Success Stories

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
SBDC Banner2
Success Story Dave's Diesel Technology
My lifelong dream came true because of the SBDC’s
help and support.”
— Dave Carter, Owner, Dave’s Diesel Technology.

Dave's Diesel Technology 

“I always wanted to own my own shop,” said Dave Carter, now the owner of Dave’s Diesel Technology in Milton Freewater. Dave had worked five years for the formerly named Wentland Diesel when the owner decided he wanted to sell the business. Since Dave had over 40 years of experience as a mechanic and his specialty is diesel engine repair, he was a perfect fit to be the new owner.
His wife Carolyn — an experienced automotive repair bookkeeper — was a natural to take over the position of office manager, the first employee for the business.
A business plan was a necessary requirement to apply for the SBA loan he needed for the purchase. Assisted by his Blue Mountain SBDC advisor, Dave put it all together with LivePlan.
Financing was received from a local bank and the SBA guaranteed the remaining portion of the loan. Dave said that the SBDC team gave him the confidence, the tools and the support he needed to buy the business.
Another job position was created when Dave added his son as a mechanic. Future plans are to expand the business slowly and continue to buy equipment on an as-needed basis.
Dave would recommend the SBDC to other clients who need help starting or increasing their business.

The Wisdom House

Success Story Wisdom House
Thank you SBDC as I couldn't have done it without you.
Thank you Jeff Nelson, for being so approachable and
believing in my dream on my quest to build a
successful business”.
— Veronica Johnson, Owner, The Wisdom House


Veronica started working with Blue Mountain SBDC Business Advisor Jeff Nelson in May of 2015. Veronica had purchased The Wisdom House — the oldest house within the Historic District of Baker City. It was built in 1878 during the gold rush boom by J.W. Wisdom, one of Oregon’s early senators, with splendor and luxury rarely seen during this era. Over 100 years of abuse and neglect had turned The Wisdom House into an eyesore.
Veronica fell in love with its character and architectural complexity and had a dream of restoring this treasure back to its glory. With a lot of hard work, Veronica’s vision became reality and in just one year the community celebrated the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. The Wisdom House has been a success ever since, with continuous guest occupancy.
Veronica has participated in several PubTalks and continues to take classes offered by the SBDC to enhance her business acumen, including QuickBooks and Social Media. She has taken training on doing a Community Public Offering and plans on remodeling the attic to make a sleeping area in the future.
The Wisdom House has been the venue for several summer events from weddings to family reunions to community gatherings and is a regular item on the monthly 1st Friday art walk that showcases local artists.
“At the very beginning of my venture I had the dream — a vision and the motivation — to create my business and make it successful. Very quickly I learned that there are many steps in making this happen. There I was, with a vague idea of what to do, not knowing what to ask or who to ask because as we know 'we don't know what we don't know.' As I searched for answers, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Jeff Nelson from the Blue Mountain SBDC, who quickly guided me in the right direction. SBDC’s continued guidance, positive attitude, and motivation have been a great support to my success. They have been there for me and my business through community activity involvement and networking, including ribbon cutting, PubTalks, and other promotions. 

Outstanding Computer Repair

Success Story Bogardus
“Through the classes SBDC has provided I have the
necessary skills required to run a business.
I thank SBDC for their support.”
— Dale Bogardus, Owner, Outstanding Computer Repair

Dale Bogardus became a client of the Blue Mountain Small Business Development Center in January 2015. After retiring from 25 years of military service he decided he wanted to start his own computer repair business. Dale started this journey by getting a two-year degree in computer science at Southwestern Oregon Community College in North Bend, Oregon. Then he went to work for Best Buy — Geek Squad Services remote repair department for two years, and finally, on to Comcast remote internet support. After gaining a great deal of education and work experience in computer technology, Dale began consulting with Jeff Nelson, Baker City SBDC Business Advisor. Outstanding Computer Repair was launched and he has never looked back. Dale found his niche with the motto “Any issue $40.00 flat rate.” Dale has expanded his network and has done an exceptional job marketing his business. This expansion includes providing our Baker City community with low cost refurbished computers, laptop screen replacements, and solid state drive upgrades. Dale continues to be involved with the Blue Mountain SBDC, taking classes that are offered. He also has been to almost every PubTalk, learning and networking with attendees and presenters. Dale has several posters and banners throughout our town and has become the main computer repair company in Baker County.


