Val Parziale and Haley Bauman are two experienced dance instructors who wanted to offer dance classes for adults as an alternative to other forms of workouts. They saw a need in the marketplace when they realized that many dance studios in their geographic area only offered classes for children or classes geared toward professional dance, but few presented dancing as a fun way to work out for adults. They wanted to create an inclusive and welcoming space for people of all backgrounds to try a new and creative fitness outlet. Read More
Groove 207 – Biddeford
AWEN – Portland
AWEN; Family Recovery and Relationship Coaching, is an educational and counseling service for friends, partners, and parents of people with substance use disorder. It is different from most programs, as it uses a holistic experience-led approach. The coaching program offers support, education, resources, and community.
Founded by Brinn Flagg, AWEN is unique in that Brinn is an impacted loved one herself. Feeling the effects of her sister’s substance use disorder with nowhere to turn at the time, she sought support, strength, and knowledge by becoming a certified coach and counselor in order to share her experiences. Read More
The Nexus Arcade and Gaming Lounge – Winslow
Mark Blaschke and Nicholas Murray, the partners behind The Nexus Arcade and Gaming Lounge, wanted to create a place that brought the local gaming community together around their shared passions. They brought a lot of enthusiasm to the project but not much knowledge about the business side of things, Mark knew he needed help making sure he was doing things correctly and legally. He was seeking expertise from someone who already had experience running a small business when he connected with Maine SBCD at CEI Business Advisor Peter Piconi. Read More
CIA Cafe – Saco
In early 2022, Jamie Bissonnette and his business partner Duncan Taylor were presented with the opportunity to purchase CIA Cafe (pronounced see-ya), a successful coffee, sandwich and art shop located in Saco. With tons of food and beverage business management experience, Jamie decided it was time to take a chance and step out on his own, but he needed financing. His lender recommended that he reach out to Anne Lancaster, Maine SBDC business advisor at the University of Southern Maine.
As first-time business owners, Jamie and Duncan wanted to be as thorough as possible in making sure this new-to-them venture would be successful. They worked with Anne to perfect their business plan. They went through each section of the narrative and focused heavily on the accompanying financials. In just a couple of weeks, they were ready to submit their plan to Bangor Savings Bank. Read More
Aegir’s Den Meadery – Palermo
Mark and Carrie Mancini both come from families familiar with fermentation and preserving, but a friendly competition leading to the accidental brewing of a honey mead made Aegir’s Den Meadery possible!
After nearly a decade of experimenting and testing different meads with friends and family encouraging them, they opened their Pittsfield storefront in 2019 and gained some good traction prior to the COVID shutdowns. They had a strong brand and partnerships with a local winery for bottling space and were being distributed throughout the Bangor and Portland area.
They connected with the Maine SBDC as they were getting ready to expand last year. They needed to grow in order to keep up with production and that meant they were also going to need capital to hire more employees and purchase additional equipment. Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Peter Piconi was able to work with Mark and Carrie to understand their capital needs and provided resources that helped identify the best avenue to pursue. Together they developed financial forecast worksheets and reviewed the business plan so they could understand how grants or traditional lending would fit into their plan. Read More
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. Read More
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
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
Success 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
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