Success Story: Idaho –
Retrolux was founded by Leif Elgethun, a self-described serial clean energy entrepreneur and advocate for a world as a carbon neutral society. After building software and honing workflows that greatly reduced the time and cost required to sell and install commercial building lighting retrofits for a former employer, Leif decided to found Retrolux.
This company seeks to accelerate the adoption of market-ready technologies that decrease fossil fuel usage and toxic materials in the lighting market by providing software that brings products to consumers faster and cheaper than ever before. With his background in energy engineering and project management, the first major obstacle was learning how to build a software company. The next obstacle was raising the capital required to build enterprise-grade software and bring it to market.
The SBA and SBDC were very influential in Leif & co-founder Brett Adler’s preparation for pitching to angel investors and making sure they had the supporting documentation they required. Retrolux was able to raise $600k in May, 2016, to help the company build the software and get it to market. (more…)
Success Story: Vermont –
Two amazingly talented artists (Jessie makes exquisite jewelry and Michael makes eclectic furniture), plus a passion for their fellow Vermont artists’ works, plus an incredible shared eye for all things beautiful: for Jessie and Michael Alon that means not just one gallery, but two. One can’t contain their creativity and dedication.
Nestled in the quintessential village of Chester, Vermont, the downtown gallery, DaVallia Art Boutique, features Jessie’s work combined with arts and crafts from fifty artists. And on the way out of town, Davallia 39 North Gallery focuses on fine art, furniture and accessories for your home.
“Our business is special because we truly love what we do. We elevate all aspects of our business to the level of art. We display differently, we think differently and we care. By being both artists and business owners, we have the ability to apply our creative skills into our business plan. If you leave our gallery with nothing but inspiration, we did our jobs.”
Jessie and Michael say working with VtSBDC has allowed them to: 1. create consistency and fluidity in their message to their customers; 2. know more about employee hiring and training; 3. stay focused on the important things; 4. craft a better elevator speech; and 5. perfect a budget. (more…)
Success Story: Idaho
Rob 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…)
Success Story, Vermont SBDC –
In 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…)
Idaho Success Story –
After 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…)