Empowering small ventures

SCORE SC Lowcountry helped turn one woman’s college dream into a business reality

By Sheila Paz

Initiating or scaling a small business can be daunting. Enter the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), your trusty guide. Offering free, confidential mentoring and business education, SCORE empowers every small business to flourish within their communities. Specifically, the SCORE SC Lowcountry chapter caters to Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton counties. For example, take Jennifer Megliore, owner of ArtWare at Shelter Cove Town Centre, who was recognized as South Carolina’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Journey to triumph

Jennifer learned of SCORE in college, recognizing it as an invaluable resource. When planning to launch ArtWare, she sought assistance from SCORE SC Lowcountry. She collaborated with seasoned mentors like Frank Chapman, Rod Casavant, Paul Kopelczek and John Ferrara. From navigating rental negotiations to handling building requirements, SCORE provided indispensable insights. Even during the COVID crisis, Jennifer received timely advice on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), ensuring her business’s continued success.

A legacy of excellence

Thanks to SCORE’s mentorship, ArtWare has thrived for 23 years, accumulating accolades along the way. These include SCORE Client of the Year (2004) and the Small Business Person of the Year from the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce (2005). These set the stage for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s most recent honor, celebrated at the 2023 National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C.

Unlock your potential

Jennifer’s journey underscores SCORE’s potential. Whether you’re an existing business owner or an aspiring one, the SCORE SC Lowcountry chapter is ready to help. “As entrepreneurs, we juggle multiple roles,” Jennifer said. “Why not leverage a free, comprehensive resource? SCORE isn’t exclusive to startups. They cater to all business needs, from lease deals, inventory management to HR referrals. All you need to know is SCORE.” Explore more at score.org/sclowcountry.

ArtWare: A glimpse into its genesis

Conceived in 2000, ArtWare was Jennifer’s vision of a gallery gift shop, blending artistry with utility. Relocating to Shelter Cove Town Center in 2014 was a strategic move, cementing its success. Jennifer captures the essence of SCORE’s impact, stating, “When a senior passes, a library burns. The wisdom I gained from SCORE volunteers is timeless. It’s my duty to share it. Remember, you don’t need to know everything; just know SCORE.”

SCORE’s legacy

Established in 1964 by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE began as a national volunteer base with 2,000 members. Today it has bolstered over 8.5 million entrepreneurs. As a nonprofit and a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE remains steadfast in its mission.

Penny Lane, the cheerful store canine, infuses joy into every ArtWare visit. Beyond being a mascot, she symbolizes ArtWare’s commitment to supporting local charities and embodies Jennifer’s belief in community-focused entrepreneurship.

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