SBDC Success Stories

SBDC Success Stories

Here at the Albuquerque SBDC we are proud of our reputation for creating viable small businesses. We are fond of saying that what we do here is not an academic exercise but rather the actual creation of real, ongoing business.

If you visit one of the companies below you will get a feel for the kind of work we do. You will also get to know some of our entrepreneurs. If you work with us in the future, we may ask if you'd like to have your success story published here. Enjoy your tour!




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SBDC Workshops

Success 2014: Je L'adore


Je L’adore!

Erik and Tammy Rorem, Owners

“With the right vision, determination, support, and a leap of faith, my dream of owning a boutique came true in March 2013 and Je L’adore! was born,” says Tammy Rorem.

Jeladore Front

Erik and Tammy Rorem are the proud owners of Je L’adore!, an inspiring boutique filled with authentic French décor and beautiful, one-of-a-kind vintage décor items with shabby chic flair and European style mixed with Tammy’s own unique style of decorating. Located in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque in the Hoffmantown Shopping Center, Je L’adore! has been a huge success since opening its doors one and a half years ago.

Exclusive to New Mexico, there is nothing quite like Je L’adore! (“I love it” in French).

Je L’adore! is not just another boutique, it’s an experience that engages all the senses from the moment one walks in the door. This unique experience facilitates conversation and genuine friendships in addition to finding beautiful gifts and vintage one-of-a-kind décor items, not common to New Mexico. Not only has Je L’adore! been embraced by the local French community, but numerous customers have also likened Je L’adore! to that of entering an antique shop in France…without leaving Albuquerque! What Je L’adore! offers is an inviting atmosphere where customers, designers, and friends alike come to find inspiration, original and beautiful displays, and a wonderful collection Jeladore Openof treasures and décor acquired from all over including France, under one roof.

Tammy attended a short introductory business seminar at the Albuquerque SBDC taught by Ray Garcia, which put her on a focused path to open the store. Since then, Ray has helped with identifying the fundamentals of operating a business, but most importantly he helped to clarify and better define the vision, the target customer, how to reach these customers, and how to get them in the store. Ray continues to offer support and guidance to ensure success. Tammy and Erik would like to express their gratitude for the support and guidance from the Albuquerque SBDC and the honor of being selected as the SBDC Success Client for 2014.

Currently, Je L’adore! is busting at the seams with growth, with expectations to expand in size and further the vision moving into 2015.

Je L’adore! was honored at the 2015 New Mexico Small Business Development Center's Day at the Legislature in March at the State Capitol! Congratulations!

Contact information:
Erik & Tammy Rorem, Owners
8238 Menaul Blvd NEJeladore sm logo
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
(505) 835-5048.

Success 2013: The Wright Choice Learning Center


The Wright Choice Learning Center

Sandra Lee Baca, Owner

The Right Choice is The Wright Choice Learning Center!

Wright Choice Learning Center-Kids

Sandra Lee Baca, Owner
The Wright Choice Learning Center
Wright Choice Learning Center-sign

Sandra Lee Baca opened the Wright Choice Learning Center in August of 1985 in Belen, New Mexico when, as a single mother, she recognized a need for quality day care in the Middle Rio Grande valley. Her clientele grew rapidly. She soon moved her business to a 2100 square foot building where she provided care for more than 30 children. The Wright Choice reputation spread. By 1995, the business had outgrown the building. Ms. Baca realized she would have to buy or build a larger facility to accommodate her growing clientele.

It was at that time that Sandra Baca sought the assistance of the New Mexico Small Business Development Center. She began working with Ray Garcia when he directed the UNM Valencia SBDC and continued to work with him when he moved centers and took over the directorship of the Albuquerque SBDC at CNM. Together Ms. Baca and Mr. Garcia worked on a business plan that addressed the growth of demand for her child-care center. They prepared a ‘Pre-Qualified Women’s Loan Program Application’ and submitted the package to the SBA in the Spring of 1996. It was approved! Sandra keeps the entire package in her office as a memento, including the approval letter sent to Mr. Garcia by Murray G. Saunders on July 3, 1996; just two days after Mr. Garcia took over the Albuquerque center at CNM. Construction of the new child-care facility soon followed.

