The U.S. Small Business Administration Recognizes its Legacy Businesses


The U.S. Small Business Administration is celebrating it’s 70th anniversary this year.  As part of the celebration, the SBA is recognizing small businesses with SBA Legacy Business Awards.

Martin Short is the Lead Economic Development Specialist and Public Information Officer for the SBA’s Richmond District Office.

“So, the SBA has been helping small businesses for seventy years and we want to continue to capitalize on opportunities to help small businesses and so one of the things that we decided to do was to highlight this year, seventy years in action,” says Short.  “What we decided to do was to select a business that we’ve helped and that’s successful, that has done a lot of great things for the community.”

FamMat Services, LLC, in Williamsburg, Virginia, was recognized as an SBA Legacy Business.  Ti’Juana and Lawrence Gholson started the business about twenty years ago.

“FamMat Services, we are, a service provider, licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health,” says Ti’Juana Gholson.  “We train staff and develop them to go into the homes of people with intellectual disabilities or that have mental health support needs.  So, if you can imagine that you have a family member, or a child even, that may be diagnosed with some sort of intellectual disability, or mental health disability, and you needed some support with them, from helping them in their day-to-day activities, to helping them manage their life or their behavior.  Our staff comes into that home.  We come in for a certain amount of hours a day, but we come into that home to help maintain that family member in the home to prevent institutionalization.  That’s the big deal, keeping them in the least restrictive environment as possible.”

“The biggest thing for us in everything we do is a winning team,” says Lawrence Gholson.  “You have to come to the realization that there’s absolutely no way that you can do it by yourself. And that’s one of the things that sometimes people struggle with more, because it’s my baby, it’s my dream, it’s my idea.  So, I would tell folks to make sure they have a winning team and to work to your strengths and collaborate to your weaknesses, because we all have weaknesses just as well as we all have strengths.”

The Gholsons found the SBA, and all it’s resources, after they had started their business.  They say that’s common, especially in the black and brown community.

“We are just so busy trying to get that business started and most of the time we are married to our visions and our dreams, that we are ‘on the grind’ as they say,” says Ti’Juana Gholson.  “That we don’t even realize that there’s support out there for us.  So, just getting in the system and understanding and learning was one of the big hurdles for us, as far as what supports were out there.”

“I would just say this, to business owners that will be listening to this, just to follow your passion and to not just chase money, but leave a connection to the passion and leave breadcrumbs for other people to follow, because right in the beginning it was hard to find people to mentor you and that is one of the passions that we have is to be a resource that we wish we had to new business owners,” says Lawrence Gholson.  “So, business owners, join in and help to build the economic fortitude and ecosystem within your locality and help other small business owners succeed as well.”

For more information on Small Business Administration programs visit or call 804-771-2400.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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