Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The Simple Dollar
Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change
by John Ulzheimer
Updated on 07-17-17

Credit scores aren’t static. They don’t rise and fall like temperature. No, credit scores are simply a snapshot evaluation of your credit report information at a given point in time. But when the information on your credit reports changes, your scores will generally be different the next time they’re calculated.

Certain credit events may lead to a predictable difference in your credit scores. For example, if your credit report shows a new missed or late payment, a new collection account, or a new tax lien filed against you, you can presume that your credit scores will be impacted. But it’s not always this clear cut. Sometimes your credit score changes for less than obvious reasons.

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Sole Choice, Inc.

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Specialist, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

At one point in history, Portsmouth, Ohio, was a shoe-making mecca with 5,000 industry employees. When the last of the industry was on the verge of closing, seven partners some investing their life savings to keep the, then, Michellace, facility open. In 2009, Sole Choice, Inc. launched. Located at 830 Murray Street in Portsmouth, Ohio, it occupies a manufacturing space on a five-acre site in Portsmouth, Ohio. Built in 1918 and expanded in 1929 and 1947, the building has survived the economic decline as well as the 1937 Portsmouth flood.

Sole Choice began with 15 people on staff and 24 customer accounts. They currently have more than 50 on staff and over 400 customer accounts. They are a team of hardworking, honest, and dedicated individuals, who provide innovative and flexible solutions to meet the needs of customers. They have been providing quality products to the retail and industrial markets for over 100 years and take pride in their history. This is company with a long-term reputation for innovation, quality, efficiency and delivery for serve on a local and global basis.

Sole Choice manufactures:
• Trims: hood cords, twill tape, binding and webbing, tipped, spooled, blocked, hot cut, and cold cut put-ups with dye to match colors
• Shoelaces: found, flat and oval, tipped or fused in a variety of lengths, waxed and anti-wicking treatments available, available colors
• Print lace and ad specialties: designed products for sporting events, radio stations, give-a-ways, direct mail, and trade shows — offering customers the creative option of printing up to six colors and using a variety of textiles including polyester, nylon, cotton, Kevlar, reflective material, and wax

Bryan Davis, Executive Director, shared, “Our products are ‘Made in America.’ We source most of our raw material right here too. Our yarns come from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. Our primary customers are the footwear industry, medical industry, Department of Defense, and our work with the apparel industry has been growing over the years.”
Ryan Bouts, Executive Director, said, “Our willingness to work with clients to develop and produce designer products sets us apart within our industry. At any given time, we have 10 to 12 new products, colors, or designs being developed.”

When Sole Choice, Inc. began focusing on marketing their business, they met with Kelly O’Bryant, director of the Small Business Development Center’s Export Assistance Center at the Ohio State University South Centers-Piketon. Davis mentioned, “Kelly suggested the Ohio IMAGE Grant to help us expand our marketing and international reach. Kelly explained that the program is funded federally through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)–in essence, we are getting some of our tax dollars back. Kelly was very hands-on through the whole project. The application process was simple and took only minutes to apply. We doubled our attendance at key international industry tradeshows across the country. We also developed a customer brand book.”

Bouts added, “Kelly was very responsive to questions. She walked us through the application process. It is still a bit early to record impacts; but we have been able to budget for more international trade show exposure. Also in less than a year, we have gleaned more than 50 new contacts. It opened up a whole new region for us in Asia.”
The company has certainly been involved with some interesting projects over the years: a 100 ft. long shoelace for a 15 ft. tall boot for Redwing’s 100-year anniversary; a commissioned nautical rope-like shoelace project; the glow-in-the-dark lace project, where laces glow up to 4 hours; the Bluelace Project, where a strongman pulled a 13,000 lb. truck with a pair of 51” shoelaces; cords on space shuttle; cordage for catheter bags for hospitals; cords in radar systems for Royal Navy; shoeslaces in first-line military boots; shoelaces for forest firefighting boots; organic cotton shoelaces made for an all natural product shoe; and much more.

Bouts said, “We’ve modeled our company to cater to the industry design element. We don’t have the cookie-cutter approach to our product development that some of our competitors do. When we are challenged to come up with a solution, we don’t shy away. We work closely with customers to reach their product goal.”

Davis added, “Also we are strategically located in a textile hotbed with ¾ of the population within 600 miles. We can ship within two days to Norfolk, two days to Chicago, or three days to Jacksonville or Mobile.”

For more information about Sole Choice, go to, call 740-354-2813, or email

7-20-2017 OSU South Centers Live Stream – MEP Talk

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Originally posted to YouTube
on July 20, 2017 at
OSU South Centers Live Stream – MEP Talk

Mick Whitt, Business Specialist with the Small Business Development Center interviews Susan Foltz, Director of Manufacturing Assistance Programs with the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Nicholas Dengel, Used Cars Manager with Glockner Superstore in Portsmouth.

Handling Customer Complaints

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

The Best Way to Handle Customer Complaints
by: Trisha Miller

If you’re thinking about starting up a small business or you’ve just recently launched, fantastic customer service is undoubtedly on your radar.

You want your customers to come away from an experience with your company having seen you in the best possible light. In an optimal situation, the majority of them would not only become repeat customers but would also enthusiastically recommend your product or service to others.

This, however, is easier said than done. Handling customer complaints can be difficult, especially right when you start a new business. However hard it may be to take criticism, it’s extremely important to the growth of your small business. Even if a customer doesn’t necessarily give you easy-to-swallow feedback, learning to see past harsh words and hear valid complaints and suggestions for improvement is vital.

Don’t fret! Here’s what you need to know to handle customer complaints with ease.

How to look past negativity

Starting a new business can be scary. Investing your time, effort, and finances into a venture that might not be a sure thing can be intimidating.

However, customer complaints shouldn’t add any stress. Fear of failure is high on the list of reasons why people sometimes choose not to pursue great ideas. For some, criticism or complaints can be viewed as a failure—but they aren’t. They’re actually just the opposite; they are an opportunity to improve.

Maybe you’ve heard horror stories from other business owners about “their worst customer ever,” but you should know that these types of scenarios are rare, though memorable.

No matter what happens, remember, even when delivered unskillfully, your complaining customers are providing a treasure trove of information on how you improve your business and your customer service approach. If you view complaints this way, you’ll be able to better prepare yourself and your team for any challenging conversations.

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SOACDF offering a variety of agricultural programs to assist southern Ohio farmers

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is again offering an opportunity for farmers in Southern Ohio. The programs are similar to previous years, however, this year, a new requirement is that eligible parties must provide documentation of the most recent tax return which shows farm activity (ex. Schedule F, form 1120, 1065, 4835, etc.).

The Young Farmer Agricultural Program is designed to facilitate growing an agricultural enterprise to the next level. The intent of the program is to help promote and ensure a strong future in southern Ohio agriculture. Eligible applicants must be ages 20 – 38 as of August 1, 2016 and must reside within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves.

The Agricultural Development Program is open to any individual who resides within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves that have either a Farm Service Agency (FSA) number on record. It is very similar to the Young Farmer, however there is no age requirement.

SOACDF will award up grants in both of programs of up to $25,000 each. The grants will be 50% cost shares with the awardees.

Returning this year is an Environmental/Water Quality Grant Program which is open only to tobacco quota owners, quota owner/growers or grower/tenants of FSA records in any single crop year from 1997-2004. The maximum reimbursement is $10,000 and focuses on improvements made on farming operations such as stream crossings, containment systems, and manure storage facilities.

Applications, including a business plan, will be accepted for the programs throughout August. Applications are available at the SOACDF office in Hillsboro, the local Farm Service Agency or online at Continue reading