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The Right Stuff

DATE: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Student-entrepreneurs rewarded for the home-grown businesses

HCC student Scott Cummings explains the silk-screening process to HCC president Christina Royal.

The Dubchaks grew up musical, like a Westfield version of the Von Trapp family. Their parents, originally from Ukraine, played instruments, and they made sure their children did too, and different ones, so that one day they might form a band.

Roman, the oldest, learned saxophone, Filipp clarinet, and David, cello and bass. Over the years, the three brothers not only developed an expertise for playing those instruments, they developed an expertise for fixing them as well.

Last year, the musical instrument repair business they run out of their parents' basement, Dubchak Artist Services, LLC, had $100,000 in sales.

Last night, the three brothers — two are current HCC students and one a recent grad — were recognized with a $1,500 Spirit Award from the Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Initiative, $500 each.

Two other HCC students also won Grinspoon Spirit Awards for their home-grown businesses: Scott Cummings Jr., a Visual Arts major from West Springfield, received $600 for After Midnight Designs, his graphic design and silk-screening business; Tauqeer Hassan, a business administration major from Amherst, received $500 for Tiqi Torch, his cell phone accessory business.

Ashley Rivest, a business administration major from Chicopee, represented HCC in the annual Elevator Pitch competition, impressing the crowd with her polished 90-second presentation for the Scrub Buddy, a miniature robot that automatically cleans your bathroom.

All of the Spirit winners said they are going to invest the award money back into their businesses.

Roman Dubchak, 28, a business administration major who earned his certificate in entrepreneurship from HCC last May, said he and his brothers sometimes put in as much as 30-40 hours a week working on the family business. They have been repairing instruments for more than 10 years.

"We were musicians," said Roman, "so we kind of fell into it by accident. It made sense."

David, 20, the brass specialist, finished his associate degree in biotechnology in December. He's now at the University of Massachusetts studying biochemistry and molecular biology. He plans to walk with his brother Roman at Commencement May 27.

Filipp, 25, the woodwind specialist, is studying computer programming at HCC.

Rounding out the family band, the Dubchaks, are sisters Lisa, 28, HCC Class of 2010, on flute, and Katie, 23, Class of 2013, on violin; Ella, Fillip's wife, on violin; and two younger brothers, 13.

They play weddings. 

PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Top) HCC student Scott Cummings explains his silk-screening process to HCC president Christina Royal at the annual Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative Award Ceremony & Banquet yesterday at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Cummings won a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for his graphic design business, After Midnight Designs. (Thumbnail) Brothers Filipp Dubchak, David Dubchak and Roman Dubchak received a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for their musical instrument repair business, Dubchak Artist Services, LLC.