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…)

Bringing Wet Shaving to the 21st Century

March 19, 2018

Success Story: Idaho

The Grooming NetworkImagine bringing the best of Victorian-era masculinity to the 21st century while also creating local jobs and protecting the environment. Luke Webster’s The Grooming Network (TGN) has accomplished all of these since starting up in 2011.

Along with his wife and two business partners, Webster has cornered the market in old-fashioned wet shaving. Webster started with a single product, a website and a small marketing budget. Within a short time, they had over $40,000 in orders and Webster knew they had connected with real need.

Webster and his team at TGN resurrected the lost art form of creating quality, American-made straight razors by patenting a unique process for manufacturing the blades in North Idaho. These reusable razors help reduce landfill shave waste by 96% while saving customers money.

Webster credits his business clarity to working with the North Idaho SBDC. Together, they identified a path forward to create a three-fold increase in his business in the next five years. Webster is on a mission to change the way the world shaves.  (more…)

Horse Lovers Combine Skills, Resources at Danville, Vermont Stable

March 5, 2018

VtSBDC Advising Assists Business Start-Up –

Northern Lights StableMegan Haygood and her family already had the land, hay and equipment needed to start a horse boarding, breeding, training and riding facility in Danville. But they knew they needed more in order to start a successful business. Enter Michelle Lemieux, an established equine trainer and manager, and you have the makings of a quality small business partnership.

The two opened Northern Lights Stable last year after combining Haygood’s resources and Lemieux’s expertise and customer base. “Our business is special as it provides exceptional equine care and 24-hour monitoring, highly skilled training and riding instruction, and a regulation-size indoor competition arena,” Haygood said.

But even with the combination of resources and skills that Haygood and Lemieux brought to the table, they knew they could use additional help before launching the business. That’s why they contacted Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) Area Advisor Ross Hart.  (more…)

2018 Client Showcase Countdown #1 – Washington SBDC Client Whooshh Innovations Moves Fish Humanely, Reliably and Cost-Effectively

February 12, 2018

Meet Whooshh Innovations, LLC ( | @JustWhooshh)

Whoosh InnovationsWhooshh Innovations™ is revolutionizing fish passage, fish handling and seafood processing through its proprietary, proven technology — moving fish cost-effectively, reliably, and gently. The company was launched 10 years ago, with the goal of enabling the mechanical harvest of highly perishable agricultural products such as tree fruit. Soon recognizing the need to apply the same technology to move fish gently over obstacles and barriers, the company began testing its technology on live fish.

The initial success with farmed fish led researchers to explore the use of Whooshh technology to move fish over dams — as well as in processing plants where hygiene is critical. Most recently, the company has combined its revolutionary fish passage technology with sophisticated scanning and sorting capabilities that enable fisheries managers to automatically sort out hatchery or invasive species from the native wild species migrating upstream.  (more…)