Sandra Baca’s 3 Star facility now encompasses 6230 square feet and sits on an acre of land far away from noise, traffic, and dust. It includes a large playground with climbing and playing equipment to fit the developmental needs of different age groups. Her clientele ranges from six weeks old to twelve years. Twenty video cameras continually monitor the five classrooms as well as the outdoor surrounding areas. The staff prepares home cooked nutritious meals in a fully equipped kitchen.

Ms. Baca believes her center serves as a vital extension of today’s families: “Our goal is to create an environment of imagination and creativity by providing a variety of learning and exploratory experiences in a warm, nurturing, and responsive environment where the child will feel safe and free to experiment, test, and discover. We strive to foster intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. We believe that children learn best from staff that are warm, nurturing, and well trained. In addition, an important part of our program is to support the family; therefore, we encourage and appreciate parental input, observations, and participation.”

The Wright Choice Learning Center has twelve very well trained and exceptional employees that help Ms. Baca accomplish this. Her business has flourished for 28 years.

The Wright Choice Learning Center demonstrates how the NMSBDC network can assist clients over the very long term.

The Learning Center was honored at the 2014 New Mexico Small Business Development Center's Day at the Legislature in February at the State Capitol! Congratulations!

Contact information:
Sandra Lee Baca, Owner
901 W Vivian Rd, Belen, NM 87002
(505) 864-2530



Success 2012: The Chispa Company, LLC


The Chispa Company, LLC

Ruben Parga, Company Founder

Chispa Company


Chispa Brillante ® “The spark of a new beginning ™”

The Chispa Company, LLC is a New Mexico based family company that was founded in early 2011. The Chispa Company manufactures authentic world-class Hispanic salsas/cooking sauces. The company founder, Ruben Parga, is a “native New Mexican” that was fortunate enough to have grown up in a household and environment where “traditional” New Mexico chile (i.e. authentic Hatch and Chimayo) was served on a regular basis. Having been exposed to the highest quality chile in the United States and possibly the world, the owner was truly bitten by the “New Mexico Chile Bug”. After spending 14 years in the corporate world the founder decided to leave his company and pursue his dream of starting a company that strives to offer the best and highest quality salsas/cooking products in the world! The Chispa Company, is very proud of the fact that only the highest quality registered and certified New Mexico chile (i.e. Hatch) is used in its products.

The Chispa Company focuses on not only, providing differentiated flavorful and authentic salsas, but also incorporates a philanthropic approach to the business. This philanthropic approach is a key differentiating factor on how The Chispa Company conducts its business operations, which will result in one day building a market leading local, regional, and eventually national caliber company.

In 2011, Ruben actively sought out the guidance and expertise of the SBDC in Albuquerque. He was fortunate to meet quite a few valuable individuals at the Albuquerque SBDC location, but gives special credit and recognition to Ray Garcia for taking him under his wing and acting as his “business mentor”. Parga states that, “Ray has been an invaluable resource to me and our business. His real world operational experience has provided focus around the fact that at the end of the day it’s about creating socially responsible economic prosperity and job creation on the local, regional and one day national level as well.” In addition, Parga is extremely grateful to his family for the support and encouragement they have provided, “None of the success that our company has experienced so far, would have been possible without the support and selfless sacrifice my family put forward at the beginning of this business adventure and continues to offer to this day.” Lastly, Parga would like to provide special recognition to the South Valley Economic Development Center. “I’ll always have a special place in my heart and loyalty towards the South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC) and to the South Valley as a whole. This great organization believed in me and our company from the beginning and without their support and access to business development resources, none of what has taken place thus far with our company would have been achieved. My company is committed to continuing a collaborative working relationship now and in the future with the SVEDC as well as the SBDC to maximize the likelihood our company will be successful for many years to come and one that represents New Mexico well”.

Parga’s long-term goal is to evolve their business into a world-class company that is focused on establishing a culture committed to offering aid and assistance to economically/educationally challenged areas in the local community, United States, and the world.

Success 2011: Brivea


Brivea, LLC

Ray Barratt, President/CEO

Brivea like all small businesses started with an idea. When Ray Barratt and Marit Peters started Brivea LLC on June 11, 2009, their idea was to develop products that allow the IT (Information Technology) Department of a corporation to effectively communicate with the finance and business leaders of the company. Brivea’s patent pending technology allows IT and executive management to speak the same language. Brivea technology measures and improves the financial effectiveness of Information Technology in a business.

