By Shelby Ostrand, former staff member. Carlos Barcenas contributed to this blog.
When Sheyla Campos and Antonio Fombellida Garcia started their business Handyman Antonio, in Grand Island, Nebraska, they made sure everything was by the book.
They turned to the Center for Rural Affairs’ Construction Academy and Cleaning Academy, each a series of classes focused on the industry—exactly what they needed.
“We were looking for orientation on how to open a business, do it according to the law and follow state regulations,” said Sheyla.
Griselda Rendon, Center Latino loan specialist, guided them to the academies after assisting the new business owners with a one-on-one business counseling session.
“She was the first person we met, and we are extremely thankful,” Sheyla said. “We were taken by the hand in this process so we could open our business, step by step.”
“Both Antonio and Sheyla wanted to make sure they did everything the right way,” said Griselda. “Right from the very beginning they were keen on doing it all correctly, with all the appropriate documentation.”
After attending the Cleaning Academy, Sheyla and Antonio took their business to new heights with lessons learned, including knowing what products to use for different jobs, the differences in chemicals, and what portions of products are required.
They also touted their Cleaning Management Institute certifications they earned upon completing the course and passing an exam.
“Everything was wonderful, we were able to be prepared and put everything into practice right away,” said Antonio. “I have been able to share these skills with many others to make sure others are using the right chemicals and portions as well.”
The next step in improving their business was attending another of the Center’s courses, the Construction Academy.
“The Construction Academy was fantastic,” Sheyla said. “It taught us how to keep our paperwork, construct a contract, and to make sure our clients are happy with our work. We learned a lot from budgeting to making proposals for potential jobs. We also received information on customer service and the proper way to do business.”
Sheyla and Antonio have been grateful to the Center staff, including Griselda and Raúl Arcos Hawkins, business development specialist, who continue to let them know about upcoming opportunities.
“Both Sheyla and Antonio have been very active participants in our training sessions,” Raúl said. “In addition to the Construction Academy and Cleaning Academy, they have also attended the Restaurant Academy, Defense Cleaning and Sanitation Module, Business Start Up Module, and Financial Literacy Course.”
Earlier this year, the owners of Handyman Antonio were notified of special financing made available to businesses struggling during the pandemic. They applied for and received a COVID-19 relief grant administered by the Center, with funds provided by Wells Fargo.
“Raúl and Griselda have been wonderful with us and everyone else, letting people know what is going on,” said Antonio. “Raúl has been very attentive and shared content online through social media which has helped us tremendously. ”
“We are so thankful for all the help the Center for Rural Affairs has provided to us. We look forward to new academies so we can attend,” said Sheyla.
To learn more about small business services the Center has to offer, visit cfra.org/lending.
At a glance
Sheyla Campos and Antonio Fombellida Garcia
1110 W. Charles St.
Grand Island, Nebraska 68801