Small Business Development Center names ‘Rising Star’ business excellence winner

Group of 3 males and 1 female.

(From left) Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen, the winners of Tennessee Small Business Development Center’s Rising Star honor, accept the award honoring their businesses, Bliss and Bliss Home, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and Knoxville TSBDC Director Larry Rossini during an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12.

In an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State Community College, presented Bliss and Bliss Home as its 2013 Rising Star winner.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize growing small businesses in the Knoxville area.

“From start-up to success, Bliss owners Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel took advantage of the services of the Knoxville Tennessee Small Business Development Center by participating in one-on-one consulting for budgeting, inventory control and financial projections,” said Laura Overstreet, TSBDC spokesperson.

Sorensen and Schimmel also completed the Strategic Management Learning System series of 12 business training modules, provided by TSBDC and sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber.

Bliss recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Today, the business operates at three locations with the support of approximately 40 employees.

“Our TSBDC counselor has been a phenomenal asset and a great sounding board for our business,” Schimmel said. “He always figures out a way to ask us the right questions so we can do our homework and make the right decisions for our business.

“There are business principles that go hand in hand with any business, and TSBDC counselors have a great understanding of those business principles. They’re able to shed light on the questions we have, able to apply those principles to our specific business ideas and issues. Their one-on-one counselors help us feel relaxed about our decisions.”

Sorensen and Schimmel first opened Bliss, a gift and accessory shop, on Market Square in 2003. In 2005, they followed that start-up success with the opening of Bliss Home, a furniture and interior design store, also on Market Square. In 2008, the partners opened another Bliss Home location in West Knoxville.

TSBDC offers a network of professional business consultants at 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

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