600 lb gorilla’s history of success, dynamic business strategy, and commitment to their customers and community is nearly as impressive as the innovative and incredibly delicious treats they provide to countless happy customers. From their kitchen table in Duxbury to Puerto Rico, Hawaii and everywhere in between, Paula White and her and her husband Chris took their ingenuity and passion for premium food and created a thriving business.
600 lb gorillas develops and sells all natural frozen desserts in supermarkets and club stores across the country. Their products include premium all natural ready to bake cookie dough and ice cream sandwiches.
In 1999 Paula and Chris saw an opportunity in their hands – a crummy cookie they had just heated for a late night snack using refrigerated cookie dough. While other brands were cutting corners and seeking the most affordable ingredients, Paula did the opposite and has never looked back. The proof is in the batter and on their balance sheet.
Since 1999, 600 lb gorilla’s success has exploded. They started selling their treats to businesses along the east coast and have since landed promotions with Costco and BJ’s. While the company only employs two people directly, their contract relationship with their co-packer has resulted in increased shifts and additional work for more than 20 people.
600 lb gorilla’s late night dream became a reality with the help of four SBA loans totaling $578,700.
Along with most other businesses, Paula and Chris’s acumen was tested during the past three years. When the recent recession forced consumers to cut back, and in some cases eliminate unnecessary purchases, 600lb Gorilla stuck with what worked – quality and innovation.
Giving back to the community is important to Paula and Chris. Both are active members of their community and spend their time at PTA meetings, coaching youth basketball and a host of other important efforts. They’ve also contributed to Go Red for Women, the local Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and several other local organizations proving that their passion for quality food is matched only by their commitment to their community.
Going above and beyond, sticking to principles and seeing it through is never an easy task, but these innovative, hardworking, and passionate founders were able to take an idea shared over the kitchen table to stores across the country. After 12 years in business, Paula and Chris have proven that just like their namesake, the 600 lb gorillas, they cannot be ignored.
TANTARA Corporation has won a first-of-its kind Navy Contract specifically for woman-owned small businesses.
Tantara Corporation is owned and operated by Dawn Dearborn and based at 54 Mason Street, Worcester, MA and entered into the 8(a) Business Development Program on February 8, 2008. Tantara is a full service environmental and site civil Construction Company with significant federal and private experience with OSHA 40 certified personnel and company owned heavy equipment. They are a licensed asbestos contractor throughout New England and perform site work, site remediation, transportation and disposal of Hazard and Non-Hazardous Materials, thermal treatment, stabilization, wetland replication, facility and infrastructure, and demolition and dismantlement work.
TANTARA was awarded a three year $4 million Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Set Aside contract with NAVFAC (Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic) for Site Preparation and Demolition Services on Naval installations from New York to Maine.
“The program is another tool to help achieve the statutory goal that 5 percent of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses.” said Joe McGrenra, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic’s deputy for small business.”
Tantara has branched out into clean construction and site civil work. In addition, Tantara has performed hazmat abatement and demolition at Westover AFB for the Corps, performed concrete and structural repairs to a bridge at Barre Falls Dam for the Corps, completed erosion repairs to the channel outlet at Edward MacDowell Dam Lake State Park for the Corps, completed a river diversion and clean out of a 1200 LF conduit at Peters River in Woonsocket, RI for the Corps and performed dredging services for the Corps at the Union Village Dam in Thetford, VT this fall. TANTARA has also grown its services geographically this year by working under several IDIQ contracts for the Mobile District of the Corps at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. TANTARA has executed more than $4M worth of work to date at these locations. TANTARA is performing site remediation of approximately 36 sites on these two bases. TANTARA was also selected as a contractor for the HUBZone set-aside Multiple Award Remediation Contract (M.A.R.C.) for the New England District of the Corps of Engineers with a contract value of $10M.
Tantara recently performed emergency response for environmental services for the Air National Guard out at Westfield AFB and has repaired the spalled concrete in the arrester systems for the runways out there.
On the private side, Tantara executed master services agreements with NStar and several other utility companies for environmental and construction services. They have also maintained client relationships with engineering firms and developers that they have had for years, and even made some new ones.
Dawn stated that “most of the work we have won has been competitively bid, but a few have been sole sourced to us via the 8(a) program, for which we are grateful and thank you for all the help the SBA has given us.” TANTARA has successfully won contracts through several of the SBA programs. They have won contracts as a Small Business, WOSB, HUBZone and as an 8(a) contractor.
The Strategic Solutions Group, (SSG) (www.ssg-llc.com) is a woman-owned business located on 555 Amory Street, Boston, Massachusetts. SSG has a strong customer base within both the public and private sectors and has been in business since 2003. Jennifer Graves and John Schaeffer are the co-presidents and since 2008 the company has grown from 3 to 40 team members, with revenues increasing by 500%.
SSG is a service business which provides value-driven IT and management consulting services to healthcare, public health and public safety organizations. Whether enabling meaningful use of Health Information Exchange, or building immunization registries, disease surveillance systems, alerting networks and resource management systems, SSG has made significant contributions to help protect and improve the health of our fellow citizens.
On September 12, 2011, Boston’s SCORE Chapter 20 office awarded Strategic Solutions Group the 2011 SCORE Small Business of the Year Award at their annual meeting.
A very successful business, SSG first approached the Boston SCORE office in September 2009 seeking guidance in planning and executing strategies for future growth. SCORE conducted joint counseling whereby two counselors – one with marketing/operations experience and a second with an information technology background - met regularly with SSG principals.
Jennifer Graves had this to say about the SCORE organization:
“After listening to all the advice, expertise and wisdom that our SCORE counselors provide, we walk away from our meetings more confident in our plans and our decisions. Courage, passion and execution are essential for us – our SCORE counselors are an outlet and sounding board which fuel all three.”
SCORE provides a regular review of all SSG’s operations and planning. It gives SSG an experienced advisory arm with an independent view of SSG’s activities and results, coupled with ongoing guidance about how to maximize their opportunities while managing the risks inherent in their growth strategy.