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Sylvania chamber begins mentoring program for new businesses

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    Jim Shrader, of Shrader Tire & Oil in Sylvania, center, addressed a group of local business people during the first Morning Mentoring Series by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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    Pat Keenan, field director with Erie Shores Boy Scouts Council, left, and Cindy Vincent, owner of Optimum Chi Studio, laugh at discussions at the mentoring session last week.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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WebSylMENTOR26p

Jim Shrader, of Shrader Tire & Oil in Sylvania, center, addressed a group of local business people during the first Morning Mentoring Series by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Area business leaders are sharing their triumphs and upsets as part of a recipe of success for young Sylvania professionals and business owners.

The Morning Mentor Series is a new initiative by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, which taps a pool of corporate professionals and entrepreneurs to share their business wisdom those running or starting a business. The program is to occur one morning every other month.

“Older professionals have so much knowledge that they have obtained through their business pursuits -- it is great that they are willing to share that knowledge so that the younger professionals can learn how to avoid mistakes and how to turn networking into a sale,” said Pat Nowak, chamber executive director.

The first hour-long session was hosted last week at the Wingate Windham Hotel.

About 10 area entrepreneurs gathered for morning coffee and breakfast in a small room to hear James Shrader Jr., 78, dole out “nuggets” of knowledge about his family business, Shrader Tire and Oil. Headquartered in Toledo, the business is now being managed by the third generation of Shraders.

WebSylMENTOR26p-1

Pat Keenan, field director with Erie Shores Boy Scouts Council, left, and Cindy Vincent, owner of Optimum Chi Studio, laugh at discussions at the mentoring session last week.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Mr. Shrader told them intimate details about how he and his father, James, ran the day-to-day operations of the business, especially its emphasis on the little details, from saying “hello” to employees and logging every single product used.

But bottom line, he said, take care of the customer.

“Do the basics well, better than the competitor. Make it easier for customers to do business with you,” he advised.

He suggested the young entrepreneurs make use of the free assistance of an organization called SCORE, which offers advice and guidelines for start-ups and budding small businesses.

“Making it personal to employees, dropping a kind word -- I think that is really really important," said Cindy Vincent, who was in attendance and who owns Optimum Chi Studio, a health and massage therapy business in Sylvania. "And his advice, ‘don’t hire who you can’t fire,’ that just rings true.”

The next Morning Mentor session is scheduled for 7:45 a.m. May 7. For information visit www.sylvaniachamber.org.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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