ServPro Awarded Small Business Of The Year
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 Peek’n Peak 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. They were looking for a business that would do something with deeper meaning. One that would help 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.
Jennifer Uhl 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 Uhl thought if they can get half the business they were estimating, they should do OK.
Jen and Bill Uhl went to work preparing a financial package for Fred Cohen of ServPro in Connecticut. Fred Cohen is the director for ServPro in New York and New England. In September and October of 2015, Jen and Bill Uhl attended extensive training courses in Nashville, Tenn., and, in addition, acquired many of the certifications and licenses needed to operate the business. ServPro of Jamestown was officially opened on Jan. 1, 2016.
The work of ServPro restores a home or business after fire, water or other damage. The business can also work on the reconstruction of a home or business. Jen and Bill Uhl worked hard to hire quality employees and create an environment committed to customer service. Jen Uhl would sometimes prepare breakfasts and lunches for their employees to show appreciation for all their efforts.
Tragedy struck in September 2017 when Jen Uhl was diagnosed with cancer. This was the fourth time for her as she started chemotherapy treatments. By January 2018, she was unable to go to work. In April, Jen Uhl died. The hearts of her family and the family she and Bill Uhl 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.
“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,” Bill Uhl said.
ServPro was Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College’s Small Business Person of the Year. The company was honored in Buffalo at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens at Small Business Administration’s small business awards.