Originally created 05/21/05

Web site explains start-up essentials



AIKEN - Melody Badger knows it takes more than a good cook to keep a family-operated restaurant in business.

Completing the proper paperwork is almost more important, she said.

When Mrs. Bader opened the doors to BuckBoard Buffet Steakhouse in January, she felt confident she had met every regulatory requirement in the state.

Four weeks later, she discovered she was in violation, and cinnamon rolls were the culprit.

Even though she had obtained eight required permits for the restaurant, she didn't have the one that authorized her to sell pre-packaged food.

"If it's the first time you're approaching anything, you don't know what questions to ask," she said. "It was actually Pepsi who told me where to go and what to do."

Mrs. Badger is not an exception, said Reka F. Mosteller, the area manager for the Small Business Development Center at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

A growing number of South Carolinians start up small businesses without securing the multiple licenses and permits the state requires, mostly because it's difficult to get accurate information about what's necessary.

"Opening a business is the easy part, but keeping it open is the hard part," she said.

The state has unveiled a Web site designed to provide one-stop shopping for those considering new business ventures.

The Web site, tailored for small business owners, provides information on the necessary permits and licenses required for each industry and offers online application forms.

The site allows consumers to pay registration and permit fees and submit applications through online transactions.

"This encourages business not to be afraid to start, and it also streamlines the process," she said. "A lot of mistakes will be eliminated; a lot of time will be saved."

For Mike and Steve Lawver, the Web site arrives just in the nick of time.

The Warrenville brothers plan to open a small engine repair shop in Aiken this summer.

"This going to clear up a lot of general questions I have," Steve Lawver said. "Not running yourself all over the state of South Carolina, that's a big advantage."

Reach Krista Zilizi at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or krista.zilizi@augustachronicle.com.