After 16 years working as an optician, Kelley Dockter thought it was time to open her own eyewear shop. A supportive community in Bismarck, North Dakota helped her get started, but she turned to SCORE for help with her business plan. A former antiques shop in downtown Bismarck turned out to be the perfect spot to create a cozy, boutique-style shopping experience.

Dockter's company, Blink Eyewear, is a full-service optical shop selling frames, sunglasses, and reading glasses. 

My Successes: 

After completing her business plan, Dockter impressed a local banker who was able to help her obtain financing through an SBA loan. 

How SCORE Helped: 

"I knew a lot about glasses," Dockter says, "I didn't know about the business side of it." After a friend recommended SCORE, Dockter attended a startup workshop and teamed up with mentor Duane Sorby to work on her business plan. "It was the projections and numbers for my business plan I really strugged with," Dockter says, "And Duane, being an accountant, helped me tremendously."

What's Great About My Mentor?: 

"I would not be anywhere without them," Dockter says of Sorby and her local SCORE office. "They were absolutely wonderful. I can't tell enough people about their services."