“Not only did (the SBDC) give us support and encouragement during the planning process, (they) also offered first-hand knowledge and insight into operating a food service business in Santa Cruz.”
Artisan Ice Cream Grabs National Attention
The Penny Ice Creamery is an artisan ice cream shop licensed to make small batches of ice cream from scratch in house, featuring locally-farmed and organic ingredients. Chef Kendra Baker is a pastry chef who came to the SBDC in 2009 with business partner Zachary Davis.
They went to the Central Coast SBDC for help with financing and business planning for a food establishment. SBDC Business Advisor Keith Holtaway helped them with their business plan to better position them for an SBA loan with The Lighthouse Bank, and helped them with location options in the downtown Santa Cruz area.
The recession all but halted bank lending in 2009 and entrepreneurs were unsure if they would be able to start their business. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided Baker and Davis the hope for their loan application to be considered by the bank with the incentives ARRA provided.
Holtaway discussed their business plan in their first few sessions and suggested changes to improve their cost projections. They considered and discussed multiple location options before settling on the current location. Holtaway assisted in finalizing the loan package for The Lighthouse Bank. By the summer of 2010, the loan was approved and increased so that they could buy and improve the building, and the location remodel was completed following LEED best practices. Baker and Davis were able to employ 20 local businesses to complete the remodel, hired 10 employees, and they held a very successful grand opening.
The secured SBA loan was $250K, owners invested $40K, Other investors $60K. The business created 12 jobs.
The business opening went national due to a Thank you Video for ARRA to communicate their appreciation. It was completed in late October, and 3 days later the White House had the video on its Twitter feed as well as being mentioned in the Huffington Post. Congressman Sam Farr stopped by the shop, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel did a front-page story. By Nov. 11, Vice President Joe Biden called to thank the owners. The White House called again in January 2011, this time to invite the entrepreneurs to represent business owners across the nation and sit in Michelle Obama’s box during the State of the Union address. Baker and Davis were featured in The Sentinel again Jan. 25, and TV stations interviewed them when they arrived home from Washington, DC.