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‘Start Small Win Big’ 2015 Contest Winner has lots to celebrate!

Recently we did a check in with the winner of our 2015 Start Small Win Big Contest. Lisa Carlomusto of Dental Hygiene of Niagara. She shared her experiences as a small business owner, and how her life has changed over the past few months since winning the contest.

Carlomusto launched her St. Catharines, Ontario-based dental clinic in 2014.  “I opened this clinic to help make dental cleaning a little more cost effective and reasonable,” she says. “August 16 will be our two year anniversary since opening our doors!” 

As Carlomusto explains, launching her business was “scary, overwhelming and definitely time-consuming. “Just when you think you’re ‘done’ for the day, there’s always something to do,” she says.  Whether it’s replacing a burnt-out light bulb or the paper in the debit machine or ordering new supplies, Carlomusto has full days as a business owner.  “The list is never-ending and being a business owner means you don’t have a "boss" to report to,” she says. “When you are the boss the responsibility is all you.” 
“When I won the award I was two months pregnant,” she says. She is now the proud mother of a bouncing baby girl, and juggling the responsibilities of being an “entrepreneur mommy”.  Carlomusto says that when she won the contest, the clinic was her baby. “I put so much time, effort and love into it.  Now that I have my real baby, the clinic is my second baby!” 

Since being named the grand prize winner of Meridian’s Start Small Win Big Contest, Carlomusto has put her winnings to good use in a variety of ways to improve her business.

“The award was $25,000 but $10,000 of that went towards services with Majestic Media. So with the $15,000 I received, I literally had it in my hands for 10 minutes! I went straight to the bank and put it ALL on my business loan.”

Paying down her loan was just one way winning the contest helped her business.  Carlomusto says it helped relieve a lot of her stress over hiring more staff once her daughter arrived, which would allow her to work part time instead of full time.

“Putting the money on my business loan allowed for more money to be available to pay staff,” she explains. “So technically that money helped with loan repayment and new staff. I now have a full time receptionist and two part time dental hygienists, three including me!” 

Carlomusto has nothing but praise for the entire Meridian team.
“The day we went to pick up my award, everyone was so friendly and kind.  I noticed the professionalism right away.  It was truly a fantastic experience.” Carlomusto also notes that she loves the hours of operation, an important consideration for busy small business owners. To learn more about Meridian Credit Union’s small business services, visit your local branch today.