SCORE and Sam's Club Announce 102 Winners of The American Small Business Championship

SCORE to host five regional training events for Champions and Area Entrepreneurs

Feb 25, 2015, 09:00 ET from SCORE Association

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today SCORE, – - mentors to America's small businesses, announces the winners of The American Small Business Championship, a program supported by Sam's Club, providing expert training, resources and networking opportunities to small business owners. A total of 102 winners from 48 states were chosen based on written, video and photo entries that detailed the sacrifices each had made to achieve small business success. Winners were determined by online voting and a panel of judges comprised of small business experts.

View the full list of 102 winning businesses at

Thanks to a $700,000 grant from Sam's Club, the membership club for the small business community, Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to one of five SCORE training events, SCORE mentoring for one year, and promotion throughout the year to showcase each Champion's story.

The stories of sacrifices made by each winner tell the story of what it means to really pursue the American dream. Three such stories include:

Business: The Orange Crunch of Westminster, Colorado 

Leshner Del Rosario and his new wife started their food cart after both being dealt layoffs from their corporate jobs. Del Rosario says, "Our Sacrifice is our Marriage, as we never had a breath to take and enjoy each other as newlyweds should. We are working our tails off so we can finally get to a point and feel like a normal married couple and not business partners." Their product was recently selected for resale by a major national retailer.

Business: Rain Baby Gear Design, LLC of Portland, Oregon

Susan Stearns had an idea to improve the lives of babies and parents and gave up a career in healthcare policy to make it a reality. Stearns says, "Leaving a known career, a large network of colleagues, job security, and benefits was a risk and a sacrifice." The current popularity of Rain Baby Gear with both wholesale and retail buyers has validated her idea and Stearns is looking to grow production.

Business: Simply Falafel Mediterranean Cuisine of Edmond, Oklahoma

Magid Assaleh had always dreamed of owning a Mediterranean restaurant and left his job as general manager of a country club to take over a failing restaurant in major financial trouble and very near closing its doors. His major sacrifice? Time: "We are open seven days a week, and I personally make every effort to be there to greet my customers from open to close because I believe in personalized service that exceeds my customers' expectations. As a result, I put in about 70 hours each week." Two years after taking over the business, it has completely turned around financially and boasts high online ratings.

"We are so proud of the accomplishments of the small businesses chosen as our American Small Business Champions," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "They are true representatives of the American dream and the hard work, determination and sacrifice it takes to achieve small business success. We are honored to reward that work."

"From restaurant owners and inventors to non-profits and consultants, every entrepreneur has a powerful story of sacrifice and perseverance," said Don Frieson, executive vice president for operations at Sam's Club. "Our clubs and buyers are dedicated to providing business owners with the resources they need to overcome the challenges of managing a small business. Together with SCORE, we look forward to growing with these Champions, saving them money and time and helping them achieve their goals."

Five Regional Training Events
The 102 American Small Business Champions will attend business training events in five cities across the country: Phoenix, AZ, Austin, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Chicago, IL and Rochester, NY from March through July 2015. One full day of each training event will also be open to the public, and local small business owners are encouraged to attend to gain access to valuable small business training, networking and resources.

To register for these local training events, visit

Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE provides small business mentoring, workshops and education to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses. More than 11,000 business experts volunteer as mentors in over 320 chapters serving local communities with entrepreneur education.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at Connect with SCORE at

Sam's Club, the nation's eighth largest retailer and a leading U.S. membership club, offers savings and surprises to millions of members in 647 U.S. club locations and at The Sam's Club Giving Program, established by the Walmart Foundation in 2008, is dedicated to micro- and small business prosperity.  Sam's Club and The Sam's Club Giving Program have invested more than $11 million in national and local programs dedicated to improved training, education and increased access to capital for small business owners. For more information on national or local giving by Sam's Club or The Sam's Club Giving Program, visit

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