Mentors from Service Corps Of Retired Executives talked with Evanston small business owners and managers about their companies during a mentoring session at Evanston Public Library Wednesday afternoon.
SCORE, a network of volunteer business mentors, has provided free business education to the public for over 50 years, according to the organization’s website.
Eric Moritz, owner and founder of the Evanston personal training business Home Park Fitness, said he had a vision to “make fitness convenient for everybody.” He went to SCORE for answers to his questions and concerns about business management.
“I needed help turning that (vision) into a reality,” Moritz said.
Moritz said SCORE mentors helped him with different aspects of his business. Moritz added that because the mentors have been working in the field for years, they have knowledge in various areas.
George Marton, a SCORE mentor and former chief executive and director of manufacturing company Bell and Howell, said the mentors can give small business owners and managers practical knowledge about running a small business.
“We give them advice about marketing, PR, how to grow their business, how to cut their costs, how to manage their balance sheets,” Marton said. “Whatever problem they need, we bring our expertise and our experience to try to help them.”
Bob Strauss, a SCORE mentor who worked in the convenience store industry before retirement, said their clients’ businesses ranged from audio theory to consulting.
Usually, the mentors pair up to bring in different backgrounds. Strauss works with Bruce Ronner, another SCORE mentor, most of the time. Marton was brought in for this session because of his experience with corporate companies.
“Bob has a tremendous background in retail,” Ronner said. “We make a good team. I was responsible for accounting, sales, finance, marketing, the warehouse, shipping, manufacturing.”
Most of the SCORE mentors volunteered because they wanted to give back to the community and help others after retirement, they said.
“When I retired after a career that was doing public service, SCORE just seemed like a natural extension, helping people who have dreams of starting a business or already own a small business and want to improve their experience,” Strauss said.“The opportunity through retirement to be active to the community, that became every bit as enjoyable and as gratifying as the years of having business.”