Ohio business owner, entrepreneur set on growing businesses
By BRANDON ROBERTS The Herald-Dispatch firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana Cornell, center, has a passion for founding and growing businesses. He built a successful vending machine company, then went on to found A&A Janitorial Services and Apple Caregivers. Cornell, president of A&A Janitorial Services, is pictured with operations manager Terry Chapman, left, and office manager Shanna Galloway, right.
CHESAPEAKE, Ohio – By the time one reads this, Dana Cornell has likely bought or sold another company.
Cornell, 35, of Crown City, Ohio, started his first business in 2007, a soda and vending machine company with used machines he purchased online.
“The vending machine business began with 13 soda machines I bought for $25 each from a major company that was liquidating its used equipment,” Cornell said.
“Every weekend my wife and I would travel within a three-hour radius of Huntington buying used machines. We ended up with a pretty decent business with 60 full-size machines.”
In 2009, Cornell sold the vending machine company and, after borrowing $5,000 from his mother, Susie Pennington, began piecing together what is now A&A Janitorial Services.
Using the skills he learned while working as a custodian in the Marines, he and one part-time employee worked on six small accounts in and around Huntington.
“I literally worked around the clock,” he said. “I would get in around midnight and then start all the office and administrative work such as follow-up emails and billing.”
Things have changed quite a bit since those days. A&A now has a staff of more than 60, including a full-time account manager, operations manager, office manager and two floor supervisors.
“I was able to pay my mom back in a couple months,” he said. “We now have more than 500 commercial accounts throughout the entire states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.”
Cornell also purchased two other janitorial businesses and incorporated them under the A&A name. He said he has had to purchase more than $120,000-worth of janitorial equipment —
mops, buckets, scrubbers, air movers, box vans, trucks and carpet cleaning machines to name some — over the past five years.
“When I started A&A Janitorial I set a goal for it to be a million-dollar-a-year business,” Cornell said.
“Once it got to the point it would run well without me in it, I moved on to something else.”
Cornell said he has a friend who had been successful in the business of providing in-home care for senior citizens,
so in August of 2015 he started his newest endeavor, Chesapeake, Ohio-based Apple Caregivers, which has five employees who provide in-home services to senior citizens in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
“My friend really mentored me for a couple of months, and it really helped me,” he said.
“I have set the same financial goals for Apple Caregivers I did for A&A.”
According to its website www.applecaregiversinfo.com, Apple Caregivers offers companionship and personal care services.
The companionship level provides companionship to senior citizens in a protective and supervisory capacity,
which includes preparing a snack, lunch, or modest supper as well as light housekeeping.
The personal care level is for people who need either temporary or long-term assistance due to illness or disabling conditions.
The service aims to allow for independent living.
Apple Caregivers performs home management functions, assistance with basic personal services and care, as well as transportation services for as little as four hours per shift.
“All of our caregivers have at least one year experience in care giving for the elderly,” Cornell said. “Although we are a non-medical company, all of our caregivers are CPR certified.
Each and every client has a detailed emergency plan that our caregivers will follow if tragedy happens while we are there.
All of our caregivers are drug tested prior to employment with us and also randomly tested while employed as well as background checked prior to employment.”
As for what’s next for Cornell’s already diverse portfolio, he said he doesn’t know.
“My passion is not just to own or run a company, it is growing businesses,” he said. “I have turned over the reins of A&A to my wife, Shanna, and it is going great.
Once I reach my financial goals with Apple Caregivers, I’ll likely sell it and buy something else.”
Follow reporter Brandon Roberts on Twitter @brobertsHD.
Name: Dana Cornell
Occupation: Entrepreneur who has started a vending machine company, A&A Janitorial Services and Apple Caregivers.
Residence: Crown City, Ohio.
Children: Three daughters – Sophie, 7; Addyson, 8; and Baylee, 11.
Education: Fairland High School, class of 1998.
Military service: United States Marine Corps.
Hobby: Watching YouTube videos.
Favorite TV show: “Dateline.”
Favorite movie: “The Family Man.”
Favorite book: “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley.