Success Stories

Client Success Stories

Kelly’s Place Learning Center – Presque Isle

Business owners near sign leading into daycare in Presque Isle, MaineShyla Pinette recognized a need in her community after having her daughter. Childcare in Aroostook County was incredibly hard to come by. So, after years in the medical field, she decided to purchase a struggling childcare business and make it a safe and welcoming place for local families.

For assistance making this happen, Shyla turned to Dan Umphrey, certified business advisor at the Maine SBDC at Northern Maine Development Commission. Shyla needed funding to purchase the business and the real estate. She also needed guidance on starting and running her own childcare business.Read More

A&B Naturals – Bar Harbor

A&B Naturals street sign in Bar Harbor, Maine Tommy Maruca and Jonathan Record are first time small business owners but long term fans of A&B Naturals, the natural food store they just bought on MDI! The couple shares a passion for a healthy lifestyle and products that are good for both people and the planet. Values they also share with the previous owner, which became apparent over the past 6 years, with Record as the Produce and Bulk Food Buyer at A&B Naturals. So when the business became available to buy, they thought Record’s personal experience in the shop and Maruca’s extensive retail management experience would make them the right team to take this Maine business into its next phase. Read More

Great Wave Sushi – Portland

White food truck with man inside smiling, Great Wave Sushi food struck with flowersSeeing young entrepreneurs launch a new business and develop roots in their community is one of the most satisfying outcomes for the Maine SBDC.  It’s even more exciting to help them scale up, grow and succeed. For Alex and Megan Herzog, starting Great Wave Sushi is the perfect example of how a new business with a fresh idea can take hold and and take off.

Alex Herzog started Great Wave Sushi in the fall of 2020 as a sushi cart after spending time in California perfecting his craft before returning home to Maine.  He quickly differentiated himself in the marketplace by offering a creative twist on traditional sushi with items like a sushi burger, sushi tower, and poke nachos.  By partnering with a local Portland brewery, he was able to offer up his menu to hungry beer drinkers and developed a loyal following and a reliable revenue stream. Read More

Yarrow – Kittery

Yarrow Logo - blue and white logo for Yarrow located in Kittery, MaineIn 2019, Jodie Curtis opened Yarrow, a retail shop that invites customers to be curious and explorative about what wellness can look like! Jodie has a background in retail, with experience in wholesale, product development, and marketing, which helped her understand the complexities of owning a retail business. But for her, the creative freedom of being her own boss has been worth the challenges!Read More

Cadillac Mtn. Summit Shuttle – Bar Harbor

The best business ideas solve a problem for their customers and Ellen Finn of Cadillac Mtn. Summit Shuttle definitely does that! She has lived and worked as a local tour guide on Mount Desert Island for many years, just outside Acadia National Park. A few years ago, the National Park System instituted a reservation system for driving up the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road, limiting access to this popular spot in the peak tourist season. Those who did not know about this new system, or those who made a last-minute plan to visit the park, were often disappointed to find out that they would be unable to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Ellen saw the need for a no-reservation, hourly, shuttle service to the top of Cadillac Mountain so their adventures could continue! Read More

The Frappe Shoppe – Brunswick

Frappe Shoppe Employees insideJamie Alexander fondly remembers working at the Brunswick drive-in restaurant, which her grandparents started in the 1950s. The restaurant was a staple in the community and Jamie began working there as a young teen, making milkshakes, frappes, and other drive-in favorites.  It has been her dream for a decade to bring that experience to downtown Brunswick and to contribute to the revitalization of Main Street. Focusing specifically on creating delicious frappes, a uniquely New England term that refers to a milkshake with ice cream, Jamie finally found the ideal location at 147 ½ Main Street. The small corner space had been vacant for a while and was perfect for her startup. She began renovating the space in the spring and summer of 2022, using her connections as a local realtor to find the contractors she needed. Read More

1 Earth Composting – Hampden

Katie and Matt Saunders stand with their young on in front of compost pileKatie Saunders, NP-C, is a primary care provider (or family nurse practitioner) and an environmental activist. Her husband, Matt Saunders, was a professional chef for over 20 years and is now a stay-at-home dad to their 3 children.  Their backgrounds in farming, food, and environmental activism led them to start 1 Earth Composting, a residential and commercial composting business offering subscriptions for curbside pickups of compostable materials.  They found that sweet spot within their vocations and passions! Read More

Sculpture Hospitality of Maine – Portland

Sculpture Hospitality of Maine logo, grey alcohol bottle silhouettes With teal and orange font reading 'Every Ounce' under a orange silhouette of the state of MainePhillip Badger has 17 years of experience in the bar/restaurant industry, working his way through each front-of-house position. And though he loves the bar/restaurant world, he’s not a big fan of the late hours so he’s spent the last few years consulting. Having set down roots in Southern Maine he’s ready to share his expertise with fellow Maine restaurant owners. But setting out on his own as a first-time business owner meant he had a lot of questions! Read More

Wears & Wares – Farmington

Head shot of Lisa Park LaflinLisa Park Laflin grew up in the Farmington area, left for a number of years but returned to raise a family and enjoy the mountains of western Maine. After a long career in non-profit management, she was looking for a way to combine her love for community, art and upcycling. Ultimately, this led her to purchase Wears & Wares, a boutique consignment shop that sells clothing, upcycled and vintage items, and offers workshops ranging from repurposing furniture to making jewelry out of computer parts! Read More

NKENNE – Portland

Head shot of Michael OdokaraMichael Odokara has one of the most important elements needed to succeed in entrepreneurship, a growth mindset! Having founded ESM Global Consulting, an IT consulting firm, he’s familiar with the need to embrace that sweet spot between curiosity and taking action. So when he decided to learn his native language of Igbo during the pandemic but was unable to find a suitable African language learning platform, he built one! That platform is called, NKENNE. Read More