The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Tuesday it has named the co-owners of The Foster Corp., a Flemington-based manufacturer of enrichment devices and nutritional supplements, and the parent company of Bio-Serv and Radon Supplies, as New Jersey’s 2019 Small Business Person of the Year.
The award is part of the SBA’s celebration of National Small Business Week from May 5 to May 11, where it honors and recognizes the achievements of small business owners across the nation.
Al Titone, SBA New Jersey district director, said co-owners Tim Fisher and Dr. Karen Froberg-Fejko were nominated for the award by TD Bank and were selected based on criteria including: Staying Power (a substantial history of an established business); Growth in Number of Employees; Increase in Sales; Financial Strength of the Company; Innovativeness of Product or Service Offered; Contributions to Aid Community Oriented Projects; and being Aided by the Programs and Services of the SBA.
Prior to becoming co-owners of The Foster Corp., Fisher and Froberg-Fejko had more than 45 years of combined experience at both Bio-Serv and Radon Supplies.
Bio-Serv, which was founded in 1970, began by supplying custom made insect food for government research. Today, it is a B2B provider developing products for the biotechnology industry to with research animals. About 26 years later, Radon Supplies was founded. The niche business supplies radon reduction system components to radon mitigation companies.
When the company was in financial distress in 2014, Fisher and Froberg-Fejko moved forward to purchase the company. Once that was finalized, Fisher became CEO and Froberg-Fejko became president, together owning 100% of the company’s stock.
“We have been growing steadily, with 2018 being our best year ever, while reducing and restructuring debt,” Fisher said. “We have faced some unique challenges along the way, which we have overcome with the assistance of TD bank and the SBA.”
Under their combined leadership, the company has grown to 38 employees with sales of more than $8 million.
“It is a great turnaround story,” Titone said. “You have to give credit to Tim Fisher and Dr. Karen Froberg-Fejko, who had the passion, tenacity and vision to keep this small business going. They will tell you it wasn’t easy, but when you love what you do and spend a good part of your life working for something you believe in, you fight and work hard to keep that American dream alive.”
Steve Bulger, SBA Region II regional administrator, who oversees SBA programs and services in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said, “Today is about celebrating small business and shinning that spotlight on small companies like Bio-Serv and Radon Supplies that contribute so much to our local and national economies.”
“Hunterdon County is one of four counties in New Jersey that is designated as a rural community,” Bulger said. “That $5 million SBA-backed loan from TD Bank proved critical to helping Tim Fisher and Dr. Froberg-Fejko to keep their company going. At the end of the day, we’re just glad that a small business with such a storied history was able to emerge from the turmoil they endured and come out of it that much stronger, putting them in a great position to continue to grow and to contribute to rural America for many more years to come.”