Success Stories

Center for Rural and Small Business Development Business Development Specialist, Eual Hall of the Land-Grant Campus and Louisiana Small Business Development Center Leona Burrell joined hands to assist in closing a $300,000 SBA loan to purchase a mortuary in Leesville, LA.

This is the success story on Mr. Laura Semien where Mrs. Leona Burrell under the direction of the Louisiana Small Business Development) LSBDC) was assisting her in writing a business to start a funeral home business. She was working at several funeral homes and decided to develop a goal to be the owner of a funeral home business. Ms. Semien was referred to the Center for Rural and Small Business Development (CRSBD) under the direction of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center that assisted her in achieving that goal. Together both Centers gave her counseling until she became the owner of the Heritage Rowe Funeral Home in Leesville, Louisiana. We are happy that she was able to achieve such a wonderful goal.

On November 3, 2013 Business Development Specialist Eual Hall, assisted in preparing the application process, was presence to assist in final closing of an SBA loan for future owner, Ms. Laura Semien. City Savings Bank & Trust Co. at 400 South 5th St. in Leesville, LA 71446 is the financing institution. Ms. Semien has waited over 15 months to purchase ownership of a business that had been closed in excess of five years.

On February 26, 2018 Eual Hall, Business Development Specialist and Chris Rogers, Director of Technology Services shared in a grand opening and ribbon cutting event of the Heritage Rowe Funeral Home in Leesville, LA. Ms. Laura Semien, new owner, demonstrated and stressed that patience, faith, and humbleness, and long suffering, has great benefits and it’s her time now. CRSBD staff assisted in the packaging of the $300,000 thousand SBA loan. Ms. Semien, a double minority has plans to expand in leaps and bounds now has the opportunity to increase her service and sales capacity by 60 percent in the first 5 years.

Increased sales and income with the opportunity to expand customer base for distribution of product.

JNA Foods LLC, the makers of “Ha U Want It” creole seasoning, began in June 2011when the business’s owner Anthony Arvie was cooking in his outdoor kitchen and realized that the seasoning he bought was too salty. He started mixing spies together to get a low-salt seasoning and “Ha U Want It” was born. Anthony said he came up with the name “Ha U Want It” because the flavor is exactly how you want it. “You use a little seasoning for a mild taste, and a lot for spicy, but never too salty food,” said Arvie. From the health standpoint, this product helps control high blood pressure.

The Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center assisted JNA Foods, LLC in locating a patent and trade mark attorney, arranging networking and educational seminars on how to better manage the marketing of their product, developing a business plan and pricing strategy, strengthening their manufacturing and sales process, scheduling of events and notification of events that offer exhibitor booths and the development of videos that can be placed on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.

The Center’s staff helped JNA manage their business’s development process by providing entrepreneurial training that discussed basic principles of running a successful small business and providing financial training, including the possibility of securing a loan. The Center also helped redesign JNA’s website, making it more attractive to potential customers as well as their t-shirts making them more appealing and informative.

Currently, “Ha U Want It” creole seasoning is retailing in 25 stores, such as privately owned Piggly Wiggly Grocery Stores and nursing homes. There is the potential to sell the seasoning to public hospitals, gourmet restaurants, schools, private residences and shipping it to foreign markets.

JNA Foods, LLC is currently completing contractual agreements to supply a restaurant in Lake Charles with this low-salt seasoning. The ultimate goal is to increase sales and the number of retailers selling the product. The owners also hope is increase market sells to enable them to hire additional personnel to assist in the development of additional products.

The Arvie’s were invited to attend the Southern Regional Assist Building Coalition Conference in Jacksonville, FL. to display and introduce “Ha U Want It” creole seasoning to a regional market.

General Home Contractor for the State of Louisiana

Wennal Hall was working at a chemical plant in Baton Rouge, LA when a fire and explosion occurred within 200 feet of where he was working in a pipe rack. Hall was able to safely evacuate the plant and informed his supervisor that he would not be returning to work in that chemical plant. He always wanted to work for himself and decided to open his own business.

Hall had visited the Center of Rural and Small Business Development staff before and was not sure what career was best for him to make a decent living. He decided on a career path and scheduled another appointment with the CRSBD’s staff for assistance to start his own contracting business. The CRSBD provided counseling and assistance in completing all the required business registration forms and applications including his Louisiana State General Contractors License for new home buildings and repair/renovation of existing homes.

W.H. Hall Construction was formed and Hall continues to visit and receive counseling by the CRSBD’s staff. At least 3 seasonal and part-time jobs were created and W.H. Hall Construction continues to have 2-3 months of projected work scheduled. The CRSBD staff has referred W.H. Hall Construction to real estate agencies, multi-family property owners, individual, home owners and contractors who needed to locate sub-contractors who build new homes and repaired existing homes.

Hall is proud that he works for himself as a Louisiana State contractor and can bid and choose his jobs and make a decent living for his family.


This website uses cookies to ensure site visitors get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Statement. To find out more, please visit Southern University's Privacy Statement.