MANATEE -- With a $7,500 line of credit and some help from business associates and friends, Dave Chism began his start-up manufacturing company in Manatee County 2 1/2 years ago.
He celebrated his company's success by receiving the Client of the Year Award from the Manasota SCORE chapter during a luncheon Wednesday at Michael's on East.
Chism Manufacturing Services, which produces wire and cable harnesses for companies like Radiant Power, Veethree Electronics and Anko Products, had $500,500 in revenue last year and expects around $700,000 this year. The wired cable assemblies which go inside electronic equipment are used in the boating, military and medical industries.
"My vendors went out on a limb and gave me credit," said Chism, who initially got the materials he needed provided by his clients.
The former vice president and general manager of WPI in Tallevast was a well-known commodity to those in the industry. Chism used his reputation to get his company started while operating on a shoestring.
"The magic is Dave's attitude," said SCORE mentor King Barnard, who counseled Chism on best business practices. "His mantra is 'Treat the customer like family, give them more than they require and certainly more than they expect.'"
Chism contacted SCORE after someone he worked with recommended the nonprofit agency of retired business executives as a great way to get free advice for fledgling businesses.
"They do a wonderful job, they keep you focused," Chism said. "They helped me with my financials and gave me ideas on how to grow the business."
His biggest problem now is slowing his growth a little so he can concentrate on getting more advanced certifications that will expand his business opportunities.
The company has seven full-time and two part-time employees and he expects to hire for two more positions in 2013.
Kenneth Yancy, CEO of the national SCORE organization, gave the keynote speech Wednesday. He said the agency is one of the most efficient and effective because the businesses it helps provide $57 in taxes to the federal treasury for every $1 spent in government grants.
He called the Manasota chapter, which is nominated for chapter of the year nationally, "a shining example, a poster child for what a SCORE chapter should be."
The chapter, which mentors businesses in Manatee and Sarasota counties, had a 40 percent increase in clients and helped provide 160 new jobs created by businesses it assisted this past year, Yancy said.
The Platinum Leadership Award was given to SCORE mentor Charles Sax, who presented the Sam's Club special business award to Revelle Academy owner Evelyn Squires.