Baker City Vape & Theresa’s Treasures

Theresa's Treasures_1Theresa Ball started with the Blue Mountain Small Business Development Center program in January of 2014. She started a small vape shop in the back of another operating business on 10th Street in Baker City. Within the first six months she realized she needed to be out on her own and found a building on First Street with enough room to open a sub business as well, called Theresa's Treasures.

Theresa expanded into gifts and apparel for the new venture. The Baker City Vape steady cliental base gave her the opportunity to find little niches to expand Theresa’s Treasures successfully.

Theresa was one of our featured PubTalk speakers this year telling her story and her plans to expand and hire at least two more employees in addition to her current staff of four.

“SBDC has been a huge help from the beginning — three years now from when we opened our business to the community. I could have never done my business and planning without their help. They are so positive and want to help you succeed! So many unanswered questions that they were able to help me with. SBDC has continued to keep my business involved in all the local classes and community events. Thank you SBDC for all you have done to help me grow within our community!”
— Theresa Ball, Owner, Baker City Vape & Theresa’s Treasures

Baker Botanicals_1

“The SBDC counseled me on licensing, advertising, and
signage and helped me with bookkeeping. Gene Stackle
went above and beyond and I owe a great deal of Baker
Botanicals’ success to him.”
— Tammy Dowell, Owner, Baker Botanicals.

Baker Botanicals

Tamara (Tammy) Dowell became a Blue Mountain Small Business Development Center client in 2012 with an idea for a business to sell more local organic products to area gardeners. In 2013 she opened Baker Botanicals and has been expanding every year since — over the past three years she has continued to increase her inventory selection and her sales.
Tammy has now expanded into different types of gardening techniques from hydroponics to aquaponics. With the short growing season for our area she has been able to grow though indoor gardening. In this last year Baker Botanicals has started carrying landscaping materials such as bark, top soil, and compost in bulk. Tammy continues to look for possible complimenting inventory to increase her business.
Over the past two years Tammy went through several SBDC programs including GCAP Contracting. She has attended and participated in several PubTalks and has purchased two large pieces of equipment (a fork lift and a utility tractor) through the IDA program. Tammy has worked hard to make her business a success and is now at a place where she is going to add to her staff so she can have a little time off.

Eagle Cap Grill

Blue Mountain SBDC Business Advisor Jeff Nelson
was great in coaching me as to what and how to make
this work and was always there to give advice and
answer my questions. We are lucky to have this
service in our community.”
— Kristi Hensley, Owner,
Eagle Cap Grill Steak and Seafood

Kristi Hensley became a client of the Blue Mountain SBDC in May of 2016. She was looking to purchase a restaurant that was going to close and wanted to turn it into a fine steak and seafood establishment, so we began to look for loan options.
We went to one lender who would loan Kristi the capital but wanted too much collateral and the interest rate was higher than had been discussed. Then we went to our local Community Bank, but they could only loan up to 70% of the asking price. Next we talked to Northeast Oregon Economic Development District about some gap funding and with the partnership between NEOEDD and the SBDC, Kristi was not only able to purchase the business, but do a complete remodel! Kristi has participated in our SBDC PubTalks and is an advocate for our services. On September 23rd she had her Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. Kristi has hired 4 full-time and 6 part-time employees. She is making a difference in Baker City. Come to the Eagle Cap Grill Steak and Seafood for the finest steak and seafood dinners in Baker City.

