Success Stories

Client Success Stories

Something to Wag About – Ellsworth

Elissa Nally began working with Shannon Byers, Maine SBDC at CEI Center Director and Business Advisor, in 2019 as she started her dog grooming business. Byers was able to help her lay the groundwork for a solid business plan and financial projections, as well as offer a unique perspective as the previous owner of a similar dog grooming business! Byers advised Nally through the CEI Wicked Fast Microloan application process which led to the funding needed to open their doors! Read More

Frenchman Bay Oyster Company – Sullivan

Graham Platner was born and raised in Maine before he went on to serve 8 years in the military, with 4 infantry tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Returning to Afghanistan to work for the Department of State, while on leave he was able to return to his roots and got a peek into the world of oyster farming, working beside Jock Crothers of Waukeag Neck Oyster farm in his hometown of Sullivan. Crothers was looking to the future and suggested Platner take on the farm to see where he could go in the world of aquaculture, but it took some time for Platner to take the idea seriously and make his way back to Maine. Read More

Lucinda’s Day Spa & Hair Studio – Cumberland

Marissa Elliott has worked at Lucinda’s Day Spa & Hair Studio for nine years, both in management and as an aesthetician, and recently had the unique opportunity to step into the owner’s shoes, as the owner looked to retire. However, the transition itself – putting together financial projections, negotiating the lease, purchase price, and gift card liability holdover, and obtaining the commercial loan – was complicated, with many factors to consider.  She worked closely with Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Raynor Large to carefully think through her options and make sure the business was able to both handle its seasonal fluctuations and service the debt. Read More

West Maquoit Vinegar Works – Brunswick

Making our resources known and accessible to the small business owners of Maine is a goal of the Maine SBDC, so we love seeing our business advisors customize the help their clients need! We work with all stages of business to help them understand and apply our help. Like Brad Messier and Elizabeth Guilbault, of West Maquoit Vinegar Works, who have been making small-batch craft vinegar in Brunswick Maine, since 2018. Their vinegars are unique in flavors and focused on quality ingredients, many of which they source locally.  Their business has now become a full-time job for Brad who sought out help in strategically scaling up while still working full time. He connected with Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisors Brad Swanson who helped him identify marketing gaps, specifically with digital marketing, eCommerce, and packaging.  Swanson then introduced Messier to fellow Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Jenn Stein, who specializes in hospitality and food businesses, so they could dive even deeper. Read More

Ignite PI – Presque Isle

Clint Deschene began 2020 at MSAD #1 as their Business Manager. As a Rotarian and a staple Presque Isle community member, Clint was no stranger to Central Aroostook and the challenges and opportunities in the region. After a visit with the philanthropic Rodney & Mary Smith Family Foundation, it was clear that Clint would make a transition to formally serve the entrepreneurial community in Presque Isle. After several calls with community stakeholders, Clint got to work with Northern Maine Development Commission, a Certified Community Development Financial Institution and the host of Maine SBDC @ NMDC to create a new foundation and acquire the Northeastland Hotel to convert into a business co-working space and upscale lodging facility for business travelers. Read More

West Bay Lawn Care – Gouldsboro

John Davis was thinking about starting a business and reached out to the Maine Small Business Development Center for some guidance.  He began the business as a side hustle doing jobs with his tractor and partnering with another person doing lawn care.  Fast forward two years and John is the owner of West Bay Lawn Care and is running a successful business serving Hancock and Washington Counties.  Read More

Mackenzie’s Mannered Mutts – Kenduskeag

When Mackenzie MacDougal came to Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Alison Lane, she had a big dream! She knew she loved working with dogs from her experience at a local kennel and felt like she was ready to branch out on her own to offer in-home dog training. She was inspired by a mentor who started their own animal-based business with little to no actual business knowledge and felt like she was ready to take the same plunge. The fact that she had no idea how to start but was ready to hit the ground running only highlighted her true entrepreneurial spirit! Read More

Taco Trio – South Portland

Karen Rasmussen and her husband, Manny Peña, have been long-term owners of Taco Trio, a Mexican Restaurant in South Portland. The quality of their food and service have become a benchmark in the community and an ongoing reason for their continued growth. When they outgrew their first location, a perfect opportunity presented itself – as a much larger space just down the street, that would fit both their needs and the needs of their customers, plus some. Read More

Gathered Minds Media – Rockland

The most successful businesses are based on a problem that needs solving, oftentimes coming directly from the lived experience of the owner. For Branden Densmore, his journey through recovery and a near-death experience gave him the push to fully develop Gathering Minds Media, a coaching and consulting business for others in recovery who want to start and grow businesses. He also provides spiritual counseling to help people in recovery find and better follow their purpose in life. Read More

Rising Sun Adventure Tours – Bass Harbor

When we think about what it takes to run a small business, things like bravery, strategy and forward-thinking come to mind; many qualities found in our veterans and active military members. Kareem Dieng, an active Soldier in the United States Army Reserve, is an inspirational example of all three. Kareem wanted to combine his love for adventure, nature, and connection with his nearly decade of experience leading groups in the outdoors – from there came Rising Sun Adventure Tours. Read More