Alumni Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Small Business Saturday (which is this Saturday, November 25) was established in 2010 to help boost sales, exposure, and engagement for local brick-and-mortar stores and small businesses. It’s also the perfect time to recognize some alumni who took a risk to start their own businesses—and worked hard to create companies, products, and opportunities for themselves.

Andrea Carter, B.S. ’87
Simply DaVine Bath and Body website

Andrea Carter owns her own line of all-natural beauty products.

Andrea Carter has loved crafting and baking for as long as she can remember. She decided to take the leap in 2013 by turning her lifetime hobby into a business and starting Simply DaVine. Carter said the best thing about making beauty products is seeing the joy her customers experience from using her all-natural soaps, lotions, and body oils.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “Everything worth having takes time, so go into it knowing that you may not be an overnight success. All the late nights and early mornings are so well worth it at the end of the day if you’re doing something you’re passionate about.”

Therese Deutschlander, B.A. ’03
Thin Ice Gift Shop website

Therese Deutschlander owns Thin Ice gift shop on Elmwood.

Deutschlander said she saw a niche that she could fill by pairing one-of-a-kind, local finds with great customer service. Her gift shop Thin Ice opened its doors on Elmwood Avenue more than a decade ago, during a time when there was significantly less retail offerings in the neighborhood. She partners with local artists to offer special creations that make for more personalized and meaningful finds. Deutschlander, who studied English at Buffalo State, said her communication skills have been invaluable in terms of interacting with business partners and clients—both in person and through writing.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “It’s important to be well rounded, be willing to wear all the hats, and to fill all the roles.”

Gabriel Dunn, B.S. ’06, M.A. ’11
unDunn Art Services

Gabriel Dunn, who studied art history, offers art curatorial and professional services.

Dunn has been interested and active in the arts community since she was a child. Dunn, who is an art curator by education and training, returned to her native Western New York to start unDunn Art Services. She offers institutional and private services for art conservation, research, disaster remediation projects, and more.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “Go for it: You would be surprised what types of things can come about if you just try.”

Gabriel Johnson, B.S. ’15
Arch Halo Industry Standards

Garbiel Johnson specializes in professional cleaning services.

Johnson said he’s a natural-born problem solver and loves helping his clients maintain a clean environment through his professional cleaning services. Johnson attributes his Buffalo State education for helping to hone communication skills, teamwork abilities, and project management techniques. He also credits the Small Business Development Center for its support and networking opportunities.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “The only thing worse than failing is being so afraid of failing you don't even try.”

Bridget Kern, B.A.’07
1801 Handcrafted website

1801 Handcrafted is owned by alumnus Bridget Kern.

One year, Kern and her husband, Adam, wanted to gift their family unique, handmade items for the holidays, so they created scented homemade candles. They were so popular among their family members that the couple started to realize there was a possibility for them to profit from their talents. They launched 1801 Crafted, which features handmade candles and soaps (with unique scents like “Buffalo Blizzard” and “Spring Cleaning”). The online store also sells Buffalo-themed home decor signs.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “Take a chance and do something that will make you happy. If you love what you do, you cannot fail.”

Mallory Mendolera, B.S.’13
Incredible Edibles by Mallory 

Mendolera had always loved making unique, festive desserts for her family during the holidays and special occasions.

Mendolera spent two years of working from her own kitchen, and opened up a customer storefront on Michigan and Glenwood Avenue in 2015.
Mendolera had always loved making unique, festive desserts for her family during the holidays and special occasions. After graduating from Buffalo State, she was unsure what career path to take so she decided take a risk by turning her hobby of making chocolate-covered treats into a full-time business. She spent two years of working from her own kitchen, and opened up a customer storefront on Michigan and Glenwood Avenue in 2015.

Advice for aspiring business owners: “Take the risk! I am so happy I was able to open a location and flourish in the dessert industry, I would have never known if I didn't decide to take the risk. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so you might as well make your choices worthwhile.”

Here are some more alumni with local small businesses who you may not have known about that you can support on Small Business Saturday:

Andrew Davis, B.A. ’97 and Julie Ann Davis, B.A .’98
Cats Like Us

Tim Herzog, B.S. ’80
Flying Bison Brewing Company

Patti Lawley, B.A. ’85

Nathan Mroz, B.S. ’16
BFLO Gallery and Gift Shop

Joe Petri, B.S.’ 95, M.S. ’97
Westside Stories Used Book Shop

David Schueckler, B.S. ’86 and Gaetana Schueckler, B.S. ’87
The TreeHouse Toy Store

Are you a small business owner and graduate of Buffalo State who wants to share your entrepreneurial story? Let us know by completing this form to be featured in our Bengal Business Directory.