Success Stories

Client Success Stories

The Mustard Seed Bookstore – Bath, Maine

The Mustard Seed - Bookstore

Six years ago, Julie and Mike Shea approached Maine SBDC with a dream. They wanted to purchase a small bookstore in downtown Bath. They reached out to Brad Swanson, a business advisor at the Maine SBDC at CEI, for assistance in developing a business plan and financing proposal.

Julie and Mike worked diligently with Brad to make sure each aspect of the plan was carefully thought through and that the financial projections were realistic and obtainable. Securing the financing they needed, the couple opened their dream business, The Mustard Seed Bookstore, in February 2015.Read More

Illuminated Me – South Portland, Maine

Illuminate Me logoSharon Herrick, business owner, modeling her jewelrySharon Herrick started her jewelry business Illuminated Me to honor the unique elements that define us. Inspired by history and nature, her jewelry is designed to help us feel elevated, empowered and adored. Each piece of jewelry is locally sourced and intricately created by hand. Sharon has collaborations with Anthony Manfredonia, a New York-based luxury fashion brand, and Venn + Maker, an online retail business that features carefully curated handmade goods.Read More

Dandelion Catering – Yarmouth, Maine

Dandelion Catering Logo

For ten years, Dandelion Catering has been providing fresh, quality prepared food that celebrates the local resources that Maine and New England have to offer. The business had
experienced a surge in growth due to their focus on top-shelf service and creative, attractive food offerings. Business the garrison Logoowners Christian and Christine Hayes had big plans to scale up the operation and reached out to Brad Swanson, business advisor at the Maine SBDC at CEI, for guidance.Read More

True North Beauty – Milo, Maine

True North Beauty LogoHeather Lux was disappointed with the skincare products on the market. She wanted a natural, effective, and luxurious product that would help her skin look its best. This is why she created True North Beauty.

True North Beauty is a blossoming skincare and lifestyle brand that utilizes the unique benefits of Chaga, a wild Maine mushroom. Chaga grows on birch trees in cold weather climates and is especially prominent in Northern New England. It is known for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and is dense in anti-oxidants. True North utilizes a patent-pending process to extract these diverse properties to create a Chaga Infused Formula™. The formula reduces acne and redness, helps with fine lines, boosts elasticity and collagen, and helps repair sun damage.Read More

Bub ‘n Muthas – Winter Harbor, Maine

Family of John Fuhrman, Owner of Bub N' MuthasEver since he can remember, John Fuhrman’s “mutha” had a real knack for cooking. In DownEast Maine, her kitchen skills were almost legendary. One day, after tinkering around with spices in the kitchen, “mutha” developed a special blend of spices that needed to be shared. The blend combined a Maine attitude with local ingredients such as organic blueberry powder, maple crystals, and even Raye’s Mustard (the oldest mustard company in America made right here in Maine).

Several bottles of rub on a treeThis is how John’s company Bub ‘n Muthas was started and their first product DownEast Dinnah (pronounced dinn-uh) Dust was created. The company later their Honey n’ HEAT flavor which added other varieties with honey crystals and chipotle to the mustard and blueberry. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, John loves every minute of creating, mixing, bottling and sharing his family’s classic Maine gourmet dry rubs.

He is working with Shannon Byers, Business Advisor at Maine SBDC at CEI, to expand his business. They have worked on his business plan and discussed ways to grow his web sales and retail locations.  Bub ‘n Muthas are looking to grow so he can hire other talented Veterans from the area so they can earn a quality living, get training and keep their families in Maine. For every 10,000 bottles they sell, they plan to offer an area veteran a job. More info on this initiative here.

Collage with rubs and food made with themJohn adds: “If you’d like a real taste of Maine, give us a try and I promise not to disappoint you.” 


Business Advisor: Shannon Byers 

​For more information on this growing Maine business, visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!

Science Dogs of New England – Ellsworth, Maine

Science of Dogs of New England - Logo Lindsay Ware has a passion for wildlife and conservation. That is why she started Science Dogs of New England. This new business creates opportunities and solutions for conservation and environmental research in New England using highly trained dogs for efficient, low-impact data collection and conservation processes.

