This week we have the opportunity to share the story of Creekside Springs, thanks to managing partner, Jim Sas. Creekside Springs is a bottled water supplier dedicated to quality through its people, products and services.
Why did you decide to start-up a business in Ambridge?
Honestly, Ambridge chose me, I did not choose Ambridge. Before starting this company, I was in the business of turning around bankrupt businesses which required me to travel a lot. After a while, I wanted to settle down and the opportunity presented itself to buy out the facilities of Taylor Milk when they had reached bankruptcy; we have now been here for 15 years. The goal was to create a presence of stability in Ambridge. We have had the opportunity to create jobs in a community that was in need of them.
What was your experience like in obtaining financing?
Turning around a business in its early stages is the same regardless of what industry you are in. A business plan and identification of growth areas must be determined in order to sustain a company. We were fortunate to start off with a commercial bank relationship, which helped a lot with our financing. I also have a background in low interest loan programs and a lot of assistance came from the Beaver County Economic Development Corporation as well as the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
What advice would you have for a beginning business owner?
Ambridge is a great place to establish a business because of the low rent, flexibility, location, a ready workforce, and the low barrier that is present in the community to acquire a business. This is the type of place that entrepreneurs and business owners need to be looking at. It’s important to understand, though, that patience is necessary and you have to realize that you cannot get employees without a lot of effort on both sides.
What was your biggest surprise in starting your business?
For us, there were a lot of limitations as we have grown because we do not have a warehouse. We bought a plant in Ohio and now have one in New Brighton as well. Finding the right employees is also a big surprise because you can make a lot of assumptions during the hiring process. Everybody has baggage, so to be a successful employer you need to invest a lot of time in helping sort through that baggage.
How have you been impacted by the community of Ambridge after opening this business?
One of the great assets of Ambridge is the work ethic that is present. There is a great deal of community effort that occurs within this town. I want to stress how important it is to realize that it’s not one big company that Ambridge needs to be the economic catalyst for our local economy, what we need is 25 or so new small businesses to come into town, and we are getting there. Progress is baby steps, not three giant leaps.