Head Shots Portrait Studio
"Mervin advises others considering business startup to seek help. �The loan was the last step. The first step was getting in touch with SBDC to get the background classes and skills to be able to successfully operate the business once the loan proceeds were received.�"
Aaron Mervin started Headshots Portrait Studio in October 1999, with help from a $10,000 loan provided by First Coast Micro Loan Inc. The full-service photography studio has grown tremendously over the years. In January 2003, the business relocated to a larger studio to accommodate the various services Aaron offers. These services include studio sessions for clients seeking professional portraits, as well as, family portraits. His clients include local politicians, clergy, and corporate executives. Aaron�s reputation for providing quality and professional services has also increased his off-site assignments including weddings, local events, and corporate functions. Aaron has worked closely with the UNF Small Business Development Center providing great pictures for the SBA�s Small Business Week Awards Luncheon, as well as, Camp Entrepreneur, a summer program for young girls desiring to become entrepreneurs. Recently, his services have expanded to local high schools where he provides memorable photographs at proms. Aaron�s sales have been steady over the past three years. On April 28, 2003, Aaron walked into the Small Business Center at Gateway and handed over his last micro loan payment. Aaron is the first to pay off his loan and in record time; seventeen months before the note matured. With his increased cash flow, Aaron plans to expand his business to include black & white photography. He has acquired several pieces of equipment for a dark room and anticipates marketing his artwork in July 2003. Aaron projects first year sales will increase by 15% from the black & white photography. Since opening the business, Mervin has continues to utilize UNF SBDC services. He works closely on an ongoing basis with Tanya Hall, the Center�s micro enterprise coordinator, based at the Small Business Center in Gateway Mall. In addition, the UNF Small Business Resource Network has assisted him with accounting advice and assistance, particularly with converting his manual record-keeping system to QuickBooks. Of Hall, Mervin says: �Her frequent calls to see if I am doing OK or if I need help are both encouraging and motivating. Several times when I have felt overwhelmed by the many tasks I must juggle alone, she has helped by guiding me toward one task and getting me focused on the things I need to accomplish. Aaron�s future goals for the business include starting a kid�s program to teach photography to underprivileged kids. He would also like to open another studio to exhibit his portraits.