Chuck Swift, founder of Restoring Hope, contracts with Department of Mental Health and Children's Division of Family Services to place individuals with developmental disabilities in family homes, where they are supported in a less restrictive environment than a group home. They become part of the family and enjoy a less restrictive life. Chuck believes this one-on-one approach provides a better quality of life and enables problem behaviors to be more easily modified, often eliminating the behavior completely over time.
Before coming to the Ozarks Small Business Incubator, Chuck and his business partner were operating Restoring Hope, LLC as a home-based business. For three in a half years, they would use their cars as a mobile office, hold trainings in different buildings throughout the community, and watch as their dining room began to overflow with files. "As a home-based business, you can never get away from your work," said Chuck. One day in late February, they stopped by OzSBI to see what the Incubator had to offer and were blown away. Chuck said his first impression was "this is the type of facility you see in St. Louis or Kansas City."
The professional look of the space and the state-of-the-art technology drew them in, but it was the bundled services that came with the office space that really got them excited about becoming a tenant client of OzSBI. Although Restoring Hope, LLC rents one office in the facility, they have use of the large meeting room that holds up to 70 for their trainings and the board room for smaller meetings. They use both spaces regularly and with 24/7 access and a security system in place, they have been known to utilize the meeting rooms on weekends and holidays.
They also like the fact that OzSBI reduced their out-of-pocket start-up costs. Each office in OzSBI comes furnished with desks and side chairs, a telephone system, internet access, and the utilities are included in the rent, so they only have to budget for one fixed cost each month. Restoring Hope, LLC also did not have to go out and purchase a large copy machine, as OzSBI provides that too. "It is so cost effective to be here," remarked Chuck.
Besides the facility itself, Restoring Hope has utilized the services of OzSBI. Chuck finds the "open-door" policy of OzSBI to be conducive to his work environment. He is working with the MSU-WP Small Business and Technology Development Center, which is located in OzSBI and provides free business counseling. OzSBI mentors and staff drop by to check in and see how business is progressing. Networking with OzSBI's other clients has also been an added benefit that he had not anticipated. Chuck and his business partner look forward to the workshops offered this fall and taking classes at MSU-WP in the Small Business Management Certificate Program, a program specifically designed for OzSBI clients by Missouri State University.
"Coming to OzSBI reduced our stress and helped us operate more efficiently," commented Chuck, "It opened my mind to new ways to expand." Since moving to the Ozarks Small Business Incubator, Restoring Hope, LLC has more than doubled in size. The agency is growing. They have placed eight individuals in West Plains and there are no signs of stopping. The agency is living up to its mission, "We restore hope one family at a time" and OzSBI is proud to be part of their success.