Businesses show they have what it takes in 1st year of operation

Starting up a business and making it work is no easy task.

In fact, 33 percent of all businesses fail within their first six months of operation, according to Inc. Magazine.

Local entrepreneurs recently shared with the Sun-Gazette some of the secrets to their success. Each of the handful of businesses included here was profiled in the newspaper’s Business Spotlight section in 2012.

“My secret is I’m a little different than everyone else,” said Sharon Culver, owner of Gatherings at Muncy Creek Barn Works.

The shop located near Clarkstown provides a venue for local artists and crafts persons to display and sell their work. Culver said while she is not “setting the world on fire” from a business standpoint, she loves what she’s doing.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” she said. “It’s been a bit more work than I anticipated, but I’m loving it.”

Culver feels she received a lot of support from others.

She likes helping to promote the works of local people.

“There is a lot of local talent,” she said.

And the renovated barn that became her shop provides a beautiful venue, she said.

Corey Mac launched Marcellus Supply & Service, 2303 Lycoming Creek Road, Williamsport 17 months ago as a means of taking advantage of the booming natural gas industry in the area. Unfortunately, when he opened his store, drilling activity in the Williamsport area already had begun to slow down. But that didn’t deter Mac.

He knew there still were plenty of customers in places such as Towanda and further east that he could tap for his supplies and equipment targeted to the natural gas industry.

“We doubled the amount of customers we had last year,” he said.

Mac said hard work and determination have been the keys so far to his success.

“We got some new vehicles and stuff like that,” he said. “We actually got new signs coming in for the shop. We are carrying more items than we did last year.”

Jen Luckenbill, owner of Maximum Nutrition, 159 Washington Blvd., Williamsport, said her business is doing well since she opened it in September 2012.

She said it’s been a lot of hard work starting up and running her business, but she knew going into the venture that it would be that way.

“I don’t mind a little hard work,” she said. “Because of my previous experience in the business, it’s what I expected.”

Luckenbill said business has been good, with a lot of return and loyal customers.

The store sells energy and protein drinks, fat burning, recovery and muscle enhancing products, as well as pre-workout, on-the-go nutrition, and multi-vitamin products.

She conceded she’s been through some slow business times and fully expected that to happen, but overall she’s pretty happy.

“If you can bring enough experience to the table you’ll be fine,” she said. “Do what you love. My whole thing was I wanted to offer affordable products. If you go in business, do it for the right reasons. You won’t be successful overnight. But it’s a huge reward.”

Luckenbill said she hopes to eventually open other Maximum Nutrition stores.

Jessica Thomas, shop manager of Maurices, said the store pushes customer service.

“We are not like a lot of other retailers in how we look at customer service. That is a breath of fresh air to a lot of people in this area,” she said. “We have such a great product. We have great style, quality and (good) prices.”

Coupons and discount programs frequently are pushed by the store to help customers save money on the casual women’s wear and accessories to be found there.

Locating the store in the mall, she said, was a good decision. The Lycoming Mall site is among more than 750 Maurices stores in the U.S.

“Corporate backing helps,” she said. “They are there to support us. We have neighboring stores to help us out.”

Maurices is part of the Ascena Retail Group.

Drop Tine Archery started up in December 2011 by Dave Strayer and his three partners. Archery equipment and accessories and three archery ranges make this shop near Elimsport a bow hunter’s delight.

“The fact that we’ve tried to specialize in an area has helped us,” he said. “We’re all about archery.”

Strayer said the team concept of running the business has been a big plus. Strayer’s wife, Laurel, and Nathan and Renee Earnest are the other three partners. Customer service and keeping in stock the needed inventory have also been important aspects of running the business.

“We try to make the customer feel at home,” he said. “And we are always trying to be friendly. We’ve tried to build our inventory so when you come to our shop we have what you need.”

And hard work is part of running a business.

“I anticipated it being a lot of work. It’s actually more than I thought,” he said.