America’s SBDC Blog

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Irie’s Island Food!

July 13, 2021
Success Story: Del Mar College SBDC –

Irie's Island FoodNicole Horton and Martin Frannea, owners of Irie’s Island Food in Port Aransas, Texas, were getting ready to expand their business to a larger location as part of a 3-year recovery plan following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Then COVID-19 happened.

Prioritizing employee and customer safety, Irie’s Island Food closed its doors for nearly three months, even after limited service was permitted in Texas. When they did reopen, they experienced an overwhelming surge of vacationing customers. To keep everyone safe, they again closed the interior restaurant and offered outside and curbside service only, until they could safely re-open. Through the rest of 2020, and with much commitment and sacrifice, Nicole and Martin continued to focus on the safety of their employees and customers and keeping the business going. In January, 2021, they were able to relocate to their new, larger location, and double their workforce. (more…)

America’s SBDCs Publish Annual Report after a Challenging Year

February 8, 2021

Annual ReportServing more than half a million small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in Fiscal Year 2020, America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) rose to the occasion during a time of unprecedented challenges.

From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, America’s SBDCs were on the job. Providing free, one-to-one business consulting and free or at-cost business training, SBDC consultants, trainers and staff helped America’s small businesses — and the communities they serve — adapt and survive.

As one SBDC client described it, “I was trying to keep it together but panicking! Then a friend recommended I talk with the Alabama SBDC. I talked to my advisor an hour and a half the first time I called her. She was also a small business owner and knew what a state of mind I was in. She has ended up advising me on every step and has even kept me ahead of the game, giving me information as she learns it.” — small business owner and chef Yanni Tempelis, who worked with her local SBDC to secure PPP funds and help save her business. The America’s SBDC Annual Report showcases the work of the 62 state and regional SBDCs that form America’s nationwide network of SBDCs. Click To Tweet

From helping small businesses address the Covid-19 crisis to serving America’s veterans, women-owned businesses, underserved communities and young entrepreneurs, to promoting technology development, exports and rural development, America’s SBDCs show why they are America’s largest and most trusted network of small business assistance providers. (more…)

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…)