Success Story: Vermont
‘Serial Entrepreneur’ Relies on VtSBDC Advising for Start-Up Support
A self- described “serial entrepreneur,” Caleb Magoon, knows a lot about doing business in Vermont. “I am always looking for my next business opportunity,” he said. And when he saw downtown Waterbury businesses rebuilding in the years after the massive flooding of 2011, another opportunity showed itself.
“We knew the community was hungry for a store,” Magoon said. And he delivered, opening Waterbury Sports at 46 South Main Street last summer. “I started this business because the possibility for a sporting goods store in Waterbury was a tremendous opportunity and something I had been looking at for a while,” he said. “Waterbury is a fantastic town riding a wave of momentum following its rebuilding after Hurricane Irene.”
The retail store offers a vast array of sporting goods and recreation products that rotate seasonally. In spring and summer products include bikes and accessories, lacrosse, baseball, soccer and disc golf products, among other things. In winter, the store focuses on alpine and cross country ski products, as well as snowboards, hockey supplies, winter outerwear, snowshoes and more.
While Magoon has plenty of experience running businesses, he still relies on Vermont Small Business Development Center business advisors for advice. This time, Magoon worked with Regional Advisor Charley Ininger. “I, like most business owners, know that bouncing ideas off smart people is a great way to make things happen,” Magoon said. “”Anytime I am bouncing around a new business idea I call Charley (Ininger).”
“We needed to know what we didn’t know. Charley (Ininger) was great about helping me fill in the gaps,” Magoon said, adding that the hardest part of starting the business was setting forth financial projections. “Charley (Ininger) helped us figure out what levels of growth the banks would accept year over year and what percentage we should peg for expenses. We had great ideas of where to start, but he helped us refine those ideas. His advice was invaluable,” Magoon said.
“First off, a lot of credit needs to be given to the state of Vermont for providing such amazing resources to business owners. Many people talk about how ‘unfriendly’ Vermont is to businesses and VtSBDC strongly bucks that assertion. Having solid, valuable, free advice at the other end of the phone is worth a lot to an individual like myself and really allows projects like this to get done … . I have come to rely on and value and access to great services that the SBDC provides my business. They are one of the reasons I love doing business in Vermont,” Magoon said.