Corporations spend billions of dollars on IT. CEOs and CFOs find it increasingly difficult to understand how the money is being spent and the value it is delivering. Brivea's IT Financial Health Check Technology has several components. At the core is Brivia’s KnowledgeBase, which contains data on the company, IT industry costs, and industry specific IT best practices. Brivea software uses sophisticated cause and effect analytical tools to produce the BriveaScore™ and Brivea Dashboard where CEOs and CFOs can see how the money is being spent and the value it is delivering.

The Brivea concept became reality when Barratt visited the Albuquerque SBDC in May of 2009 and met with Julianna Sutherland, Business Consultant. “We knew a lot about how to run a business,” Peters said, “We’d both been around the block. But we had no idea what all it took to start at business, from the ground up. The SBDC set us in a lot of good directions in terms of contacts, networking and helping us review and improve our business plan.” Barratt added, “If you’re a new business, you need somewhere to go to get solid, sound professional advice and navigation – whether it’s what loans and grants are available, how to access them, or how to obtain LLC status. The SBDC helped us to expedite many of these processes and to avoid common mistakes entrepreneurs can make. Equally important has been some of the softer support from Julianna and the SBDC, starting a new business can be nerve racking and words of encouragement have gone a long way and meant a lot.”

Brivea’s winning executive team has technology and business experts from across the country. Brivea has sales from San Francisco to New Jersey and has generated almost $ 1,000,000 in revenue. The company will create 250 high paying jobs at their New Mexico Brivea Center for Research by 2014. Brivea will expand into international markets by 2012. Aggressive, ambitious, fearless… Brivea will achieve $10,000,000 in sales by 2013.


Success 2011: Betty's Bath & Day Spa


Betty's Bath & Day Spa     bettylogo.jpg

Elissa Breitbard, Owner

On January 31, 2002, Elissa Breitbard, owner of Betty's Bath and Day Spa was recognized at the State Legislature on NMSBDC Day as the 2002 SBDC Business of the Year. This is an annual event where all 18 centers of the NMSBDC Network recognize their own successful businessperson.

Ms. Breitbard first visited the Albuquerque Small Business Development Center in January of 1999. She was seeking assistance with the development of a business plan and loan package for a relaxation spa in Albuquerque's North Valley. For the next six months she worked extensively on the project with the director of the SBDC, Mr. Ray A. Garcia. Based on her vision, a business model for Betty's was developed complete with financial projections, which were eventually included in a business plan and loan package. "Ray played a rare dual role — the devil's advocate realist AND the supportive cheerleader who believed in our vision. Ray's taking us seriously was pivotal in giving us the strength and resolve to push the project forward."

In July of 1999, Mr. Garcia submitted a Women's Pre-qualification Loan package to the SBA on the behalf of Ms. Breitbard. At the same time, Ms. Brietbard submitted a similar package to a local bank. After some minor tweaking and a few phone calls, both the SBA and the bank accepted the package.

In August 2000 Betty's Bath and Day Spa opened its doors and has since been very successful. Betty's is located at 1835 Candelaria NW in Albuquerque and can be seen online at Betty's employs two full-time and five part-time employees and 17 subcontractors working at the day spa. Ms. Breitbard continues to work with the SBDC in order to improve her share of the day spa market. "Services with the SBDC do not end once the doors to the business are open to the public; rather, the support--education, business-wise, and emotional-is constant." In July of 2001, Ms. Breitbard became a member of the Albuquerque SBDC Advisory Board. In this fashion she has come full circle, becoming a trusted advisor to the SBDC staff. "The staff at TVI's SBDC is savvy, friendly, and genuinely supportive."

Success 2010: VisionQuest Biomedical


VisionQuest Biomedical

Dr. Peter Soliz, Owner

Dr. Peter Soliz founded VisionQuest Biomedical in Albuquerque in 2007. The company has an impressive mission: to employ advanced prevention and early detection techniques to end blindness by the year 2020. To this end, the company is dedicated to the design and implementation of advanced medical imaging technology to enhance the detection and diagnosis of chronic diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. The medical image analysis and optical imaging technology being developed by VisionQuest is also applicable to other fields of medicine, including radiology and specialized MRI scanning methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging.

