The other thing that emboldened me to pursue this and decline graduate school was that I had come across Top Gun, I had come across the Maine SBDC. Because in November 2012 when I made the decision to pursue Blue Ox Malthouse in earnest, or with more energy and intention, I started talking to craft brewers, to people in agriculture, to farmers. I talked to business owners, too. I started doing a survey of the resources available, and through the Maine SBDC I was encouraged to apply for the TechStart grant from MTI and then I got plugged into the really strong network of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and that whole community. The other resource I took advantage of, and which provided emotional support and served as a connector, was Slow Money Maine. I had one tremendously amazing early partner named Steve Culver, who I met through the Slow Money Maine network.
That network of people gave me the confidence in the idea and the confidence that there was a support network out there that could help me realize it. And that was tremendous.
Often small business owners scour the internet trying to find information or answers. Often they resign themselves to hiring an accountant, and other times they call me up hoping that I can offer some wisdom. I work for the Maine Small Business Development Center in Portland, a free and confidential business advising service. More often than not, because I am not an accountant, I end up first guiding my clients to a wealth of information that can be found for free at the IRS website. Read More
Neil Kinner, a Peaks Island native, came into the Maine SBDC after spending a summer in Portland, Oregon. There, he had captained a pedal-powered paddle boat, and wanted to bring this unique concept to Casco Bay in Portland, Maine. New to Maine and New England, the business would feature 10 pedal stations with seats for four more and would be entirely human powered, with a small solar powered back up motor in case of emergency.
With idea in hand, he needed financing in order to purchase the boat, and bring it to Maine. For this he sought out the assistance of Maine SBDC Business Advisor Peter Harriman. Together the pair worked to create a realistic business plan and projected financials. They worked on his narrative, timeline, marketing plan and the many aspects required to launch this unique business – hoping for a summer 2016 launch, the peak tourist season in Portland.
David “Izzy” Izenstatt, founder of Izzy’s Cheesecakes, has been making high quality, hand crafted cheesecakes since 1985. Made in small batches, the company makes 37 flavors of cheesecakes include gluten-free and seasonal options.
When Izenstatt’s business partner Jim Chamoff came into the Maine SBDC, he was looking to expand the business. He wanted to start making and selling “mini” cheesecakes to convenience stores and Whole Foods Market. He needed capital in order to ramp up production, including design and packaging of the new mini cheesecakes.Read More
Melinda Metten does it all. A firefighter at the Bangor Fire Department and a boom operator in the United States Air National Guard, Metten opened CrossFit Bangor in June 2011. It wasn’t long before CrossFit Bangor’s reputation spread and membership increased, putting her at capacity in her current location. She had begun turning away business because to add new members would negatively impact the quality of service to the existing members.
Always a problem-solver, Metten had found a larger space that would be ideal for growing the business, but she needed financing in order to secure the location. Her lender at EMDC (Eastern Maine Development Corporation) suggested she work with Maine SBDC Business Advisor Ann McAlhany to help her with the documents and paperwork necessary to apply for a loan.Read More
Terra Olson worked for a high end salon and spa in Portland for years, but knew that there were other opportunities out there. One opportunity she noted was the lack of a high end salon south of Portland. She went to the Maine SBDC office in Saco and met with Business Advisor Steve Lovejoy. That was the beginning of Tulu Salon & Spa on Main Street in Biddeford. Olson worked with Lovejoy to develop the plans for the new salon. Read More
In July 2016, Todd Kent came into see Maine SBDC Business Advisor Steve Lovejoy looking to purchase XPress Copy, an independent printing and copying shop in Portland that’s been in business since 1978. When the current owner decided to retire, he turned to Kent to take over and purchase the business. Kent had been an employee for over 25 years and had been managing the business.
Lovejoy helped Kent with his business plan and financial analysis and projections for the purchase of the business. He helped connect him with Bangor Savings Bank, where he presented his business plan. Kent obtained his financing, and took over ownership in October 2016. Read More
When Colleen and Michael Gross of Verona Island originally came to see Business Advisor Betty Egner, they had owned their business, Verona Wine and Design, for two years. Already successful in their current format, an online business selling items made from repurposed wine barrels, they wanted to expand on their love for wine and wine-inspired items – they wanted to open a retail wine shop and a wine and tapas bar on Main Street in Bucksport.
The Local Variety is located in the heart of downtown Bucksport, a former mill town with new energy and life. When the current owners decided to put the business up for sale, Jessica Carter jumped at the opportunity to own this downtown café in the town that she loves. Although she had little experience in the restaurant industry, she had a vision for the store and sought out Maine SBDC Business Advisor Betty Egner for help turning that dream into reality.
“Betty helped me so much in areas where I really had no idea where to start,” Carter states. “She walked me through the bigger picture as well as many of the fine details, helped me with a business plan and assisted me in finding the financing to make this happen.”Read More