Two Sisters Boutique: People and Community Matter

August 25, 2020

Success Story: Wisconsin

Two Sisters Boutique

Darcy Musil incorporated her background as a manicurist, esthetician and bra fitting specialist into Two Sisters Boutique, her unique retail business designed for women of all shapes and sizes. Her store provides a custom “one-on-one styling” service to shoppers who prefer suggestions and guidance.

Many customers come to the boutique for help obtaining the perfect look for photo shoots such as family portraits and senior pictures. Darcy also offers makeup consultations to provide expert knowledge on skin tone and color match. The retail location in Rice Lake opened in May, 2017 with four employees, and the business has grown to employ seven.

SUCCESS DURING COVID-19

The store is more than just a clothing boutique. It supports local vendors in many ways. Jewelry, soap, lotions, candles and other accessories and gifts created by local artisans are sold in Darcy’s store. When COVID-19 hit, Darcy had to close the storefront location but was able to sustain online sales. (more…)

Eclectic Store Expands Online During Covid-19 Shutdown

August 4, 2020

Success Story: Georgia. By Aaron Cox –

Cottle & GunnCottle & Gunn in St. Marys, Georgia, closed its doors in April when the state’s shelter-in-place directives took effect. But the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop owner Deborah Cottle from doubling — then tripling — her sales from the previous spring, thanks to a creative outlook, a new online store, and some help from the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center.

Located just blocks away from the Florida state line to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, St. Marys is home to about 17,000 people. Cottle & Gunn sits in the middle of the coastal town’s historic district — a fitting location for an eclectic store specializing in reclaimed vintage furniture, housewares, local crafts and more.

While the store itself is small, its online presence is anything but. Since opening her doors in 2014, Cottle has built an online following that nearly matches the size of the town — with more than 15,000 combined followers on Facebook and Instagram.

So, when the pandemic hit and businesses began closing their doors, Cottle tapped into that social media network — and her longstanding relationship with the SBDC — to keep her sales going. (more…)

Vytal Health: Transformative Care

July 28, 2020

Vytal HealthSuccess Story: Wisconsin –

Dr. Tiffany Mullen co-founded Vytal Health with Dr. Alex Yampolsky in July of 2018, and their focus on personalized, affordable care has only grown stronger since then. Vytal Health is a telemedicine company that provides continuous, long-term relationships with patients via digital channels. The two doctors were inspired to start the business because people were searching for answers to health problems and not finding them in traditional avenues.

GETTING STARTED

As new business owners, Dr. Mullen and Dr. Yampolsky had to create and refine their working relationship, make a few mistakes and find funding along the way. Dr. Mullen turned to the UW-Milwaukee Small Business Development Center (SBDC) after being referred by a friend who was also an SBDC client. Seeking a female mentor and sound business advice, Dr. Mullen found Cheryl Mitchell, a consultant at the SBDC. Click To Tweet (more…)

Clinic Owners Use Covid-19 Crisis as Opportunity for Introspection

July 14, 2020

Keene PerspectivesSuccess Story: Vermont. By Amanda Kuhnert –

“We’ve tried to make the best of this extremely stressful time by focusing on the things we can control and imagining how to improve our business when we eventually reopen,” said Cortney Keene, co-owner of Keene Perspectives in White River Junction, a behavioral health center for children with autism and other developmental disorders.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, Cortney and her husband Chris implemented procedures at the clinic to help limit the spread of the virus, from restricting the number of visitors to increasing cleaning. But when schools were ordered to close, they decided to temporarily pause operations. They contacted Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) advisor Ross Hart for advice, and began researching federal and state assistance programs. (more…)

KREWE Restaurant Opens in St. Joseph with Minnesota SBDC Assistance

June 30, 2020

Success Story: Minnesota

KREWE Opening
L-R: Brianna Knowles and Devin Larson (Minnwest Bank), Mateo Mackbee and Erin Lucas (KREWE owners and chefs), and Berny Berger (Minnesota SBDC)

Experienced restaurant owners and chefs Mateo Mackbee and Erin Lucas will be opening their much anticipated New Orleans cuisine restaurant, “KREWE,” at 24 North College Avenue in St. Joseph on July 1st. Mateo and Erin will specialize in their Creole and Cajun dishes from Mackbee’s food heritage, which is rooted in his mother’s hometown of New Orleans.

The menu will feature a variety of dishes that hearken back to The Big Easy, like muffuletta, jambalaya, and gumbo from family recipes, and shrimp raised locally in Minnesota. Erin operates their partner business – Flour and Flower, a European style bakery, which opened May 21st, located next to KREWE at 26 College Avenue North. (more…)