VisionQuest Biomedical has developed an automated eye-disease screening system called EyeStarTM which scans individuals for various diseases of the eye (retinopathies). This patented technology is being used first on individuals with diabetic retinopathy, which impacts 24 million U.S. residents. The technology is easy to use and non-invasive, potentially preventing early loss of vision in millions of diabetics. The development of this technology has been funded with more than $5 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Since 2007 VisionQuest Biomedical has created 15 high paying jobs in New Mexico. In 2009, VisionQuest Biomedical had revenues of $867,000 and has experienced a growth rate of more than 100 percent in the past two years. With FDA approval of EyeStarTM and subsequent commercialization, the company expects to create 100 jobs in the next three years.

Dr. Soliz believes strongly in the importance of the Albuquerque Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to the business success of VisionQuest Biomedical. “The SBDC is a key component of small business success. When other small technology start-ups ask me how I began, I always mention the SBDC. Their expert team is ready at a moment’s notice to assist with any local business, no matter what its stage of development.”

For businesses seeking assistance with business plan development, taxes, accounting and financing, as well as market strategy, Dr. Soliz highly recommends the SBDC. “I've formed great and lasting business relationships thanks to my association with the SBDC,” Dr. Soliz states. “I'm fortunate to have received this valuable assistance, but most important, to have forged lasting relationships that are the backbone of my continued success."

Success 2008: Cottonwood Orthodontics


Cottonwood Orthodontics, PC

Dr. Carlos Torrebiarte, principal

Dr. Carlos Torrebiarte has said that coming to the SBDC was an eye-opening experience! He first visited the Albuquerque SBDC in the spring of 2003 seeking advice and assistance on opening an orthodontics practice in Albuquerque: Cottonwood Orthodontics, PC. Dr. Torrebiarte is unique among SBDC clients in that he took full advantage of all the services we offer. He worked extensively with business counselor, Claudette Baca, on a business plan and loan package. The process showed him how complex starting his business would be, but it also prepared him for success. He attended most of the workshops offered at the center and visited extensively with center instructors. He also made use of our classroom and library, meeting at the SBDC with his advisory team on several occasions.

Dr. Torrebiarte opened Cottonwood Orthodontics in October of 2006. The facility is located at 3730 Ellison Dr. NW, Suite B, Albuquerque, NM 87114, not far from the corner of Alameda Rd. and Coors Blvd. It is the mission of Cottonwood Orthodontics to provide superior orthodontic care to every patient. Dr. Torrebiarte prides himself in spending extra time explaining orthodontic procedures to patients before treatment begins. One of his priorities is to keep open the line of communication between himself and the patient’s primary dentist. There are five fulltime employees at Cottonwood Orthodontics, and all services are available in English and Spanish.

Dr. Torrebiarte earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees from University Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He went on to receive a two year certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry and his orthodontics training at Eastman Dental Center at the University of Rochester, New York. 

Dr. Torrebiarte came to New Mexico in 1998, at which time he practiced orthodontics in a private office in Santa Fe. In 2000, he moved to Albuquerque. He practiced at Community Dental Services, where he served Medicaid patients in Albuquerque’s south valley until he opened Cottonwood Orthodontics. 

He is happily married to Sarah, an Albuquerque native and has three children. Although born and raised in Guatemala, Dr. Torrebiarte loves New Mexico and all of its enchantments!


Success 2007: Albuquerque Cat Clinic


Albuquerque Cat Clinic

Emily Walker, DVM, Owner

Albuquerque Cat Clinic was opened in April of 2004 by Emily Walker. It is a small veterinary practice catering only to feline patients. It fills an important niche in veterinary medicine – that of cat owners who don’t want their pets to endure the added stress of dog smells and sounds when they have to go to the vet.

Emily Walker has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Oklahoma State University. She had been practicing in a “mixed” small animal practice (dogs and cats) in Yukon, Oklahoma for four years before deciding to come back home to New Mexico, where she had spent most of her childhood. During those four years, she realized that she had a special interest in and affinity for her feline patients. After doing some preliminary job searching in the Albuquerque area, she realized that there was a need not being met, and that she had the desire and ambition to try to fill the gap.

“When I first started considering opening my own practice, the whole process seemed overwhelming. Claudette Baca at the Albuquerque SBDC helped me break everything into manageable pieces, keep my projections realistic, and take my business plan from a disjointed pile of ideas to a streamlined, comprehensive look at what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. The first bank I approached approved my loan application almost immediately.”

