Shaffer's Substation volts business profits

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Business Today

ELLSINORE -- A Southeast Missouri small business that received start-up counseling from the Small Business Development Center at Southeast Missouri State University is now flourishing in Ellsinore.

Since January, Shaffer's Substation has created 14 new jobs and has projected its first-year receipts at $1.6 million.

Shaffer's Substation is an electrical substation construction business. Shaffer's builds high-voltage substations for power companies to use in sending out electricity on their distribution lines.

The business is owned and operated by Robert Shaffer Sr.; his wife, Brenda; their son, Robert Shaffer; and his wife, Karen. The startup has been a boost to the local economy since it was launched in January.

Larry Cooper, SBDC senior business counselor, assisted the Shaffers in getting their business off the ground.

Cooper said the key to the Shaffers success is their long history in the electrical substation construction business. The Shaffers have 50 years of combined experience in the power industry. Robert Shaffer Sr. has been in this line of work for 35 years, and his son, Robert, for another 15.

"They have many industry contacts and a good reputation," Cooper said, adding that several large electrical power companies in three states encouraged them to start their own business.

"This business startup had a waiting market," Cooper said. "Their years of experience in the trade were the key to their success."

Last September, after visiting with their local banker to discuss financing their venture, the Shaffers met at the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce with circuit counselor Gil Degenhardt of the Small Business Development Center of Southeast Missouri State University to discuss business planning, financing and other start-up issues.

Degenhardt referred them to Cooper, who discussed the bank loan process, bank policies relating to start-up risks, legal forms of business and personal and collateral risks. Cooper assisted with business plan development and financial projections.

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