do this. Dealing with the government in this way – it’s really a lot. I’m glad we had SCORE’s help.”

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A Successful Mentoring Experience