Emily got the loan in December of 2003, and the build-out to her lease space was completed in early April of 2004. She moved into a new house and opened the doors to the clinic, all in the same week. Although it was an exhausting time, the pride she had in knowing the business was hers from concept to completion was immense. Over the last three years the business has grown by leaps and bounds. She is approaching 2000 clients, and recently finished a major expansion project that took the clinic from 1150 square feet to almost 2800 square feet by moving into the adjoining lease space. In the next five to seven years, she plans to add an associate veterinarian so she can take a vacation, and several more employees. She is working with the CNM veterinary technician program as a preceptorship location, and has taken on leadership roles with both the Albuquerque and New Mexico veterinary associations. 

Emily’s clients have been very appreciative of the quality of care she offers as well as the pleasant environment she provides for their cats’ visits. “There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t get a personal comment or card or e-mail from one of my clients telling me how much they enjoy the experience they have here. I even had one client tell me she wishes she could come here for herself, since my office is so much nicer than her regular doctor’s! I really enjoy being able to practice medicine the way I have always wanted to, and to try out ideas I would not have been able to if someone else was the boss.”


Success 2004: Rocket, Inc.


Rocket, Inc.

Lex Dominey, Owner

Rocketfamily.jpg Rocket, Inc an insulation subcontracting business owned and operated by UNM graduates Lex Dominey and Kari Wyma-Dominey, has grown successfully in both the residential and commercial construction business since its founding in 2001. Rocket, Inc. began with a small market share of the residential construction in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho and quickly expanded to include work in the East Mountain area and Santa Fe. The fast-track growth of this company has created employment for 15 people (12 full-time and 3 part-time).

TVI's Small Business Development Center has been instrumental in Rocket's growth and decision-making processes all along. Dominey explains: "The workshops really helped solidify our understanding of the various financial statements and the relationships between them. In 2002, Claudette Baca began working with us to bring clarity to our financial statements and help glean the information necessary to make solid decisions. Our sales tripled in 2003 and then doubled in 2004. We fully expect them to double again in 2005."

The efforts of all the employees of Rocket, Inc. have contributed to its growth. Employing local, experienced installers has been a great boon, as they have provided the company with the reliability and quality workmanship that Rocket takes pride in. In addition Rocket, Inc. has benefited from the ongoing support of Guardian Fiberglass, a national manufacturer of insulation products, and Chaparral Materials, a local construction products distributor.

Rocket now has contracts with several large builders, and the expected growth in the next year should increase the number of employees to at least 20 people. TVI's SBDC continues to assist the company. "Meetings with Ray Garcia and the staff of the SBDC have been, and continue to be, incredibly supportive and valuable. Their assistance, support and information have enabled Rocket to plan and prepare for growth in a controlled and manageable fashion," said Dominey.

Success 2003: St. James Tearoom


Mary Alice Higbie, Owner

Return to Elegance…

Join Mary Alice Higbie for English Tea , an experience as refreshing as her white teas .  White teas are quite rare, and very, very delicate, the liquor is pale, the taste as exquisite as your visit to the St. James Tearoom will be. Imagine sitting in an English Lady’s parlor, comfortable chairs, starched napkins, and homemade scones that melt in your mouth.  Each private ‘vignette’ is named after a place in Great Britain, such as Tintagel , named for the legendary birthplace of King Arthur in Cornwall.

Mrs. Higbie, Proprietress, visited the Albuquerque SBDC on October 5, 1998 and asked for help on how to write a business plan.  She wanted to know what was involved in starting a traditional British tearoom in Albuquerque.   Mrs. Higbie says, “This was to be our first business. We had never done anything like it before.  Bob (Gramley) was very encouraging during such a scary change in our lives and provided a wealth of information in writing a business plan, financial projections, and overall advice on how to start and succeed in a new business.”

The St. James Tearoom opened with two employees on December 22, 1999 and was awarded a rating of  **** by the Albuquerque Journal within six months of opening.  In the three and one-half years since, The St. James has expanded twice, and now employs 30 full and part-time employees in a beautiful 100 year old original north valley adobe home.

The St. James Tearoom is truly A Return to Elegance .  To Mrs. Higbie the St. James feeds the soul as well as the body.  It’s a place for quiet thought, gentle communication, and a sweet respite from a hectic everyday world. The St. James provides an education in the art of tea and etiquette, working with young and old alike to attend to good manners, propriety, decency, and graciousness. 