Lindsay Ware and DogLindsay worked with Shannon Byers, a business advisor at the Maine SBDC hosted by CEI, to help her think through her idea, understand her market and work through the steps of starting a business. They discussed her branding and marketing message including logo design, website, and attire.  They also worked together to review her processes and operations.

Lindsay Ware and Dog workingDog detecting, Science Dogs of New EnglandScience Dogs of New England officially launched in 2019. They supply scent detection teams to conservation and research organizations such as government agencies, private organizations, and educational institutions. Each highly-trained dog is accompanied by a handler that is not only skilled in working with their canine partner but is also an experienced field biologist.

Dog from Science Dogs of New EnglandTheir dogs are trained in scent detection and physically primed for fieldwork. Their science dogs are prepared to tract and detect live animals, animal scat, egg masses, plants, and more. Conservation detection dogs have been repeatedly shown to increase sample size, cover large study areas more efficiently, find small targets, and have a low ecological impact on study areas.

Business Advisor: Shannon Byers 

For more information on this growing Maine business, visit their WEBSITE or follow them on Facebook.

Grasshopper Academy – Houlton, Maine

Business owner Lacey Clark, Grasshopper AcademyLacey Clark had been a co-owner of a successful daycare in Houlton, Maine for a number of years. From her experience, she understood that childcare in Aroostook County is extremely limited with most providers at 100% capacity. When she saw that another existing daycare across town was going to be closing its doors, she understood what this would mean for families and the community.

Happy baby, Grasshopper AcademyLacey made the decision to leave her business partnership and go out solely on her own. She wanted to purchase this existing daycare and keep the doors open. She turned to Josh Nadeau, Maine SBDC business advisor located at Northern Maine Development Commission. Josh helped her craft a business plan and accompanying financial projections. With seller financing and some owner investment, she was able to purchase the Grasshopper Academy. Located on Hillview Ave in Houlton, Grasshopper Academy provides childcare for children ages 6weeks to 12 years of age.

Children built a tower, Grasshopper AcademyA few months later, Lacey reached back out to Josh. She wanted to purchase the building where the daycare was currently operating. Josh helped her through the negotiation process with her landlord.  He again helped her to refine her business plan and create a set of financial projections in order to obtain a loan.

In September 2019, Lacey purchased the building. Since purchasing the business, Lacey has been able to expand and hire two employees and enroll more children into her center.

Child reading, Grasshopper AcademyLacy comments, “I can’t thank Josh enough for all his help. He has a great personality and goes above and beyond that extra step to help with whatever is needed.  While I was still working and trying to purchase a building, Josh and staff would drive to me to get documents and truly made this as easy and non-stressful as this could be. Thank you NMDC for making my dream come true!”

Business Advisor: Josh Nadeau 

Freckle Salvage Company – Winthrop, Maine

Nicole Stanford is the owner of Freckle Salvage Company, a business located in the Western Maine foothills that features unique vintage mixed with new home goods. Alongside her husband and son, she had been selling her products successfully online and at markets and decided it was time to expand her business. Her goal was to leave her full-time job and open a retail location in Winthrop, Maine.

Freckle Salvage Company, ExteriorNicole and Husband, Freckle Salvage CompanyTo understand her next steps, Nicole reached out to Raynor Large, business advisor at the Maine SBDC at AVCOG. Raynor helped Nicole understand the steps to starting this new venture. He provided information on the different business entities and insurance options. The pair also worked to get a better understanding of the business’ finances. They were able to build out a set of financial projections that helped her understand how much she would need to sell in order to stay profitable and continue moving forward.

Freckle Salvage Company, InteriorFreckle Salvage Company opened its doors in August 2019. Located at 129 Main Street in Winthrop, the business has received rave reviews. Reviewers comment on the amazing products (“treasures”), the affordable pricing and the friendliness of Nicole and her family with phrases like “Incredible shop & lovely owner”, “This is what the downtown needs!”, and “Awesome store with awesome finds!”

Nicole continues to work with Raynor to control costs, discuss new opportunities for growth and work on marketing strategy.

Business Advisor: Raynor Large 

For more information about this new Maine business, follow them on Instagram or Facebook.