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Kazell Pugh of TLC Springwater

Meet Kazell Pugh, founder of TLC Springwater.
What does TLC Springwater do?
TLC Springwater is a bottled water and coffee distributor specializing in three- and five-gallon bottles of spring and distilled water, sales and rental of hot/cold water coolers and filtration coolers, private label bottled water. We have TLC Springwater brand by the case, coffee, coffee equipment and supplies. We also have a new division delivering propane tanks for commercial/residential tow motors and grills.
What are the advantages of doing business in Cleveland?
Some advantages of doing business in Cleveland are that you can be a big fish in a relatively smaller pond or market. If your database is vast and you give excellent customer service with a high degree of integrity, customers will appreciate it and you will grow.
Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Some of our first customers came from people and companies that I knew, but more importantly they knew me, liked and trusted what I was doing. Our first customers included Medical Mutual, Cleveland Indians, Kates Orthodontic, and Solon Spine and Wellness.
What resources/organizations here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
There were quite a few organizations that were very beneficial in the early stages of our existence, such as the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce, Solon Chamber of Commerce and COSE. But none added to the bottom line more than the Northern Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (NOMSDC), the local chapter of a national purchasing and diversity organization. Their goal is to connect minority businesses with major corporations.
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Access to capital always plays a major role in the maturation of any business and is the fuel that sustains you. We looked to smaller community banks in conjunction with SBA loan products to jump start TLC Springwater. These types of banking relationships were crucial to us -- especially when you are starting a company from scratch.
What’s next for you and your company?
What’s next for TLC Springwater is to form a holding company and establish partnerships and strategic alliances with other minority companies to build a conglomeration that will afford us major banking and investment relationships, buying power, and the capacity to do business nationally and internationally. 

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