Article Contributed by
Courtney Curatolo Director SBDC @ JCC
Jennifer and Bill Uhl owned a business in Ohio while maintaining a vacation home on Chautauqua Lake. The family boated on Chautauqua Lake in the summer and skied at Peak ‘n Peek in the winter. Currently, one daughter has completed college and is working in social work. The other is in the final year of her doctorate.
They sold their business and beautiful home in Ohio and permanently moved to the vacation home In Chautauqua. They were young and wanted to work, looking for a business that would do something with deeper meaning, one that helped people. After looking at many businesses in the area, they found a Servpro franchise available in Erie, Pa. There were, however, licensing obstacles that prevented the purchase. The closest franchises remaining were in Buffalo and Elmira.
Jen said, “Could we start one in Chautauqua County? Would there be enough business?” The two began to investigate, looking at the area that was less populated but not covered in New York and Pennsylvania. Bill thought if they can get half the business they were estimating, they should do ok.
Jen and Bill went to work preparing a financial package for Fred Cohen of Servpro in Connecticut. Fred is the Director for Servpro in New York & New England. In September/October of 2015 Jen and Bill attended extensive training courses in Nashville, Tennessee and in addition acquired many of the certifications and licenses needed to operate the business . Servpro of Jamestown was officially opened on January 1, 2016.
The work of Servpro restores a home or business after fire, water or other damage. They can go further into the reconstruction of the home or business. Jen and Bill worked hard to hire quality employees and create an environment committed to customer service. Jen would sometimes prepare breakfasts and lunches for their employees to show appreciation for all their efforts.
Tragedy struck in September of 2017 when Jen was diagnosed with cancer. This was the fourth time for her as she started chemo treatments. By January 2018 she was unable to go to work. In April Jen passed. The hearts of her family and the family she and Bill created at Servpro remain impacted today.
The mission of Servpro is to: Develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness and mutual respect. Bill says: There is no better feeling than helping those in need, when you see people go back into their beautifully restored home or business there are usually a lot of hugs and tears.
ServPro was SBDC at Jamestown Community College’s Small Business Person of the Year. The company and was honored in Buffalo at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens at SBA’s small business awards