The Lander Group, Westbrook , Bangor
Philip A. Lander served as a traditional Guardsman with the Maine Air National Guard while working full time for Sargent Corporation, formally H.E. Sargent, Inc. He was recalled to active duty numerous times for Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and concluding duty during Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
Lander then turned his attention to building Atlantic Defense Company (ADC), a general construction company able to win contracts set aside for service-disabled veterans. Lander spent many hours with his Maine SBDC counselor, Tom Gallant, brainstorming on organizational, strategic and legal topics.
Years were spent learning how the system worked and building the partnerships, capabilities, capacity and the competitive edge needed to win. Lander partnered with Maine companies that could bring the best value to each project. A mentor-protégé relationship with Lane Construction Corporation, the seventh largest civil-heavy highway construction company in the country, continues to open doors.
ADC strives to employ and work with other Maine companies, counting among its partners some of the state's best known - CCB, Inc., Cianbro, Sargent Corporation and Sewall. Most recently, ADC was certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) by the Department of Transportation strengthening its corporate capabilities and competitiveness.
In 2010, Lander was named Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for Maine and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He encourages returning service members to look into business opportunities in government contracting and to meet with a Maine SBDC business counselor.
Fred Warner - AWEVATOR by Awesome
The AWEVATOR is a space-saving elevating rolling shelf system for residential or business use. With the push of a button, each shelf lifts up to 200 lbs to store items such as mowers, power washers, generators and snow blower out of the way until needed again. Safety pins ensure the shelf is not accidentally pulled. To operate, put elevator in position to store, pull out the clevis pins, flip the angle arms out and down, and voila it's out of the way!
Jerry Palmer - Jerry's Towing, DBA Jerry's Auto & Cycle Repair
Jerry Palmer owns and operates Jerry's Towing, DBA Jerry's Auto & Cycle Repair at 78 Houlton Road in Presque Isle. A military veteran, he's been in business since 1991 and has always had a keen eye for smart ways to diversify and grow his business. He is sure that the key to the success of his business is giving better customer service than anyone else, and the repeat customers and large number of referrals he sees is a testament to this. Jerry spent some time with us discussing how he started his business and how he has weathered the ups and downs of the economy over the past 20 years.
Ruby Moon, Casco
If necessity is the mother of invention, then Ruby Moon was undoubtedly such a creation. Frustrated by the effect of traditional cloth diaper detergents on their baby daughter, Doug and Lyndsay Sanborn began experimenting with making one on their own. Months of research and laundry were rewarded when they stumbled on the ideal formula – gentle on their baby daughter, yet effective and environmentally safe.
When friends encouraged the Sanborns to start a business, they took the proposition to John Sanders and Tom Leach at the Maine SBDC. Making detergent for personal use and sharing with a few friends is a far cry from manufacturing, managing and distributing a product. They worked on legal entity questions, tax issues, accounting systems, Quickbooks, Paypal and online sales. They brought in Don Gooding from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development as the group continued to work on permit questions, manufacturing regulations, insurance and self-employment issues, and then there was marketing too.
To the Sanborns, "the Maine SBDC has been invaluable to the start up of Ruby Moon and its success. From helping with basic tax and accounting issues to strategic marketing decisions, the Maine SBDC has been behind us every step of the way. Not only do we have a team of experts available to us at no charge, but we have a fabulous group of professionals who believe in what we are doing. That, to a new business, is priceless."
The company's sales were up 300% in 2011, shipping about 2,500 pounds of detergent each month. Ruby Moon is sold online and at 35 retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Antiquity Tile, Hampden
For more than 19 years, Bradley Wiseman and Paul Spaulding have produced high-quality, ceramic tile available primarily to the trade. Wholesale companies, architectural and design firms, commercial and residential builders around the world have come to rely on Antiquity Tile's artistry, creativity and customization capabilities.
Featured on HGTV's Modern Masters program, each of Antiquity Tile's 800-plus designs is a carved relief made into a mold with details added by hand. Tiles are either hand-painted or dipped into one of 28 proprietary glazes and wood fired at temperatures near 2,500 degrees. The kiln is a modified 1,000-year old design that takes 36 hours to heat. The result - beautifully crafted, strong, durable and frost-proof tiles for pools, kitchens, baths, spas and fireplaces, to name a few.
