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Wine House on Main – Kennebunk

Betsy Ross owns the Wine House on Main, a small wine shop and bar located in downtown Kennebunk. Since 2021, Wine House on Main has offered wine selections from small families around the world. With decades of experience in hospitality and the wine industry, Betsy shares the stories of winemakers, vineyards and regions with her customers to deepen their connections to the wines they purchase. Wine House on Main also hosts educational wine classes, paint and sip events, and wine tastings. 

Betsy heard about the Maine SBDC through another business owner. Dedicated to making her business a warm and welcoming space for the community to come together, Betsy reached out for general business guidance and was connected with Anne Lancaster, Maine SBDC business advisor at the University of Southern Maine. 

Betsy comments, “I can’t say enough positive things about how it [the business advising] has helped me and my business. It is scary to look in the mirror and see your imperfections, but Anne has such a kind and comfortable approach.”

Together the pair dove into various aspects of the business. They analyzed her operations and her historical financials to ensure that Betsy knew exactly how her business was doing. They worked on inventory management, cost of goods, and pricing strategy. They also worked on marketing strategy and event offerings, which have helped increase her customer base and stay connected with the community.

External photo of Wine House on Main's red building and large sign with logo and open flag.

The first year of business is always a challenging one for any business owner. Wine House on Main continues to evolve in a positive direction and Betsy is excited for the future. She comments, “This first year of business has been endless adjustments as I navigate through the seasons and just when I feel like I have it figured out, a new season emerges with new clientele needs. I love that I can execute my vision and watch how it positively impacts customers. ” 

She continues, “The advice and guidance provided to me in just a few months has helped me to shift gears and has given me tools for success. I do believe it saved my business in this first year and I strongly encouraged any small business owner to contact the SBDC.”

The Wine House on Main is located at 17 Main Street in Kennebunck. Open five days a week, they feature a carefully curated selection of wines from across the world. Visit their website at www.winehousemaine.com, on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/winehousemaine), or on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/winehousemaine/). 

Photo of the inside of Wine House on Main shop showing wine display, widows and small wall art.

Odyssey Event Designs – Portland

Rachel Johnson pivoted in college from Fine Art to Hospitality, which set her on the path of finding her passion in event planning! She worked her way through boutique hotels and luxury resorts learning as much as she possibly could and eventually started a side hustle while continuing to work her 9-5 job. She even used her lunch break to walk down to city hall and register Odyssey Event Designs! Nearly 5 years later, she was ready to pursue event planning full-time and was able to connect with Maine SBDC Business Advisor Susan Desgrosseilliers to help her take things to the next level! Read More

Multi-Level Marketing: Too Good To Be True?

“Work from home!” 
“Earn $1,000 a week working one hour a day!”
“Make money while you are on vacation!” 

Too Good To Be True?

Shakes, candles, leggings, vitamins, and makeup are just a few examples of direct sales products marketed as “start your own business” ventures.  With promises of top earners winning extravagant vacations and living a fabulous lifestyle, each year thousands of people flock to these businesses thinking they are an easy way to embark on entrepreneurship. Read More

Custom Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness – Auburn

 As a healthcare worker negatively impacted by COVID, Jennifer Frazier decided to launch her own physical therapy practice where she could uphold her values and create personal plans to help her physical therapy clients recover. Out of that grew Custom Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness, an outpatient physical therapy clinic that assists clients develop and meet rehabilitation goals. As Jennifer began the process of building her business, her SCORE mentor recommended Maine SBDC at AVCOG Center Director and Business Advisor Lori Allen as someone who could offer concentrated assistance with her business plan. Read More

To Purchase or Not to Purchase? – Penobscot County, Maine

black and white image of a person in a black suit on a white background with many Yes's and No's streaming out of their head into a cloud of confusion in the skySuccess stories come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes avoiding a bad situation is the best-case scenario! While Maine SBDC Business Advisors are usually helping their clients towards a traditional happy ending, they are often tasked with helping aspiring entrepreneurs avoid potentially damaging situations. We saw it first-hand this past year when Shawn Bouchard came to the Maine SBDC for help. Read More

Small Business Saturday Prep

Text wraps in a circle saying Shop Small - Small Business Saturday in white bold letters on a dark blue background, light blue store front graphic and the Maine SBDC logo This year Small Business Saturday is November 26, 2022! The day is dedicated to supporting and buying from small local businesses. It’s become a holiday shopping tradition over the past twelve years and continues to grow in both sales and participation. But it takes preparation to make the best of the day! Below you’ll find resources that provide suggestions for getting involved and for supporting small businesses! Read More

Snow Dogs – Camden

 If you’ve ever visited Camden you’ll know there is a little something for everyone, food, shopping and outdoor adventures! It also has the only ocean view from a ski area on the Eastern Seaboard at Camden Snow Bowl! Another thing you’ll only find at Camden Snow Bowl, Snow Dogs! Jason Doppelt’s food stand opened last winter and was a “frying” success and now he’s gearing up for another season! Read More

Black Bear Mobile Maintenance – Harrison

Black Bear Maintenance Logo, includes black lettering with a graphic wrench. One side of the wrench cleats are in the shape of a black bear  Jonathan Daggett of Black Bear Mobile Maintenance is a military veteran with the ability to repair everything from small engines to helicopters! Through his years of working experience at a tractor repair shop, he saw an opportunity to (quite literally) serve customers where they are at. Read More

Preventing Partnership Pitfalls: Part 3

Preventing Partnership Pitfalls: Best Practices

Blue cut out paper people giving each other a high five on a blue to black gradient backgroundSo… you and your best friend, brother, or spouse want to go into business together? Of course, you agree on everything right now, but what happens when you don’t? In many cases being realistic and pragmatic can be the kindest, mostly loving thing you can do for your partner and yourself.

Our very own Maine SBDC Business Advisor Chris Cole has personal experience with a scenario that ended very differently than she thought it would. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for the full picture! 

Part 3

Vision: Each person comes into a business with different personal goals and ideas on how to run the operation. It is important from the start to have an honest discussion regarding your vision for the business. Why do you want to go into business together? What complementary skills do you each bring to the business? Do you want to have a small operation or scale-up? Does your partner want the same things? Read More

Campfire Booking – Windham

 Campfire Booking Photo of Owners, Mandy Caruso and Ashley Hanson standing in front of Sebago LakeWhile the Covid-19 pandemic caused a large-scale economic disruption for most small businesses, it also fueled a historic surge in entrepreneurship. According to the US Census Bureau, new business starts in 2021 were the highest on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2020. 

For good friends Mandy Caruso and Ashley Hanson, the pandemic provided the impetus they needed to leave their careers in teaching and disability insurance. Combined with a background in hotel revenue management they knew they could follow their dream of opening a vacation rental business in the Lakes region of Maine.  As homeowners and real estate investors on Sebago Lake themselves, Mandy and Ashley each bring a deep knowledge of the area and an understanding of the level of service that homeowners are looking for from a rental management company. Their value proposition is to offer a more modern and tech-focused marketing and management program, along with a higher level of hands-on service than is currently being offered by competitors in the area. Read More