It was 2002 when Deborah Taylor attended SBDC's Start Right for Success class. One week later she met with Business Consultant, Bill Hitte. Deborah came to the meeting with industry experience, a business plan including researched startup costs, a tentative location and family support.
In their first meeting Bill Hitte learned more about Deborah's experience, plan, research, and intended location. Bill provided additional insights and considerations and gave Deborah some homework - the business plan was still in her head and they needed it in writing to fully communicate with prospective lenders.
Although she worked a full time job at the time, Deborah was determined and within 2 weeks she was getting additional research from SBDC to formalize the business plan. Two weeks later Bill and Deborah met to review the first draft - it was a good start, Bill gave suggestions for how to improve the competitor analysis, product pricing, and target market.
Within 6 weeks of their first meeting SBDC Business Consultant Bill Hitte and Deborah Taylor visited the proposed site and walked the exterior of the facility. Together they assessed the neighborhood, the curb appeal, the parking, and spoke with the landlord.
At the 4 month mark the business plan was ready after much work on Deborah's part and some coaching and guidance from Bill.
Now for the loan application which they completed together. There was negotiating of terms, and more than one lender was involved, plus SBA guaranteed the loan which was approved!
In spite of the tornado that ripped through La Plata on April 28, 2002, which did damage the roof and windows, the plan was fully operational now!
Bill has remained a trusted consultant through the years and together they have continued to discuss all of the components that went into the business plan in the first place as the business grows and some of those components change.
It's been 16 years and Charles Street Bakery has enjoyed some wonderful successes over those years. Just 2017 alone brought some exciting opportunities and honors. Deborah has a strong, stable, team of employees. Just in time for the 2017 Holiday Season the bakery was able to increase storage installing new freezer and refrigeration units with the assistance of SBDC's Bill Hitte and the Charles County Economic Development Department.
Charles Street Bakery and Cafe is located at 507 Charles St, La Plata, MD 20646. For information about the bakery or cafe, charlesstreetbakery.com/ visit or call 301 392-6344.
For information on the SBDC non-credit CSM courses designed for small business needs, visit www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/workforce-training/sbdc/. For information on the Southern Region SBDC and its services, visit www.sbdchelp.com.