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New business owner's schedule gets filled up

July 08, 2003|by JENNIFER SMITS

jennifers@herald-mail.com

Kim Donivan already juggles motherhood and the role of college student.

On Friday, she will add business owner to her list of responsibilities.

Donivan, 22, and partner Cliff Lapkoff will open a Sunoco gas station on Sharpsburg Pike across from the entrance to Prime Outlets.

"I've always been fascinated with cars," said Donivan, a 1999 graduate of North High School and a part-time student at Montgomery College majoring in business.

Donivan said that with the addition of the business, college will move down a notch on her list of priorities. Her 4-year-old daughter is No. 1, followed by the business, she said.

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Although she made the dean's list last semester, Donivan said now she is not sure how long it will take her to finish school, although she said she intends to get her degree.

"It has to come third behind my daughter and the business," she said.

Donivan said she waited three years to attend college because of the birth of her daughter, who will begin kindergarten in the fall.

She is opening the gas station because she wants to have job security and to be able to provide for her daughter, Donivan said. She said she also did not want to spend her life waiting tables, which she did for the past three years.

"There is always money to be made in business," she said.

Donivan said she was nervous about starting a business, although she does have past experience working at a gas station. She previously worked at a Sunoco in Frederick, Md., where she performed a variety of tasks, including payroll, bookkeeping, and changing oil in cars, she said.

Despite her initial nervousness, Donivan said she is confident the business will succeed.

"We offer great work at a reasonable price," she said.

She said Sunoco is a small chain and all of its refineries are in the United States. It has no Middle Eastern connections, Donivan said.

Donivan said she chose to start a gas station in Hagers-town because the city is growing.

"I've seen it grow in just the six years I've lived here," she said.

Before moving to Hagerstown when she was 15, Donivan, who was born in Germany, lived there for 14 months before moving to Brunswick, Md. Donivan and her mother, who is a German citizen, moved back to Germany when she was 13.

Donivan moved to Hagerstown, where her father lived at the time, to attend high school, she said.

Donivan said she is fluent in German and hopes that her daughter will be trilingual. She said her daughter can count to 10 in German and is learning Spanish.

Her daughter loves to help out at the gas station, she said. Donivan began taking her to the Sunoco in Frederick when she worked there and will continue to take her to the Hagerstown gas station.

"She thinks it's hers," she said with a laugh.

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