Forum to share strategies of succesful Sussex businesspeople

SCORE, WSFS Bank and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce are joining together to sponsor a forum at which successful Sussex County entrepreneurs will share their strategies on how to grow successful businesses in Sussex County.

The objective of the forum, organizers said, is to leverage the knowledge and experience of successful entrepreneurs to assist other businesses to grow in Sussex County. Following a brief presentation from each entrepreneur, they will serve on a panel to answer questions from the audience.

Sussex County businesses represented on the panel will include Matt Haley of Matt Haley Companies; Chris Schell of Schell Brothers LLC; Shaun Tyndall of Inclind Inc.; and Susan Townley Wood of Cultured Pearl.

Haley has experienced success in the restaurant industry. A member of the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the chef currently owns seven restaurants in Delaware beach resort towns: Fish On, Lupo di Mare, Matt’s Fish Camp, Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Northeast Seafood Kitchen, Catch 54 and Papa Grande’s.

In 2009, the restaurants’ umbrella company, SoDel Concepts, was named to the Inc. magazine list of the fastest-growing food and beverage companies in the nation. In addition to SoDel Concepts, Haley is also invested in several other companies marketed under the Matt Haley Companies brand. He is also known for his philanthropic efforts, both locally and around the world. He was recently honored with the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Schell was a hedge fund manager before deciding to pursue his dream of building homes. In 2003, he co-founded Schell Brothers, now the largest Delaware home-based builder. Schell Brothers remained profitable every year in the housing downturn, using a very simple and unconventional formula: focus on the happiness of employees and homebuyers above all else. The philosophy has created a unique culture and reputation that attracts both talented employees and new home buyers, organizers said.

Tyndall founded Inclind because of his passion for building great websites and helping others find their success online. “Shaun is entrepreneurial to the core and is always problem solving. He eats and sleeps the web business,” organizers said. “As a confident and innovative leader with over 15 years’ experience building complex website solutions, he truly understands the capabilities of the Web.”

His goal is to help small to medium-sized enterprises transform their vision into a successful Web experience. His experience includes project management, security, scalability and Internet marketing.

Wood is the owner and founder of the Cultured Pearl Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Pearl Properties, Grub Grocery, Pearl Essence Gift Shop, the Cultured Pearl Liquor Company and TLC Tray Inc. She grew up in Stone Harbor, a small New Jersey beach town. At 18, while attending college at the University of Delaware, she became the youngest Realtor in Maryland and, after transferring to Salisbury State College, she spent the next five years waiting tables, selling real estate and earning a degree in business and construction management.

After graduation, she obtained her first and last “official paychecks” as the deputy building official for the Town of Ocean City before opening Q.T. Inc., a construction consulting, drafting and building permit expediting company, in 1988. Five years later, she combined her love of sushi and her knowledge of restaurant design to open the Cultured Pearl Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. In 2000, She married Canadian Robert Wood, and together, while raising their two daughters, they have continued to expand their horizons with a strand of new ventures and more still to come.

“SCORE, WSFS Bank and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce share the objective of growing the economy and creating jobs in Sussex County. We believe that sharing experience and ideas is an ideal way to fuel new ideas or process improvements which lead to growth,” representatives said. “It is our desire that forums like this one will prove to be an effective way to build more Sussex County business success stories.”

SCORE is a non-profit which works closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) by providing free and confidential mentoring to existing and start-up small businesses. SCORE mentors are primarily retired business people with years of business experience from various disciplines.

SCORE’s prime objective is to provide services that support small business growth and job creation. Services include face-to-face and email mentoring, as well as workshops and other small business related events. SCORE has developed a strong cadre of volunteer mentors available in Sussex County.

This Let’s Talk Business Forum is the first of a potential series of forums focusing on strategies for success. It will be held May 8, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sussex County Association of Realtors Conference Center at 23407 Park Avenue in Georgetown. There is no charge for the event, which includes breakfast.

Registration is required and limited. Register on line at www.scoredelaware.org or www.georgetowncoc.com, or call the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce at (302) 856-1544.