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Signs of local business success thanks to the Small Business Development Center

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 05, 2020

Local business owner Randy Rice first approached the Small Business Development and International Trade Center (SBDC/ITC) at College of Lake County (CLC) to get advice on buying a franchise. Since the SBDC/ITC was such a helpful resource when he wanted to grow his sign business, Rice also reached out for resources to stay afloat during the pandemic.  

Prior to COVID-19, the SBDC/ITC helped Rice by answering questions about things like forming a legal entity, the best approaches to marketing, financial management and more. However, since the pandemic, the SBDC/ITC has focused on helping small businesses with disaster funding. Rice applied for and received assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Lake County Small Business Assistance grant. 

Photo of Surely Signs owner Randy Rice and employee“On October 23, I received a check from the Lake County Board to help my business recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 emergency,” said Rice. “This Business Assistance Grant is absolutely critical to keeping our doors open so we can serve our community during the pandemic. Thank you, SBDC/ITC, for your support and encouragement during this tough time.” 

Photo (from left): Surely Signs owner Randy Rice and employee Zhavon Hayes-Lee by one of their sign printers.

Even more meaningful to Rice were the consistent check-ins by SBDC/ITC staff to see how things were going. They offered encouragement and passed along additional opportunities to grow his business. Rice is involved with the combined Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce and Business Networking International.  

The SBDC/ITC salutes Rice’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed and are honored to include him among the many businesses they can help.  

Rice credits his mother, Shirley, for the inspiration to start his own business: Surely Signs. He remembers tagging along with her as a kid while she created works of art by hand as a sign painter. Today, Rice makes signs using technology, creating traditional interior and exterior signage, window graphics, vehicle wraps, trade show displays, banners, yard signs, stickers and more. 

About College of Lake County: 

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.