Chris was a high school band teacher before starting his business 8 years ago
He started as an area sales representative for a Wichita company that manufactures high school band uniforms. And in Texas “Friday Night Lights” and high school bands are a fertile market. He then expanded into other related items like band hats, and batons, and then began self-manufacturing high school orchestra dresses and tuxes, as well as manufacturing batons and caps
Recently he contracted with a Costa Rican company to manufacture shoes for high school bands. He is in the process of outfitting a 55-foot trailer that can be driven to schools with shoe inventories so the student can be fitted and delivered at the same time.
He recently attended a national band directors meeting in Las Vegas and wound up with a large order from the Las Vegas/Clark County schools and an introduction into the Reno schools.
In addition to expanding his line and customer base since I began working with him, he has moved from 2 full-time staff to four and still planning to add more.
He recently moved into an office with some warehouse space. He is based in Irving, Texas.
The company has expanded from 3 part-time women sewing orchestra gear in their garages to sophisticated professional cutters and costume assembly. The eCommerce website shows over 300 items and orders can be placed and paid for online.
His company now doing a little over a million dollars a year in sales and making a very notable net profit.
Chris expressed his thanks to Edward Stone and SCORE for their assistance and guidance.
The second winner is Katie Bigelow age 18 - now a first-year student at Southern Appalachian University in Boone North Carolina
Joining Generations – Nonprofit – Katie Bigelow, High School Senior
The lead SCORE Mentor is Ray Fox
The mission of Joining Generations is to provide opportunities for the youth to engage and connect with the senior population by promoting meaningful interaction, friendships, and connection to the community. Many activities are outlined on this page of their website.
You can see a touching video of their operations made by a SCORE mentor Bruce Quernemoen at this link on Vimeo
Joining Generations is a non-profit organization established in 2016 when Katie was a High School sophomore. Katie formed the 501C3 nonprofit corporation and attended to the formation of a board including local business people successfully. she spearheaded their fundraising effort and secured sufficient donations to end the year with a surplus.
The first chapter was at Frisco Reedy High School and is expanding to Frisco Heritage High School in 2019 and is targeting chapters in Frisco Wakeland High and also in North Carolina where she is in college
It provides opportunities for the youth to engage and connect with the senior population in the area by promoting meaningful interaction, friendships, and connection to the community. The program peaked at 90 participants in the Frisco area and has 50 students now who are in contact with senior living facilities in the area.
The high school program allows students the opportunity to start a student chapter, lead it, and volunteer at the chapter’s partnered senior facility.
Some student comments if you need a quote
“Through Joining Generations, I found that interacting with people of different ages can not only bring about new perspectives and experiences but also be a great way to form new friendships.” - Erin Camelon
“Having a grandparent in assisted living has opened my eyes to how important student and community involvement is within these facilities. I love that Joining Generations works to bring students together to bring joy and fun activities to these homes, impacting both the students and the residents in amazing ways.” - Emma Clark
“Joining Generations has taught me so much. It has taught me to value my family and friends more and is a consistent reminder. It has taught me compassion and patience in situations I never thought I would be in. Joining Generations has provided me with experiences that I feel I wouldn’t have been given anywhere else in high school.” - Tess Namethbeck
“Joining Generations is a place where all types of people can come together to help the elders of their community. It is a place where I’ve made some meaningful friends and experiences through my three years in the organization.” - Grant Heye