From Hobby to Growing BBQ Business

August 20, 2018

Success Story: Idaho

Pitmaster BBQRob Harding spent 25 years in healthcare administration. He turned his love of good BBQ into a hobby, then into a thriving business.

At a wedding reception catered by Rob, his BBQ ribs received rave reviews — from guests who happened to be judges from the Memphis of May International BBQ contest. He began entering BBQ competitions in 2008.

After winning many awards, he opened an Idaho Falls restaurant in 2012, where they make everything in-house every day and serve high-grade meats cooked low and slow over real wood. This commitment to quality has made Pitmaster BarBQue Company the most awarded BBQ restaurant in Idaho.

Rob came to the SBDC because he needed someone to discuss his current and future business growth in a confidential environment. “The consultants played a key role in helping me think through growth strategies,” said Rob.  (more…)

A Housing Solution For People With Mobility Issues

July 16, 2018

Success Story, Vermont SBDC –

Wheel Pad L3CIn 1988, Architect Joseph Cincotta and Julie Lineberger, started LineSync Architecture, an award winning firm currently with 9 employees. Wheel Pad L3C, their second enterprise, evolved from an accident in 2010 that rendered their Godson quadriplegic and forced to live isolated in an accessible hotel room for eight months after rehab until he could find appropriate housing.

While designing the universally accessible renovations for a home their Godson eventually purchased, Joseph came up with the idea for Wheel Pad and started building the prototype in 2015: A 200 sq.ft. accessible bedroom and bathroom that can be attached to an existing home. It provides eco-friendly, temporary, accessible housing for people with mobility issues, allowing friends and/or family to provide support until permanent accessible housing can be arranged. Permanent models are also available.

Wheel Pad L3C offers a housing solution for disabled Veterans, Seniors, people with spinal cord injuries, and multiple diseases (ALS, MS, etc.) who have mobility issues and/or use wheelchairs, who want to remain in their currently inaccessible homes. It is an elegant solution that alleviates the need for a 6-12 month process of planning, designing, and constructing an addition. Additionally, it is local; it serves a social issue as well as an economic one. Their plan is to manufacture Wheel Pad units in economically depressed Wilmington, VT, with the end goal of an employee-owned enterprise.  (more…)

Purchasing A Business With Help From The SBDC

June 11, 2018

Idaho Success Story –

Idaho Success - Snake River Travel PlazaAfter other buyers backed out of purchasing the Snake River Travel Plaza in Blackfoot, Idaho, Jace Katseanes stepped in to organize a purchase with Lori Cox as the manager and accountant. Having worked with the Southeast Idaho SBDC before, Lori knew who to call to facilitate the purchase.

“The purchase process was long and sometimes frustrating, but the SBDC helped us prepare financials and a business plan,” said Lori. “[The SBDC] stuck with us through the whole process.” That hard work resulted in a $3.15M SBA loan.

Jace and Lori turned the plaza around with their MMM Philosophy: a focus on money, management and marketing. This turnaround earned Lori a nomination for Woman Student Entrepreneur of the Year at Idaho State University. She won the award and received a $500 prize from US Bank at the 2018 Women’s Business Symposium.  (more…)

Bar and Draft Line Cleaning Make a Perfect Pint

May 7, 2018

Success Story, Illinois SBDC –

Pint PerfectJosh Coclasure and Sammie Williams have been friends since childhood. They have always talked about starting a business together and finally had the chance to put their idea for bar and restaurant draft line cleaning services to the test in the Metro East Start-Up Challenge (MESC).

In 2017, Coclasure and Williams won first place in the MESC for Pint Perfect and received start-up money from local sponsors, in-kind services, mentors and more. With that support and momentum, they have been moving along in starting their venture.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) introduced the competition in 2014. The Start-Up Challenge engages multiple sponsors and business professional mentors each year for entrepreneurs to assess how their business plans stacks up.  (more…)

Established Bakery Rises to New Heights

April 16, 2018

Success Story Idaho –

Zeppole Bakery, IdahoSince Charles and Alison Alpers purchased Zeppole Bakery in 2006, retail and wholesale business has increased while fostering community involvement and garnering numerous awards, including being honored in 2010 by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce as Boise’s Small Business of the Year.

The company’s continued growth was limited, though, because of inadequate production space and aging equipment – an inefficient set-up that only got worse as sales grew. That’s when the Idaho SBDC’s assistance proved invaluable in securing a loan to move the bakery to a larger facility and update equipment. The SBDC worked closely with Charles and Alison on their business plan, budget, financial projections and loan application.

“They provided invaluable expertise that helped us modernize our equipment, relocate to a larger, more effcient facility and, therefore, continue to grow our business,” says Charles. “I doubt we would have achieved the success we now enjoy without [the SBDC].”  (more…)