Family-Owned Auto Shop Still Growing After 40 Years

December 10, 2019

Vermont Success - Don's Auto ServiceVermont Success Story, by Amanda Kuhnert –

“They are honest, capable, and efficient, and it’s good to know there’s a local auto shop with friendly people I can trust to do a good job with my car.” This is just one of nearly 700 five-star customer reviews that say, in one way or another, the same thing. Don’s Auto Service is known for its friendly service, honest work, and fair rates.

The auto shop has been a staple in Derby, Vermont since 1979. Unlike many second-generation businesses, its reputation hasn’t suffered with the passing of the baton. After his father, Don, passed away in 2001, Scott Keenan became part-owner of Don’s Auto Service with his mother, Cheryl. Scott’s wife, Deanna, and daughter, Ashley, also work at the shop.

After becoming a partner in the business, Scott realized that they had outgrown their existing space. He identified a larger building for sale that would fit their needs. But to secure financing for the purchase, he needed to prepare a business plan and financial projections. That’s when he reached out to the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). (more…)

Vegun Nutrition

November 11, 2019

Vegun Nutrition - Maryland SuccessVeterans Success Story: Maryland –

Derrell Lee and John Pace are U.S. Military Veterans who graduated from Harford Community College (HCC) with Associate degrees in Business Administration. Derrell and John had wanted to start their own business for a while, and it was finally time for them to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.

With a passion for healthy living and fitness, the duo came up with a revolutionary idea with confidence for future success. Before pursuing this venture head-first, they sought advice on how to properly format their business and construct a business plan to enable them to receive the financing needed.

They came to Maryland’s Northern Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and spoke with Ryan Del Gallo for consultation on how to move their business in a positive direction. Ryan answered all of their questions while providing one-on-one counseling, and he also went a step further to assist with developing a marketing strategy, accurate financial projections, a proper loan package, and a well-developed pitch for the business. (more…)

Be Your Own Boss. This Millennial Did It And So Can You

September 17, 2019

Blue Spoon CafeBluefield café owner transitions from employee to entrepreneur with help from West Virginia SBDC

Nicole Coeburn had a respectable career working in a community she loved. But like many millennials she yearned for more.

Having grown up in a family of entrepreneurs, Coeburn wanted to own a small business like her grandmother, father and uncles before her. But starting a business is easier said than done. And like many young professionals looking to take the leap, she still had a day job. How would she make a clean break and pursue her dream? And where would she even start?

There were a flurry of questions swirling through her mind, but Coeburn was certain of one thing: it was time to take her career to the next level. She just needed to find someone who could help her make that happen. And she’d have to take the leap. (more…)

Round Man Brewing: Upscale Brewpub… Up North

September 10, 2019
Sue and Spencer Churchill
Sue and Spencer Churchill of family-owned Round Man Brewing

Success Story: Wisconsin –

The Churchill family, already familiar in Spooner from their successful coffee shop, opened a brewpub in 2018. Sue and Jeff Churchill handle marketing for the business, while son Spencer is the general manager. Oldest son Blain is a brewer. Daughter Alexandria, who manages the coffee shop nearby, serves as operations manager. Head brewer Brian Sunderland joined the team early on, and together they have created an experience to remember!

Driven by Love and History

The Churchill family loves the tourist community of Spooner and wanted to bring a more upscale dining and entertainment operation to town. Their enjoyment of brewpubs on family vacations led to their business concept. “We hired a chef and brewmaster,” said Sue. “We bring the vision, marketing, and community involvement. We hire a good team, then train and trust.” (more…)

Timber Frame Company Builds Their Own New Home

August 27, 2019

TimberHomesVermont Success Story, by Amanda Kuhnert –

TimberHomes Vermont, a design-build timber frame company, had been in business over a decade when the owners decided it was time to build on their success. First, they decided to transition from an LLC to an employee-owned cooperative, giving more decision-making power to their team of dedicated employees. Then they began planning for their next stage of business growth.

Partners Josh Jackson and David Hooke founded TimberHomes in 2005 after working together at the Mountain School in Vershire, teaching high school students to timber frame using only hand tools. The company’s third partner, Timo Bradley, signed on shortly thereafter.

In 2017, after 15 years of constructing custom barns, homes, pavilions and trailhead kiosks, the partners decided it was time to build something for themselves. They needed a facility that would serve as a space to welcome clients and showcase their work, as well as a larger shop to enable them to build year-round. With the second shop, they would also be able to expand their capacity, hiring a number of new employees in the process. (more…)

Assistance from Arkansas SBTDC Helps Faithful Cuts Obtain Microloan, Plan for Future

August 13, 2019

Success Story: Arkansas –

Faithful Cuts Lawn CareOne way to know spring has arrived is the familiar whir of lawn mowers. The sound is music to the ears of the Sabbs family.

