Rocky Road Stables, LLC

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As a senior at Luzerne Community College, Melissa McHenry of Bloomsburg first came to the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in March of 2012 for assistance in developing a business plan for a student entrepreneurial competition. An avid horsewoman her entire life with a barn full of twelve horses, McHenry dreamed of building and opening Rocky Road Stables, her own indoor arena to board and train horses, give riding lessons, host skills camps to children and adults of all ages and levels, and to provide private “horse” parties for special occasions such as children’s birthday parties. She based her business concept for Rocky Road Stables on “horse people working for horse people.”

Working closely with her SBDC consultant, McHenry completed her business plan in May 2012. Throughout the summer she worked toward implementation with the help of her parents, who agreed to lease space to McHenry to build the indoor arena on their 100-acre family farm. In between her college class schedule, the private riding lessons, and horse training she continued to give at area horse shows, McHenry found time for regular visits to the SBDC, where she received guidance and assistance with start-up considerations such as business structure and formation, insurance, bookkeeping and personnel planning, as well as financial and sales forecasting.

During the summer and into the fall, McHenry continued to grow her client base and sales but faced the challenge of determining the ideal size and layout of the indoor arena she was planning on building, a decision which required careful thought and thorough research. She also struggled with the idea of involving a potential business partner. The SBDC helped McHenry analyze the financial forecasts to determine a maximum manageable monthly mortgage and lease payment to help determine the final design and layout of the arena. She also decided to proceed with Rocky Road Stables on her own, without a business partner.

In October of 2012, after working with the SBDC to refine the business plan and prepare a financial presentation, McHenry began to look for financing. After several non-responsive potential lenders, with the bulldozer sitting in wait, with the help of her parents McHenry was able to secure a $90,000 loan in May 2013 to build Rocky Road Stables indoor arena.

Ground breaking took place in mid-January, with anticipated completion in April. McHenry is working with the SBDC to plan the Grand Opening of the new facility in May of 2013.

Rocky Road Stables is on track to realize triple digit sales growth with the addition of the expanded services and year-round availability offered with the indoor arena. The company will also be creating several part-time jobs by year end.

Through much hard work, focus and determination, Melissa McHenry, a “horseperson working for horse people,” has made her Rocky Road Stables dream come true.

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