Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 26, 2002 - A Southeast Missouri small business that received start-up counseling from the Small Business Development Center (SBCD) at Southeast Missouri State University is now flourishing in Ellsinore, Mo.

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. The Shaffers build 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. Son Robert says the business is going well.

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

"I was impressed by the industrious nature of the whole family," Cooper said. "They are all pulling together as one."

Cooper says 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 with Gil Degenhardt, SBDC circuit counselor, at the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce, 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.

"They put us on the right track," said Robert Shaffer. "They gave us a lot of good ideas to follow through on."

"This is really the kind of thing we look forward to as small business counselors," Cooper said. "We are glad to see this kind of success for the owners and for the community. When that many jobs can be created, it is doubly good. This is the kind of thing we always hope can develop."

Shaffer's Substation recently was in the spotlight when it was featured on the home page of the Missouri Business Development Network. The story is now available on the site at

The Missouri Business Development Network (MoBDN) brings together the best of state and University business resources - Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri Small Business Development Centers, University Outreach and Extension, Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Department of Agriculture -- into one easy to access network for entrepreneurs wishing to start, grow or expand their business. Each week, the home page of the MoBDN spotlights a Missouri entrepreneur.


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