Dave Ovad didn't plan on getting grounded.
The owner of the plane Ovad flew decided to sell in 2010, leaving the longtime corporate pilot without a job.
Two years later, Ovad and wife Jackie decided to get something else off the ground—a small business. Last month, the Reisterstown couple opened the new Towson location for PostNet at 22 W. Allegheny Ave.
PostNet is a neighborhood business center, featuring computer stations, packing supplies, shipping services and a large printer that can print out banners and posters. Patch spoke with Dave about how the couple got into business.
Tell me how you decided to open your own business after you stopped flying.
I did a little consulting, a little computer consulting for a while, then we started looking at franchises. We had a child, a small child, so we wanted something that worked with broader support so we could get a quick start. And we looked at something that matched the proficiencies we both had.
With running my own business, I had a lot of experience with printing and direct mail and marketing and all sorts of stuff like that. We looked at The UPS Store and PostNet stood out, because PostNet is very forward-thinking. They're rolling out website posting and email marketing for small businesses, and we like the concept of helping small businesses to grow.
What was your favorite part about flying?
Originally I started flying in 1992 and I did it just for the freedom and the joy of flying. I flew small airplanes and I absolutely love aviation. I still fly small airplanes, but doing it as work, flying and everything was fun. Because I was always going on someone else's schedule to places they wanted to go and, oftentimes, to places I'd probably rather not go. But I did enjoy it.
I had a wonderful employer, the last job I had. To this day, they're family to us. They're wonderful people and we communicate just about daily. It made it hard for me to leave. I worked for them for over five years because they were so good to me. So even though I wanted to get back into business, they just made my life brighter in that time I worked for them.
You talked about helping small businesses. What are the challenges of starting your own small business in this economy?
The biggest challenge is getting money. The banks don't want to talk to you until you have two years in business with a nice balance sheet. Even working with the SBA—and the SBA in Baltimore is wonderful ... even with their support and their help and all, all the traditional lending institutions want two years with a good balance sheet. And if you can't buy the equipment you need, how are you going to get started to begin with? It's expensive to get into business.
How have things been going since you opened?
They've been going pretty well actually. The businesses in the neighborhood are very supportive. For example, the architect right above us. He has been almost every day sending us drawings to print. The reception on this street is great. It's a pleasant surprise.