Mrs. Higbie is a tea and etiquette consultant certified by the Protocol School of Washington, D.C. and did research in London, England. In England, Mrs. Higbie brought back many great treasures including the recipes that make the fine savories, tea sandwiches, and delicate scones served with lemon curd and clotted cream both made fresh daily. 

The St. James Tearoom has moved to a new location:

Open from 11 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, with three seatings per day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Four Seatings per day Thursday-Saturday by reservation.  Visit The St. James Tearoom at their new location at 320 Osuna NE, Bldg D. Albuquerque, NM 87107 (SW corner of Edith & Osuna).  Visit their website at . You deserve the experience; call (505) 242-3752 for reservations and featured events.


Success 2002: Fresh & Clean


Fresh & Clean Portable Restrooms, Inc.

Robert Medina, President ~ Orrin King, Vice President

In February 2003, Robert Medina and Orrin King, owners of Fresh & Clean, were recognized at the State Legislature on NMSBDC Day as the 2002 SBDC Business of the Year. This is an annual event where all 18 centers of the NMSBDC Network recognize their own successful businessperson.

In 1999, Robert Medina and Orrin King requested assistance from the Albuquerque Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Their goal was to start a portable restroom business offering first class facilities and a higher standard of sanitation. With the assistance of the SBDC, they developed a strong business plan and projections to help them obtain funding for their venture. "The SBDC guidance was invaluable in the preparation of our plan and presentation to our lender," stated Mr. King. They received approval for their loan and in April of 1999, Mr. Medina and Mr. King started Fresh and Clean Portable Restrooms, Inc. providing portable restrooms for special events, parties, and job sites in Albuquerque, NM. Their first year sales reached $190,000 and Fresh and Clean has seen 100% growth consecutively in the last three years of operation. They currently have five full-time and two part-time employees and are seeking to expand into Albuquerque's surrounding areas, including Santa Fe. They have also added luxury portable restrooms complete with oak finishing and temporary sinks and showers into their product line. The primary goal of Fresh & Clean is to upgrade sanitation for all industries.


Fresh & Clean is very active in the Albuquerque community and provides services to the Journal Pavilion, New Mexico State Fair, International Balloon Fiesta, the City of Albuquerque Summer Fest, and the Annual Run for the Zoo. They also provide services to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Farmington, NM. Robert is an active member of the Board of Directors for Housing New Mexico, and it is with this affiliation that Fresh & Clean volunteers both their services and time to Habitat for Humanity and Christmas in April. From 1999 through 2001 they donated in-kind services to the annual Carrie Tingley Mudd Volleyball event. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Fresh & Clean also provided emergency equipment to the 2000 Los Alamos Cerro Grande Fire, as well as to the largest forest fire in U.S. history, the Salmon Fire in Idaho.

Robert and Orrin continue to consult with the SBDC as their business grows. They seek assistance with financial analysis, marketing strategies, and strategic planning. Robert says, "The SBDC gave us direction on where to start and how to accomplish our goals. With their assistance we were able to review the industry in depth, which helped minimize our risk and allowed us to see how we were going to get the highest return on our investment. Most importantly, the strong relationship with the SBDC continues three and a half years after our opening. They are a dependable source for starting and growing a small business."


Success 2001: Screen Images


Screen Images, Inc.

Maria Cordova-Barber & Sandy Harrington, owners

In June 2001, Sandy Harrington and Maria Cordova-Barber sought the services of the Albuquerque Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to assist them in assessing procurement opportunities as a women/minority-owned business. They have successfully owned and operated Screen Images, Inc. since 1996, a local women/minority-owned custom screen-printing business. Screen Images is dedicated to providing quality services with their screen-printing, promotional products, engraving, signage, embroidery, paper products and art graphics. They can be found online at and are located at 3738 Arno NE, Albuquerque NM.

After being in business for six years they were ready for that next step and wanted to see what programs were available for women/minority-owned businesses seeking contracts with the government. With the assistance from the SBDC and the New Mexico Procurement Assistance Program (NMPAP) they decided to apply for SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program, as well as the HUBZone Contracting Program. These SBA programs were created to help small businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market. For more information on these programs visit the SBA web site at .

