“I am eternally grateful to the North Coast SBDC for the help they have given our business every step of the way. Each time our business was ready to grow, the SBDC offered services such as business-plan templates, help picking out a point of sale system, or audits of our Web site. Our advisor is fantastic and we would not be where we are today without them.”
Organic Grace is located in the rural town of Garberville and offers home products and building supplies that are healthier for humans and gentler on the earth. The mission is two-fold; first to improve the health of their customers by offering non-toxic products as an alternative to the growing list of mainstream merchandise that contain cancer-causing and other toxic components, and secondly, to educate consumers and promote products that do not poison the earth. In-store sales account for about half of sales, with Internet sales making up the other half.
Organic Grace opened in 2005 in a small storefront, tucked in a back shopping plaza. After one year in business they had begun a Web site that took their sales nationwide, and local sales were so good that they expanded into their current location which includes a warehouse, loading dock, offices, and Internet shipping area. Their lease had an option to buy the building.
In 2007, they moved forward to buy their building and sought to secure a loan in order to do so. Talia contacted a Southern Humboldt Business Advisor for assistance in writing a business plan and developing financials that would be included in the loan application. SBDC provided templates for producing a business plan and financial statements, along with mentoring during plan development. The resultant plan lead to successfully obtaining the loan to purchase the property.
Since 2007, she has requested additional assistance from the SBDC’s Technical Assistance Program (SBDC-TAP) to select a Point Of Sale (POS) system that would also enable her to continue using a certified green merchant for transaction processing and one that would be compatible with her existing Web site. In early 2010, a POS system was purchased and implemented. Other assistance from the SBDC-TAP program was a comprehensive Web audit, and they are now reviewing the Web audit report to consider implementing Web site changes that could enhance sales.