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CNY's small businesses celebrate hard-won battles for success

Sonya Smith, State Director of the Small Business Development Center, and Shawni Davis, right, share a laugh Sept. 29, 2023.
Scott Willis
Sonya Smith, State Director of the Small Business Development Center, and Shawni Davis, right, share a laugh Sept. 29, 2023. Davis is owner of Luminary Electrical, and was named SBDC Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.

Small business success stories across Central and Upstate New York are being celebrated as the region marks National Small Business Week. The Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College has named eight small businesses of the year, one in each of the counties it serves. They include Clean and Glo Cleaning Services in Syracuse, and Broadwell Hospitality Group in Oswego County. SBDC regional director Bob Griffin says the formula for success varies depending on the business.

“It certainly is following the fundamentals really well, understanding cash flow and how that impacts your business, making sure that you're providing the right product and the right service in the right place to the right consumers at the right time.”

Griffin says if those pieces don’t fall into place, data shows it’ll be a struggle no matter how hard an owner works. His office serves as many as 2,000 clients a year, 80 percent of which are start-ups that are in operation for one to three or haven't officially launched. Griffin says 95 percent of them will not succeed.

"That sounds bad, but in a way sometimes that's the right decision," Griffin said. "Sometimes it's OK not to launch, and part of our role as advisors is to provide information so that these people can make informed decisions about whether or not launching their business does make sense, and sometimes the best answer is not to move forward and hopefully we save some savings and marriages and homes as a result.”

The Small Business Administration will name the Upstate New York Veteran-owned small business of the year on Friday.

The 2024 Small Business of the Year honorees are:

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at