Cheri Cook - Quilting

Success Story Cheri Cook - Quilting
“I would refer people to the SBDC because Terry
taught me how to start a business. A person
needs to learn what it costs to run a business
and Terry gave me the tools to do that!”
— Cheri Cook, Owner, Cheri Cook Quilting

I started designing my quilting business in my head several years ago. Then a year ago my husband was transferred to Hermiston and I had to quit my job to make the move. I was then eligible for the unemployment SEA Program and was referred to the Blue Mountain SBDC for help in putting my business plan together

I had no clue how to put together a business plan and it was way more work than I had thought but I knew it was necessary — I have watched other business owners go out of business because they did not have a plan. Terry Becktold, my SBDC Business Advisor, helped me with the SEA Program process and writing a business plan. I learned how to structure my business properly and how to go about marketing and networking to get started. With some money I had saved I was able to buy a little building to do my quilting in and a used long-arm quilting machine. I have since taken several classes and have quilted many quilts at no charge so that I could learn how to quilt professionally. I am now charging for my quilts and am starting to get referrals for more projects.

Blue Door Inn

Gaynelle Nielsen - Blue Door Inn

Gaynelle Nielsen has transformed her business in the historic district of Baker City into a high-quality bed and breakfast called the Baker City Blue Door Inn. The inn has four guest rooms, an inviting lobby and visiting area, and a traditional dining room where guests enjoy breakfast.

Gaynelle opened the Baker City Blue Door Inn for the annual Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally in July, 2015. She began working with Blue Mountain Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the end of April, 2016. She initially met with Blue Mountain SBDC advisor Jeff Nelson because she needed help integrating her web and social media pages and in developing a plan for online marketing. Jeff recommended several web developers in the Baker City area and asked another Blue Mountain SBDC adviser, Phillip O’Reilly, to meet with Gaynelle to discuss online marketing strategies.

A series of stunning, professional photographs transformed her website, accurately depicting the warm, inviting atmosphere of the Baker City Blue Door Inn. Additionally, she incorporated some suggestions from Jeff and Phillip to encourage guests to book reservations directly through the inn. These direct reservations save over 20% in booking fees — after subtracting credit card processing charges — on each stay. Gaynelle has also hired a part-time consultant to assist with managing her Facebook, email, and other online marketing.

These efforts have paid off! Business at the Baker City Blue Door Inn has increased markedly in 2016. Her reservations are up and revenue has increased significantly even after factoring in the September opening in 2015. The Baker City Blue Door Inn currently employs 1.5 people year around as well as an additional seasonal employee during summer months. Gaynelle plans to hire at least one other part-time employee in the coming year because of the increased workload that accompanies higher occupancy rates.

Gaynelle has continued to work with Jeff and Phillip to create personnel manuals and hone her internet marketing strategy. She has also signed up for several classes through the SBDC. Her goal for 2017 is to increase revenues by at least 25%. Gaynelle anticipates leveraging the services of the SBDC in the coming months to develop her business plan and begin the loan application process.

"I heartily recommend OSBDCN services to small business owners who want to make their business as effective as possible. No matter where a business is in its development, the SBDC has a service, a class, or a network to offer knowledge, suggestions, or alternatives for an optimum result."

— Gaynelle Nielsen, Owner Blue Door Inn



BGOOD Bars have a long connection to the small mountain town of Joseph, located in northeast Oregon. Back in 1984, Judy Goodman went on a hike in the Eagle Cap Wilderness during a break from graduate school, packing along some homemade energy bars during that first trek to Ice Lake.

Judy Goodman, Owner-GoodBars
“Since the infancy of BGood Bars, which
started in January 2014, we have seen
our sales double annually. Rick Bombaci
with the Blue Mountain SBDC has
provided me with important information in
areas of marketing and running a small
business. He has great ideas, and has
done additional research for me on
marketing, trademark and patent
information for my product."

