Greetings from the North Dakota Small Business Development Network (ND SBDC, ND PTAC, and VBOC of the Dakotas)!
2021 is an exciting year for the ND SBDC Network – we’re turning 35! The program’s inception was in 1986 at the University of North Dakota where our Lead Center has remained and still operates from today. For the past 35 years, the network’s credentialed advisors have been empowering North Dakota’s small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. The program provides customized guidance and resources that help owners and entrepreneurs achieve their goals at every stage of their business lifecycle. The ND SBDC looks a lot different today than it did when it first started and will continue to evolve as times and needs shift.
As part of our 35 year anniversary celebration, we will be featuring small businesses from all around the state on our social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. The businesses featured will range from clients who were first helped during the organization’s very early years, to businesses assisted over the past year. To locate the posts, you can use the hashtag #35years, but we wanted to highlight a few for you in this month’s update!
1989 – The Flower House & The Prairie Bistro and Bakeshop
The Flower House and The Prairie Bistro and Bakeshop, both located in Mohall, ND, are separate businesses run by the mother-daughter duo of Judith Duerre and Sonja Duerre Stromswold, respectively. The Flower House first opened in 1968 as a way to supplement the family farm and began receiving SBDC assistance when the organization was in its fledgling years. The Prairie Bistro and Bakeshop, which started as a small baking business titled “Sonja’s Old Fashioned Delicacies,” before adding the restaurant side of business years later, has utilized SBDC services since Sonja first opened her business in 1989. Sonja shared, “Mary Beth Votava and the local SBDC have been a steady source of support, education, and advice since I started my business in 1989. I know how to bake. I did not have a clue how to create a budget, price my product, or read a financial statement when I started… We would not be here today if not for SBDC.”
1998 – Eastbay Campground
Eastbay Campground out of Devils Lake, ND has been a client of the ND SBDC for over twenty years. Quoted in a ND SBDC 2018 Success Story, owners William and Valerie Wood explained, “ND SBDC has been an integral part of our business, especially the office located in Devils Lake. Over the past 18 years, we have relied on the expertise provided by this office to acquire funds for the expansions to the facility. From its inception in 1998 through the past 18 years we have had 5 major expansions… Each of the times we have expanded we have contacted the SBDC to help with our business plan, financial projections, funding sources, and overall advice. Sandy at the Devils Lake office has been a tremendous source of advice. Without her assistance, we would not have been able to make these expansions a reality.”
2004 – Lonnie’s Roadhouse Café
Located in Williston, SBDC Advisor Keith Olson assisted owner Lonnie Iverson in securing loans so he could buy his business back in 2004. Today, Lonnie’s Roadhouse Café is a local Williston favorite, serving classic American food in a classic American diner where the community is just as important as the food. Of his experience working with the SBDC, Lonnie said, “I really enjoyed working with Keith. He is very passionate about helping small businesses.” Lonnie has continued to work with the SBDC in the years since his business initially opened.
2016 – GoodBulb
Tom Enright is using his business to light up the world one bulb and one smile at a time. After operating as a wholesale and retail lightbulb distributor in Fargo, Enright saw an opportunity to grow his online business by selling through Amazon and other online marketplaces. The ND SBDC assisted in developing his business plan and financial projections to obtain funding for his expansion through a ND Development Fund loan. Now Enright has turned to establishing and building the GoodBulb brand, built off of the phrase “Be Good.” They began this effort in 2016 by selling blue lightbulbs and giving 100% of the sales to the family of Fargo police officer Jason Moszer, who was killed in the line of duty. GoodBulb hopes to prove that a company can do well on their bottom line while doing good for others.
2021 – 701 Eateries
Fargo is getting an exciting and new restaurant this spring thanks to the innovation of the sister-in-law team of Shelby Terstriep and Britt Belquist, their husbands, Chad Terstriep and Alex Belquist, and their hometown friends Eric and Sarah Myhre. 701 Eateries is a new spin on restaurant dining with three different levels, each offering different amenities – such as fireplaces and shuffleboard on the roof and private event space in the basement – while being housed in a historic Fargo building, originally built in 1920 to house Acme Dairy. The 701 Eateries team worked with Paul Smith, Fargo Center Director for ND SBDC to secure funding through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 Loan Program. Paul assisted with their business planning and financial projections required for the loan application, “The business plan has helped us to create a road map for us as we start hiring and training staff and moving to opening,” Shelby said. “It was instrumental to us receiving an SBA loan… we would not be able to do a project of this size without it!”
As these businesses and their successes demonstrate, the ND SBDC has been doing good work for the small businesses of North Dakota for 35 years and we plan to continue that good work into the future. Be sure to watch our social media pages as we highlight other businesses that we have assisted over the years and as we provide business tips and tricks from our credentialed advisors!
I’m proud of what our team has accomplished thus far and look forward to the future. The Small Business Development Centers Network has grown from a small pilot program to a nationwide business education and training infrastructure with nearly 1,000 centers throughout the U.S. that provide management and technical assistance to over a million Americans annually! As our clients shift and seek new models and markets, we will shift and meet the needs of the changing business landscape in order to continue accelerating success for our small businesses which positively impacts the North Dakota economy. We have seen an exponential change in the last year to how we all do business, and we anticipate this new pace will continue. ND SBDC advisors are prepared to stay on top of what is important to our clients in order to help them reach their goals.
Tiffany Ford, State Director
And all the Staff of the ND Small Business Development Network