Retired Soldier Launches Coffee Business Using Skills Learned in Military

By: Bianca M. Strzalkowski LNLJ Carl and Lori

No compromise.

Army veteran Carl Churchill had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was a kid. He took on odd jobs, even throughout his time in the military, allowing him to flex his leadership skills. After retirement, he transitioned into a career that suffered as a result of the financial crisis hitting the country. Churchill and his wife Lori made the decision to start their own business – all in the name of a love of coffee and a desire to continue helping his brothers in arms.

Lock N Load Java – an online retailer of premium coffee selling directly to consumers, was launched on September 11, 2010 with a philosophy of “no compromise.” Churchill explains the phrase means the company won’t give up “quality to make a quick buck.”

“It means not compromising customer service – we offer 100 percent customer satisfaction, period,” he said. “It means not compromising our mission to support the troops and the military community. And it means not compromising our integrity – we ALWAYS do the right thing.”  (more…)

2016-02-01T21:34:12-05:00February 1st, 2016|CEO Highlight, PowerTips e-newsletter|

8 Ways to Build Customer/Client Relationships on Facebook…and Keep Them

FB Final ImageBy: Joanna Guldin-Noll

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably complained about Facebook. Facebook throttles views. Facebook constantly changes. Facebook makes things difficult. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Sound familiar? I know I’ve said some of these exact things. Until recently, that is… because I’ve figured out how to make Facebook beneficial for my followers and for my business.

If you’re feeling sluggish about your Facebook presence (or maybe downright hostile toward it), you can absolutely take steps to change the way you interact with your customers/clients. It’s easy to take just one or two of these strategies and consistently apply them. You’ll be building relationships through Facebook easily in no time!  (more…)

2016-02-01T21:34:27-05:00February 1st, 2016|Marketing Buzz, PowerTips e-newsletter|

The Customer is Always Right – Tell Them

By: Bianca M. Strzalkowskinadia054

Nadia Martinez says her customers are always right and she goes out of her way to make sure they know it. The Marine wife is owner of Kallie Shoes, LLC, a not-just-for-profits footwear company that gives part of its proceeds to organizations that support veterans and wounded warriors. She used her education and professional experience to get started, then met up with some of the brightest minds in business at an Inc. 5000 conference late last year. The interactions there gave her tools to grow her business even further.

Kallie Shoes targets a specific customer: people who love shoes, people who are animal-friendly, and people who support the military. The PETA-approved vegan company delivers products made with the safety of animals in mind. Because she knows her customer base so well, Martinez put flexible policies in place to ensure her shoppers always know they are right. (more…)

2016-02-08T16:12:59-05:00February 1st, 2016|Business Etiquette, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Client Profile: KOVA Global

KOVAGlobal logo(1)

Powerhouse Service Provided: External Communications


The Powerhouse team works with businesses to provide external communications support in a variety of ways.

  • Product/service campaigns
  • Speech writing
  • Media crisis management
  • Analyst relations
  • Branding
  • Brochures
  • Social media
  • Website development and maintenance
  • Graphic design
  • Contributed articles drafting
  • Press releases (writing and targeted distribution)
  • Media relations
  • Press/media tours
  • Magazines
  • Annual reports
  • Script development (video, commercials, and radio ads)
  • e-Newsletters

For the past two years we’ve been fortunate to work with KOVA Global on an ongoing basis.

“The Powerhouse team has been critically important and valuable to KOVA’s increasing growth and success. Powerhouse is consistently responsive and quick to provide top quality marketing solutions, be it graphics work, public relations efforts, or full-on marketing campaigns. In KOVA’s fast-moving world, we proudly rely on Powerhouse to not only keep up with us, but keep us exceling and succeeding even faster.” – Chris Just, Founding Partner, KOVA Global

Interested in learning more about how Powerhouse can help you with your external communications? Email us at If you want to learn more about KOVA Global, visit their website at

2016-02-01T21:34:35-05:00February 1st, 2016|PowerTips e-newsletter, Service & Success|

Never Stop Learning

Small business ownership has many layers, from accounting to marketing to human resources and more. There are several avenues to receiving extensive education, for free and tailored to military-affiliated entrepreneurs. Did we mention these are all free? Let’s explore some of the options.

Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF): business owner training for any stage of ownership. Dr. Mike Haynie, a veteran, helped found the program in 2006 to assist veterans and their families in crafting a vocation that defies the traditional barriers to employment. IVMF offers various types of programs for all branch affiliations and roles within the military community. Classes run throughout the year and include online and in-person opportunities.

  • EBV – Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
  • EBV-F – Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families
  • V-Wise – for female veterans
  • Boots to Business – for transitioning military members

Check out IVMF for a full listing of dates and program components.

Inc. Military Entrepreneur Program: for veterans and military spouses looking to start or who are currently running a business. Events are offered each year (for free) to connect military-affiliated entrepreneurs with successful CEOs in all sectors.

  • The next conference, known as GrowCo, will take place in Las Vegas in May. A special delegation will be chosen to attend. Check their website for application information or contact Natalie Thomas for details at

VetToCEO: offers programs to active duty military, transitioning military, and veterans interested in small business ownership.

  • Virtual training
  • Options include self-paced and a structured, seven-week program
2016-02-01T21:34:43-05:00February 1st, 2016|Business Resources, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Nonprofit Profile: The MilSpo Project

When these two military spouses saw a need, they filled it.MILSPO

Elizabeth Boardman and Nicole Hope, business owners, devised a plan to support other military spouse business owners by founding an organization called The MilSpo Project. The idea for the nonprofit was developed when the two friends were out on a hike. The co-founders learned through their own experiences that business ownership was a natural fit for their on-the-move lifestyles. They made the decision to turn a thought into action after recognizing there was an underserved segment of the military spouse community: entrepreneurs.

“All of our friends at the time had chosen business because growing with another company was almost impossible. Given the large number of military spouse business owners, we realized there was no business conference that brought all of them together so EMBARK (our annual conference) was born,” Boardman said.

In addition to the yearly conference of business leaders, The MilSpo Project offers an opportunity to network through local chapters, online training, a business book club, and monthly webinars with experts. For spouses looking to add to volunteer experience, the organization has a host of opportunities that range from running a chapter to assisting with fundraising.

If you are a military spouse business owner looking to donate your time, talents, or monetary support, visit The MilSpo Project’s website at or email

Stay tuned to the group’s online community for information about its two-day EMBARK conference happening in Norfolk, Virginia along with an e-course launching this year.