Bhappy. Bhealthy. BGOOD.
Judy Goodman, Owner, BGood Bars

Judy went on to finish graduate school and enjoy a 20 year career working as a Fisheries Research Biologist in Washington and Idaho, often traveling solo along remote rivers to conduct fish surveys. She eventually moved back to Joseph, along the way living on a ranch, raising a daughter, working in a bank, and getting stalked by a mountain lion (and living to tell about it)!
Through all those years of experience hiking, skiing, backpacking, mountain living, cooking, raising a family, and working outdoors in nature, the BGOOD Bar never left Judy’s side. BGOOD Bars are artisan chocolate energy bars. Judy now has six different flavors: pistachio cherry, peanut ginger, nutty fruit, espresso date nut, cranberry hemp, and chia blueberry. (See them yourself at )

Judy says, “There is a certain ‘art’ to crafting BGOOD Bars. For me it is a sort of meditation. It starts with toasting almonds to make the almond butter I use in four of the recipes. The smell of toasting almonds in the BGOOD kitchen puts everyone in a good mood ...” The list of natural, organic, healthy ingredients includes dried fruit, honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and more. From mixing ingredients to coating with chocolate, the process, says Judy, is “a meditation in creating something beautiful. Bon appétit!”
Growing the business has been an exciting and rewarding challenge for Judy. In her words, “BGOOD Bars has reached several milestones in the past 6 months. By July of 2016 we had sold as much as in all of 2015, and sales continue to double over last year’s sales each month. With the help of Blue Mountain SBDC and the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, we have given PubTalks in Baker City, La Grande, and Wallowa. Each of these had good turnouts of between 5 and 20 people, mostly business owners.”
BGOOD Bars has raised capital through a statewide program called the Oregon Intrastate Offering (OIO). These funds have allowed Judy to purchase additional kitchen equipment, supplies, and more importantly a UPC (bar code) and new labels enabling her to reach larger markets such as New Season's Market in Portland, as well as smaller establishments closer to home. Currently, BGOOD Bars is applying for an account with Northwest grocery chains Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.

Burnt River Watercolors

Patricia Bradford - Burnt River WatercolorsPatricia Bradford (Patty) has always had a love for art. She has a particular passion for painting. Being born deaf and with a learning disability, Patty has turned her passion into a successful business. Working with Vocational Rehabilitation, Patty and her advocate Marilyn Parry learned about some possible funding for businesses for owners with disabilities. They were referred to the Blue Mountain Community College Small Business Development Center (BMCC SBDC) in January of 2015 and began working with SBDC business advisor Jeff Nelson.


Since joining the SBDC Patty and Marilyn have been participating in events and workshops sponsored by the organization. They have grown Burnt River Watercolors with workshops including Social Media Marketing, Driving New Business with Social Media, and QuickBooks. They have also attended several PubTalks and plan on being featured speakers at our next PubTalk event.

Patty and Marilyn have utilized tools the SBDC has to offer including GrowthWheel and LivePlan to apply for and receive grants from NEOEDD and Vocational Rehabilitation. Patty plans to apply for our local Soroptimist group Woman-owned business grant that will be available in 2018.

Burnt River Watercolors has expanded from selling Patty’s watercolor paintings of local historic barns to selling custom artwork, calendars, and postcards. Patty is participating in local art shows and has several pieces of her work on consignment at local stores in Baker City.

Burnt River Watercolors is a true Success Story. Patty with her passion for her art has overcome remarkable obstacles and is a true inspiration to all of us. Patty and Marilyn are an exceptional team and have shown that with hard work and seizing opportunities they have turned a dream into reality. The SBDC has worked with me throughout the process of establishing my business. Jeff’s direction and support has guided Marilyn and myself through the steps of doing business plans, financial statements, and numerous other reports. We have attended several SBDC classes that have been very helpful – especially the one on social media. I look forward to Jeff’s continuing support. If I ever need anything he is only an email away! — Patricia Bradford, Owner, Burnt River Watercolors

The Cell Fix


Success Story Cell Fix

The Cell Fix has been operating in Hermiston since 2015 and in La Grande since 2013. The business fixes cell phones and sells electronic devices and cell phone accessories.

Tim Hauner was the store manager in Hermiston and when the owner wanted to sell the two businesses he decided to come to the Blue Mountain Community College Small Business Development Center for some advice on how to run the business. Tim faced an uphill battle as he tried to get a loan for the down payment to buy the company — the owner was willing to carry a contract on the remainder.

