SIU Small Business Development Center to close in March

SIU Small Business Development Center to close in March

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - SIU's Small Business Development Center is credited for helping thousands of start up businesses and long-standing ones in the southern Illinois region.

Come March 31, the center will close its doors.

"Always in the back of my mind I wanted to open my own bead shop," said LouAnn Elwell.

In 2002, it was a dream come true for Elwell and her Southpass Beads and Fibers business in Cobden, Illinois.

She credits SIU's Small Business Development Center for helping her navigate the paperwork and finances to open up shop.

"The hardest part was getting started because I had no idea how to do it," she said.

"Everyone has been very supportive to keep this resource available but it is what it is," said Greg Bouhl, the center's director.

Bouhl said they're responsible for helping 600 businesses, like Elwell's each year.

"The questions that come to us, we have a lot of resources that we draw on to be able to give some advice or some areas for people to do their homework on," he said.

Bouhl said not only will the closure have a huge impact on businesses new and old, six staff members and several student workers will be out of the job.

"To see this resource go away it is not an easy one to look at," he said.

Bad news for Elwell who recently grew her business by a few feet through a grant ... and still hopes to expand even more online.

"They are always a huge help to me," said Elwell.

Bouhl said he is optimistic about the state passing a budget.

If that happens, they center will remain open.

The Department of Congress is also looking for ways to keep the center open until a budget is passed.

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