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
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
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 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
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
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
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 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 all 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.”
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 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 www.bgoodbars.com)
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.
SBDC Baker City