In Cape May Court House, Scott Reef , 47, opened Reef Family Pharmacy in 2009, coming from a career in pharmacy at Rite Aid and running a franchise for five years.
Despite success at his franchise, five banks turned him down for a loan.
"I thought, all right, maybe it's not meant to be. Maybe it's an omen that if the banks are so worried about their future, maybe it won't happen," he said.
One bank did loan him $250,000, which was significantly less than what he sought.
"We were underfinanced from the beginning. ... It was right from the beginning we were living week from week," he said, noting a nearly two-month lag time for health-insurance company payments. "But because of that, it has been good, because we really had to be tight with everything."
Reef Family Pharmacy has grown each year, and now employs five people.
"We started when the recession was starting. There were not a lot of people who said this is a really good idea. My father told me, 'What are you doing?' Because everywhere around, you saw businesses failing," he said.
Reef benefited from an industry somewhat insulated from the recession.
Starting the business came with sacrifices, including a 70-hour workweek that means missing time with his four children.
But he's practicing pharmacy the way he always wanted to -- accessible to his customers.
Joseph Molineaux, director of the Small Business Development Center at Richard Stockton College, assists start-up businesses and existing ones planning expansions.
How long it takes to determine whether a business will be successful varies by business and industry, he said.
Molineaux said Wilson's bakery, which sought the center's advice, did a good job.
"They realized who they were trying to reach and had good, measurable results," he said. "They actually sought as much advice as they could, and that allowed them to make really good business decisions."
The Kauffman Index, which tracks start-ups, said New Jersey had 270 entrepreneurs per 100,000 people in 2011, the latest data available.
New Jersey ranked 28th in the country in entrepreneurial activity, tying Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire and Ohio.
In Ocean County, Steve Fritz started Seawall ARTifacts as a wholesale business in 2008 and then a retail operation on Long Beach Island in 2010.
Graduating from Temple University in 2004 with a business degree, Fritz had planned to be an entrepreneur and owned a nautical gift shop for several years after college.
Fritz, 30, of Manahawkin and Haddonfield, started in 2010 with minimal inventory, using his personal savings rather than taking out a loan tied to his home.
"I wanted to be really conservative with the way the economic climate was and give it a shot," he said.
He took the first year's profits and put them back into the business.
The business grew, and Fritz moved to a new location in Beach Haven -- eight days before Hurricane Sandy hit and flooded the store with 18 inches of water.
Fortunately, he moved the inventory before the storm.
Work to replace floors, drywall and lighting finished in mid-January. Fritz plans to reopen in March.
"You've got to stay calm, because you have to realize there's nothing you can do about it. Everybody was in the same boat together," he said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- 'Beyonce' Tops the U.S. Album Chart
- Archer Daniels Midland Moving HQ to Chicago
- Adam Levine Wins Big as 'The Voice' Crowns Champ
- Singer Ian Watkins Sentenced to 35 Years Prison for Child Sex Abuse
- Contest Gives Startups a Jump in Jersey
- The Illuminati Don't Exist, Just Ask Them
- SAC Capital Employee Guilty of Insider Trading
- Senate Sends Bipartisan Budget Plan to President
- Fed Signals Strong Confidence in U.S. Economy