Tim said “With LivePlan I was well prepared to meet with my banker and obtain a loan. My SBDC Business Advisor Terry Becktold helped me prepare for running my business with a step-by-step plan for purchasing and operating a new business. I would highly recommend that anyone starting a new business “Must Go” through the SBDC in order to succeed. Terry pushed me to meet deadlines and set goals even though I resisted. She would not take no for an answer.” — Tim Hauner, Owner, The Cell Fix

Mudgett Mobile Auto Detail

Cody wanted to start a mobile detail business in Pendleton. Possessed with a great work ethic, strong desire, and a million ideas Cody was ready and wanted to start big quick. Money from his college fund was used to go to Auto Detailing Training School and the sale of his truck provided start-up capital.


Blue Mountain SBDC Business Advisor Terry Becktold introduced Cody to LivePlan. “I love LivePlan,” said Cody, “because it helped me break down what seemed like overwhelming tasks into bite size pieces and forced me to complete each section. Before I knew it I was blazing down the trail and starting my business!”

Terry helped Cody keep his goals reachable by having him make a list of essential equipment and expenses that he then learned how to phase in and implement in a timely fashion. “She helped me make what I considered a crazy idea into a realistic plan,” said Cody.

“I have recommended the Blue Mountain SBDC service to many of my friends who have talked about starting a business or improving their business. The SBDC helped me take a calculated risk and kept me from jumping off a cliff.” — Cody Mudgett, Owner, Mudgett Mobile Auto Detail

Vigilant Adult Foster Care

Vigilant Adult Foster Care is an outgrowth of Jackie Gooden’s progression through 19 years in healthcare as a CNA, nurse, and administrator. While on this journey she decided the senior population was her passion. After the birth of her twins, Jackie was ready to make her dream a reality. When the unemployment office suggested the Self Employment Assistance Program she came to the Blue Mountain SBDC for guidance.


The SBDC helped Jackie take her concept and visualize a successful operation. Blue Mountain advisor Terry Becktold introduced Jackie to LivePlan. LivePlan helped with condensing the business plan and sharpening focus. Another tool introduced by Terry was GrowthWheel. This proved an eye-opener to all aspects of starting a new business and its operations. Now Jackie was in tune with what really needed to be done to open Vigilant Adult Foster Care.

“Blue Mountain SBDC advisor Terry Becktold was inspiring — her impeccable guidance provided a reality check for starting my business — she helped me see outside the box and what might be coming down the road." — Jackie Gooden LPN, Owner, Vigilant Adult Foster Care

Rugged Country Lodge

Success Story NadeemNadeem Akhlaq bought the Rugged Country Lodge in October 2017 after working as the manager of the motel for 3 years. Built in the 50’s, it was first known as the Pioneer Motel. It fell into to disrepair and was remodeled in 2004. Now it is a place that features a warm, peaceful, home-like atmosphere where guests become old friends according to Nadeem.


A friend of Nadeem’s suggested that he go to the Blue Mountain Community College Small Business Development Center for guidance on how to buy the motel. “My SBDC Business Advisor Terry Becktold assisted me in making an exceptional business plan with LivePlan, an easy-to-use software.

The classes I attended through the SBDC were very helpful when it came to my marketing and website planning.

Terry further guided me through the maze of applying for a loan, obtaining a lawyer for my LLC, and community networking. She gave me the strength and courage to talk to the business owner and convince him to sell the motel to me. To buy a business, as an immigrant in the United States for only 3 years, is like a dream come true. I believe that all the credit goes to the SBDC and my advisor Terry Becktold. Now me, my wife, son and a housekeeper are the employees of a small business.” — Nadeem Akhlaq, Owner, Rugged Country Lodge

Trailer Trash Coffee

Staci Picard - Trailer Trash CoffeeA Wallowa County native, Staci Picard lives in the Enterprise home her forebears built in 1899. An employee at the county sheriff’s office for over 20 years, she decided it was time to try some new ventures after a personal family tragedy. Demonstrating the pluck and perseverance of her pioneer ancestors, Staci set out to make her vision for Trailer Trash Coffee a reality.