Meeting all of the criteria necessary to apply, Ms. Harrington and Ms. Cordova-Barber worked with Claudette Baca in preparing a business plan and with Rosemary Chavez (NMPAP) on their extensive 8(a) application package and HUBZone application. In November 2001 they received their HUBZone certification and are currently waiting to hear from the SBA regarding their 8(a) application. "Our experience with the SBDC and the Procurement Assistance Program was fun and pleasant considering the intensity of the project. We felt like we made a friend out of the situation. We were surprised to learn that there was a place to go for assistance in developing our business plan-at no cost. The SBDC and NMPAP wanted to truly help our business – we mattered."


Success 1998: Queston Construction


Queston Construction, Inc.

Tina Cordova, President and CEO


In 1990, Tina Cordova and Russ Steward formed the Queston Company, a general partnership with Tina as the majority owner. In 1999, the Queston Company became a corporation and Tina was named president and CEO. The company does commercial construction and all types of roofing. Currently, the company derives 40 percent of its revenue from actual building construction and the other 60 percent from roofing. In the beginning, when capital was scarce, Tina utilized every service available to launch the business and keep it running. Knowing the sources of information that are available in the community, Tina sought assistance from the TVI Small Business Development Center (SBDC), who helped her develop a business plan. She also spent time with SCORE volunteers at the Small Business Administration. Due to Tina's drive to become one of New Mexico's largest and most successful construction companies, the Queston Company has grown from a two-person operation to a 26-person organization. With a nomination by the TVI SBDC, Tina was awarded the 2000 U.S. Small Business Administration "Small Business Person of the Year" for the State of New Mexico. Among several other prestigious honors, Tina was also named Entrepreneur of the Year in the construction category from the Center of Entrepreneurship in November 1998 with a nomination from the TVI SBDC. Last February, the Queston Company was one of 16 New Mexico businesses honored at the state capitol by the governor and legislators at the annual New Mexico Small Business Development Center Day. Tina is a strong supporter of the services and programs offered by the TVI SBDC, she has served on its Advisory Board for two years.

"The Small Business Development Center was the first place I went for business advice. I received a multitude of free services that helped me to start and then grow my business. The classes were especially helpful. I continue to value them today as a source of information and would advise anyone who needs good sound business advice to visit the SBDC."

Queston Construction was honored at both the 1999 and 2000 NMSBDC Day held at the State Legislature. Tina Cordova was also featured in the following articles:


>SBA Success Story of the Month

"Success Goes Through the Roof for Contractor" ~ Albuquerque Tribune

Building Wealth ~ Hispanic Magazine (June 2001)



Contact SBDC

Success 2015: Chatterbox Speech Therapy



Chatterbox Speech Therapy!

Tanya Friend Salazar & Lisa McDermeit, Owners

Chatterbox Speech Therapy

“As a business owner it is easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks and forget to take the time to keep dreaming!”

Chatterbox Speech Therapy is a speech and language therapy clinic providing speech and language services to children and adults through group and individual sessions.  The company’s mission is to be the preferred Speech and Language therapy clinic in all of New Mexico.  The therapy programs are designed to enhance progress through individualized support, family involvement and peer interaction.

The company is passionately committed to improving the lives of the children and families it serves by celebrating their unique gifts and helping them find their voices.  Chatterbox Speech Therapy has had significant steady growth over the past three years.  Not only has the clinic grown in number of clients served but so has the company’s employment.  The company has also been able to partner with two New Mexico Universities to offer student intern positions.

Tanya and Lisa made the decision to attend the SBDC’s orientation called “Pathway to Success” in December of 2014 when they started facing cash flow difficulties due to health care changes.  The two were seeking help with cash flow projections, income statements, budgeting and reconsidering salaries for several employees. 

Tanya says that “Ray Garcia took the time to listen to our story and understand our business. He was very positive and encouraging, and provided great advice.  I was able to take this advice back to my business partner, so that we could make immediate changes which ultimately saved our business.  It is both helpful and important to get advice and direction from a business professional that is not directly connected to your business.  Even if you have been in business for twenty plus years I would recommend taking the time to consider the resources that SBDC provides.  Not only did we receive help with our immediate issues but we were encouraged to reevaluate our business and plan for the future.  As a business owner it is easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks and forget to take the time to keep dreaming!”


Chatterbox Speech Therapy! was honored at the 2016 New Mexico Small Business Development Center's Day at the Legislature in February at the State Capitol! Congratulations!

Contact information:
Tanya Friend Salazar & Lisa McDermeit, Owners
5701 Carmel Ave. NE Suite B
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113
(505) 821-1638