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SCORE Startup Spotlight: Unique Lancaster Experiences
November 2, 2022
(From Left to Right) Joella Gamon, Kendra Frazier, & Naeem Malik on a sectional.

(From Left to Right) Joella Gamon, Kendra Frazier, & Naeem Malik on a sectional.

Kendra Frazier was a new addition to Lancaster in 2020 but had to delay exploring her new home until the pandemic restrictions could safely be lifted. Once that happened, Kendra was pleasantly surprised by the strong sense of community she discovered in the city of Lancaster.

Her trips around Lancaster County also led to significant questions and the genesis of an idea for a new endeavor. There seemed to be an overlooked niche market that she had a calling to fill. The result was the creation of Unique Lancaster Experiences. This business provides curated tours around the City of Lancaster that highlight the city's authenticity and cultural diversity.

"After moving to Lancaster in 2020, I was amazed that Lancaster is a small city with a big sense of community. I love connecting with people, sharing stories, and being creative. I learned that Lancaster County is a 9-billion-dollar industry for tourism every year. But none of those tourism companies are black-owned. Unique Lancaster Experiences allows me to promote diversity tourism while also doing things I love!" - Kendra Frazier, founder & owner, Unique Lancaster Experiences  

The Essential Role of a Mentor for a Startup

Mentorship is considered vital in the startup ecosystem for building a successful startup. Of course, having an excellent product/service to tackle a painful problem is essential, and so is good market traction. Equally important is a great mentor to sustain and grow these fundamentals.

"I am a first-generation business owner. Most of what I knew going into this was what I found on YouTube. But when I started asking around for resources, everyone spoke so highly about SCORE. From large companies that have been in business for decades to people who just have an idea. SCORE was highly recommended in my coworking space, The Candy Factory." - Kendra FRAZIER, founder & owner of Unique Lancaster Experiences  

Kendra reached out to request a mentor in February of 2022 and was assigned SCORE volunteer mentor Naeem Malik. Their first meeting was at Kendra's business "home" – The Candy Factory.

Naeem Malik (Left) and Kendra Frazier (Right) in the Unique Lancaster Experience Office

"First, we looked at her business to ensure all legal and regulatory requirements had been met and that she had a robust record-keeping system. Then we looked at the business profitability for optimum results. Kendra is a bright young entrepreneur who has confidence in herself and is willing to accept feedback and coaching. So I expect her to be very successful in her business ventures, and I am happy to be associated with such talent, and hope to help her succeed." - Naeem Malik, SCORE volunteer mentor

There is no area more crucial for a startup than building a firm foundation. That includes writing a business plan, funding the business, choosing the correct business structure, getting your State and Federal Tax IDs, and others. A SCORE mentor will walk you through them all or bring on a co-mentor to work on them with you.

Naeem Malik (Left), Joella Gamon (Middle), and Kendra Frazier (Right) in a meeting.

SCORE mentors offer guidance and direction at all stages of a startup. They bring the network of talent from the SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon Chapter to the table to assist the client as co-mentors in subjects like cash flow, accounting, staffing, marketing, and a broad spectrum of issues that new enterprises encounter.

When Naeem & Kendra were ready to turn their focus to marketing and website issues, SCORE Marketing Chair Joelle Gamon was requested to co-mentor. Joella comes to SCORE with a solid & successful marketing career on her resume and is often asked to co-mentor because of her startup experience with small and medium size companies.

Joella Gamon (Left) and Kendra Frazier (Right)

"Kendra has a business that supports tourism in Lancaster County. She is a wonderful team player and dives right in to support other businesses and accept opportunities to work with local organizations towards a common goal of providing an outstanding experience to her clients, whether from out of town or exploring local hidden spots. That ability to provide a quality experience has resulted in a great Trip Advisor rating and organic opportunities to be featured by the media." - Joella Gamon, SCORE marketing chair & volunteer mentor.

Unique Experiences Lancaster on the Road to a Bright Future

Kendra has devoted an enormous amount of energy to fulfilling this dream. Besides running a successful startup, she is a devoted single parent, donates time to local nonprofits, and attends school full-time. Kendra's hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. Friends at The Candy Factory, Kendra's coworking space, nominated her for the prestigious YWCA Lancaster Woman of Achievement Awards. Kendra was chosen and recently honored as one of the YWCA Lancaster 2022 Women of Achievement. According to the YWCA website, these annual awards celebrate "women and gender-expansive individuals who, through their careers and volunteerism, live out our mission in Lancaster County.”

(Left to Right) Naeem Malik, Kendra Frazier, Joella Gamon, & Anne Kirby.

Pictured left to right: SCORE lead mentor, Naeem Malik: Kendra Frazier, founder & owner of
Unique Lancaster Experiences: Joella Gamon, SCORE mentor; Anne Kirby, owner, The Candy Factory.

Kendra is not complacent about her success. She recognizes the challenges that lie ahead.

"The greatest challenge for many women of color might be a lack of representation. Being the only black business owner in tourism can be hard. You go to networking events, but no one looks like you, speaks like you, or can relate to your story. People underestimate how mentally challenging it can be when you are the only brown person in the room. That is why I strive to grow my business with diversity in mind."  - Kendra Frazier, founder & owner, Unique Lancaster Experiences  

Wherever the road leads for Kendra Frazier, her SCORE mentors will walk beside her for the length of her journey.

115 East King Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
(717) 397-3092

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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