Staci’s original business idea was to travel with her fiancé, Wes, to rodeos throughout the West – Arizona, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon – and sell coffee to rodeo participants out of the front end of a large horse trailer. She and Wes knew from first-hand experience that there was a need. They would seal the front part of the trailer off from the horse quarters and ride the circuit.

SBDC Business Advisor Rick Bombaci helped Staci and Wes adjust their plans. Learning the health department would frown on a coffee vendor sharing the same trailer with livestock, they opted for a separate, smaller trailer for the coffee business. Because most of the states they want to work in require licensing on a county-by-county basis, Staci said, “We are going to narrow down our working area,” to simplify the licensing. She added, “After we get this first season under our belt, we will re-exam how far I want to travel and which events I want to attend.”

Then came the long process of finding coffee equipment and retrofitting a second horse trailer to house it all. Wes’s many skills came in handy as together they designed a custom trailer, complete with a pink flamingo logo. Staci also had the foresight to work as an employee with friends who sell coffee in their business, so that she could get the details of coffee service down. “I am finding that the combination of drinks is crazy,” laughed Staci, “and with a small space to carry supplies, this training is going to be beneficial in knowing what flavors I need to have in stock.”

After a full year of construction and experimentation, Staci was able to announce, “I have FINALLY gotten all the bugs worked out and am able to make espressos!” Staci has been generous with her thanks to SBDC, saying, “Thank you for all your hard work, Rick. I am very grateful for all you've done.” But the truth of the matter is that it was Staci who stuck with her project and made Trailer Trash Coffee a reality! Trailer Trash Coffee — Staci Picard, Owner

R. Sorensen Construction & Inspections

My husband and I have started a home inspection business. I came to the Blue Mountain SBDC because I had applied for a VIDA savings grant and was directed to first write a business plan. I had no idea how to write one and I felt that it would be too tedious on my own. I knew which direction I wanted to go with the business but did not know how to get there.


My SBDC advisor, Terry Becktold, signed me up with LivePlan and it helped me immensely with getting the business plan done. It was simple and, after she explained how to use it, I got it done quickly and easily.

I plan on getting together with Terry again soon, as I know that I have just scratched the surface on all the services that the SBDC provides. I also plan to attend some of the classes offered in the near future, specifically dealing with marketing, since we just launched our website.

I have told many of my friends that are looking to start a business to get in touch with the SBDC as they are very helpful and have many great services. And by the way, my application for a VIDA savings grant was a success – I have been contributing $84 a month to the VIDA savings account and they match it $3 for every $1 that I contribute! — Rachel Sorensen, Owner, R. Sorensen Construction & Inspections

Wellness Wave

Tania Wildbill - Wellness WaveTania Wildbill took a “leap of faith” when she quit her full-time job to start her new business, Wellness Wave. Tania contacted Blue Mountain Community College Small Business Development Center and began working with business advisor Terry Becktold.


Tania had been teaching yoga for 21 years but felt like she needed to do more to help people not only feel refreshed and rejuvenated, but also relieve chronic pain. She did that by getting her certificate for Yoga Therapy.

She is also incorporating wellness of the spirit and mind by creating a new program called Dream Big which helps people see how to find their business and life passions by taking realistic steps of putting together a plan and implementing it.

“Terry helped me turn my visions and dreams into a realistic approach in starting my business by staying focused and keeping things simple. She guided me through each of the steps necessary as I put my plan together one step at a time. The trainings and workshops that the SBDC provided helped me stay grounded while I worked through the stress of starting my own business.” — Tania Wildbill, Owner, Wellness Wave


SBDC Website 

Phone: 541-278-5833 Email:

SBDC Pendleton
2411 NW Carden Ave.
Pendleton, OR 97801
Morrow Hall, Suite M-11

SBDC Hermiston
975 SE Columbia Dr.
Hermiston, OR 97838

SBDC Milton-Freewater
311 N Columbia St.
OR 97862

SBDC Baker City
2005 Washington Ave.
Suite 102
Baker City, OR 97814

SBDC Wallowa
Wallowa Resources
401 NE 1st St.
Suite 13
Enterprise, OR 97828