Faithful Cuts Lawn Care Etc. LLC is their family-owned and operated lawn care and ground maintenance company. The business was started by Leon Sabbs of Little Rock, who has 30 years of landscaping experience.

Leon and his son, Gabriel Sabbs, worked with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) to organize the business and secure a FORGE microloan last fall to prepare for the 2019 season, and now they are “heading into it at full throttle,” said Gabriel.

“The 2019 season focus will be on building and maintaining our brand and truly building a client network. We want to expand our business to bigger heights and focus on job creation, while not compromising our quality of service,” he said. (more…)

Retired? This Pharmacist Is Proof You Can Start A Business Later in Life

July 30, 2019

Success Story: West Virginia –

Walter Moore, RxbyTelAfter a successful career as a pharmacist, Walter Moore should be playing a round of golf right about now. But you won’t find him on the greens, decked out in Titleist apparel and celebrating retirement with a victory cigar. Instead, he’ll go to work on Monday, put on his white coat and spend his morning filling prescriptions behind the counter at his pharmacy.

“I was retired for seven years and I would look back on my time as a pharmacist and see how much I took it for granted,” Moore, 70, said. “I’ve got a new outlook on life.”

For many, retirement is something to look forward to. After all, isn’t the American dream enjoying the fruits of your labor in your later years after a prosperous career? For Moore, retirement was pleasant, but ultimately felt hollow.

“You have to find something to do with your life. I just assume keep working and take chances,” Moore said. “I’m so grateful that I’m a pharmacist. I got tired of saying I used to be one. Now that I’m back, I really appreciate every customer who comes through the door. It’s been energizing to come back to work.” (more…)

Integrative Medical Center Opens

July 23, 2019

Success Story: Illinois –

Infinite Wellness logoInfinite Wellness Integrative Medical Center owner Dr. Ryan Cleland worked with the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to successfully open his newest wellness center in Glen Carbon.

Cleland has been in the medical and health industry for 13 years and has run a private chiropractic practice for 11 of those years. SBDC Director Jo Ann DiMaggio May assisted Cleland in polishing his business plan and cash flow projections to introduce Infinite Wellness to a lender.

Cleland is motivated by helping people find natural ways to live their best lives through nutrition, safe pain relief and tissue regeneration, bioidentical hormone therapies, anti-aging science, weight loss, proper joint and spinal biomechanics, and more. (more…)

Lawson’s Finest Liquids: From hobby business to thriving craft-beer company

July 9, 2019

By Amanda Kuhnert –

Sean and Karen Lawson
Sean and Karen Lawson, Lawson’s Finest Liquids

If you live in Vermont and appreciate good beer, then you’re probably familiar with Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Last fall the company celebrated the grand opening of its 80-seat taproom, retail store, and 30-barrel production facility in Waitsfield. What you might not know is that 11 years ago, this thriving Vermont-based business was simply one man’s hobby.

“I have had a passion for beer and brewing since discovering the joy of home brewing in college, as a student at the University of Vermont,” company founder Sean Lawson said. He homebrewed for about 20 years before friends and family finally persuaded him to begin selling his product to the public. In 2008, Sean and his wife Karen launched Lawson’s Finest Liquids out of a small outbuilding next to their house.

They started out as a one-barrel nanobrewery, and in 2011 ramped up to a seven-barrel microbrewery. This is when the owners reached out to the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) for assistance with their business plan and advice on financing their capital expansion. (more…)

Sweet success for two entrepreneurs

June 25, 2019

Success Story: Idaho –

Amazing Glaze Donuts
Dean & Katie Giesbrecht, Owners, Amazing Glaze Donuts, Pocatello, Idaho

Katie Giesbrecht was working as a barista for Double Shot Donuts when the owners of the shop asked Katie and her husband if they would be interested in buying the business. At the time, Katie and Dean were both looking for new opportunities and decided to consider the offer.

They spent seven months working side by side with the previous owners, learning the business operations and working with the Idaho SBDC before the sale of the business went through. In August, 2017, the Giesbrechts reopened the business as Amazing Glaze Donuts.

When asked what makes Amazing Glaze Donuts different than other donuts in the marketplace, Katie and Dean both agree: it’s the recipe. The proprietary recipe includes real Idaho potatoes. “It’s a big part of what we bought when we purchased the business,” said Dean. Katie and Dean both spent time tasting as many donuts as they could before purchasing the business. “We tried everything from vegan to whole wheat. Nothing tastes as good as these.” (more…)