The company is located on the Penelton Farm, a historic property owned by the Wiseman family for more than 50 years. Design, development, manufacturing and warehousing take place on the farm where a new barn also houses the company's first state-of-the-art showroom.
Baxter Brewing Co., Lewiston
Forbes' 30 under 30 - Food & Wine Special Report , featured Baxter Brewing's Luke Livingston. December 2011.
The journey began in August 2009, when Luke Livingston walked into Maine SBDC's Auburn office with the dream of making a craft beer in the Lewiston/Auburn area. He had a good business plan, but no money and needed $450,000. In June 2010, less than a year later, Baxter Brewing Company held a groundbreaking at Lewiston's Bates Mill Complex, complete with local television coverage.
What had transpired in the intervening months was a classic study in the evolution of starting a business - partnerships, financing, investors, lenders - and all the planning and sweat equity it generates. The assistance provided by Livingston's Maine SBDC counselor Greg Gould, also covered the spectrum, from the creation of the company business plan and financial forecasts, to branding concepts and strategic planning. Livingston was able to secure a $300,000 in investor cash funding, a $100,000 loan and a $200,000 line of credit.
Baxter Brewing will be Maine's first micro craft brewery to can all its product, initially offering two unique premiere beers – Pamola Extra Pale Ale and Stowaway I.P.A. Anticipated completion is winter of 2010/2011.
iBec Creative - Portland
Last year, BusinessWeek featured Becky McKinnell as one of the nation's top 25 entrepreneurs under 25. She then received the U.S. Small Business Administration's Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This summer, McKinnell was named one of Maine's Forty under 40 by Maine Today Media. Her team has grown from one volunteer to a staff of eight in three years. A web design and online marketing firm specializing in mobile websites, iBec Creative combines creativity with business sense. Savvy leadership, intuitive creativity and pragmatic thinking have helped McKinnell build a solid and profitable company.
A USM graduate with a combined arts and business degree, McKinnell knew she wanted to work for herself, but where to start? Maine SBDC business counselor John Entwistle helped point her in the right direction. She recalls having a thousand questions – cash flow, profit/loss, a workable business plan – who do you ask? The answer for Becky McKinnell was her Maine SBDC business counselor.
Custom Composite Technologies, Inc
When Team BMW's "Oracle" raced to win the 2010 America's Cup, few knew just how much Maine manufacturing was involved with the racing yacht. The mold for the two-hundred foot wing mast was carbon fiber and vacuum-infused in Bath at custom Composite Technologies, Inc. (CCTI), and carved by Topsham's Janseneering, LLC. CCTI celebrated ten years in 2010. A pioneer in advanced composite technology and application, the company creates customized, high performance solutions for industries and individuals with unique challenges. CCTI expanded to the architectural field where the malleability of composites combined with artistic creativity enabled the company to innovate and diversify.
Owners Steve and Maureen Hassett have worked with Maine SBDC counselor at CEI, Brad Swanson since 2004 who has seen their company grow into a uniquely
specialized and highly-regarded midcoast manufacturer.
NexStraps Inc. - Blue Hill
NexStraps were created around one simple concept; never lose your eyewear again. Jeff Wright, founder and inventor of NexStraps, was tired of losing his glasses and patented his neck-leash retention system. In 2008, he established the company and by April, Wright was in Ellsworth meeting with Maine SBDC counselor Betty Egner – "they have been helping us stay on the right course ever since."
Wright, both a former Force Recon Marine and Navy Seal, veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is proud to have been able to serve his country. 'Being a small business owner is so American' says Wright 'it is what makes this country great. We need to remember how important small businesses are to this country.' It has been a lifelong dream for the Wrights to own a small business and Maine SBDC is helping them along that path.
In less than two years, NexStraps have found themselves in the open market and were voted best new item under $50 in Sidetracked Magazine. Rave reviews have followed in Sailing Magazine, Inventors' Digest, Sea Kayaker and Sea Angler magazines.
Jeff and Kate Wright, continue to work with Egner, as they build NexStraps and their dreams of bringing more jobs to Maine, "the finest workforce in the world."