When Stacy Cooper, working in Boston, decided to move to Maine, she brought along her grandmother’s biscuit recipe and a desire to be an entrepreneur. After selling her biscuits at local fairs and the Kennebunk Farmers Market, her friends and partner encouraged her to apply for the 2013 Biddeford Main Street Challenge and fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant.
After Stacy made it to the second round, she reached out to a small business coach to work on her business plan and design some market research. When she won the competition’s $10,000 prize, she got busy putting all the pieces into place. She formed an alliance with friends and associates to raise the substantial funding required of the startup. She made contact with the Maine Grain Alliance in Skowhegan for her sifted wheat flour and identified sources of other Maine ingredients. Southern Maine Finance Agency (SMFA), who had been chosen to administer the grant, offered encouragement, as well as additional financial support. But still, it was almost a year before everything came together.
She credits SMFA of never giving up as they worked their way through a number of “bumps in the road.”
“At one point, when it looked like it might not work, the folks at SMFA were there to troubleshoot and act as a problem solver for us. This community has been very welcoming and we are just so happy to support them as they supported us.”