Spotlight on Success: The Help Desk
The SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon has played a significant role in the opening of an educational supply and service store located in Sterling, Illinois. The grand opening was held by owner, Brandi Duchay, Monday, July 17th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Help Desk stocks workbooks, bookmarks, pencils, miscellaneous prizes and rewards for students, classroom decorations, educational posters and art supplies. Laminating and printing are the services currently offered. Teachers will find a "maker space" where they may create something for their classroom, purchasing only the materials necessary for the project. “I felt there was a need for teacher support,” said Duchay, an elementary school teacher for 8 years. “I feel like teachers are required to have a lot on their plates.”
The business is not only for teachers but caters to students and parents as well. For example, once the school year starts, Duchay plans to hire high school and college students to tutor young children and peers. Her future plans also include offering a space for professional development. “I’m hoping it’s a place where home and school meet,” she said. “We all have one goal and that is to educate kids.”
Duchay worked with the SBDC throughout her process. She explained how appreciative she was of their ability to provide feedback right away. "Dave and Emily helped me understand a lot about how the process works; from the business plan to the loan process, to generating ideas for the business. I was able to send an email anytime I came across something I didn’t understand and they’d have the answer or help me find it. They have been a great tool and were always in my corner pulling for me.”
Janna Groharing, Executive Director of Sterling Main Street, stated how happy Sterling is to have The Help Desk in the downtown. " It's those unique, specialty retail shops that help give downtown Sterling its character. From the minute the "coming soon" sign went up in the front window, there has been a lot of excitement. The community is looking forward to the opening."