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Spokane Valley Sign Manufacturer Starts and Grows Business with SBA Help

Headshot of Business Owner

Marshon Kempf, President & CEO of Mountain Dog Sign Company

Situation

Marshon and Steve Kempf had successful careers in nursing and the United States Air Force. After serving as an F-16 pilot for 27 years, Steve retired in 2010, leaving the couple free to do whatever they wanted. They are passionate about helping others and were looking for a challenge where they could use their creativity to make tangible items that would create lasting impacts for others. In late 2011, they chose to chase the American dream of business ownership and started Mountain Dog Sign Company. With no background in business, manufacturing, or sign making, Marshon Kempf, the President and CEO, found she had a lot to learn about business ownership and creating a company that can withstand future hardships.   

Solution

Like all successful business owners, Marshon invested as much time and energy as she could growing her business. In 2018 she was accepted into the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, a free, seven-month entrepreneurship education and training series for executives of small, poised-for-growth businesses.

Impact
The Emerging Leaders Initiative gave Marshon direct access to experts in government contracting where she learned what contracting officers and general contractors were looking for and how to present information to win contracts. Now, more than 65% of her business comes from contracts she’s won through bids in the public works and private sector. Upon completion of the program Marshon had a three-year strategic growth plan, a network of experts, and a peer support group that she could reach out to for help, even during a pandemic. Marshon was able to pivot her business model during the pandemic to make essential COVID-related signage and products for other small businesses. Her Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan was essential to the cash flow of the business, allowing Marshon to keep her doors open and all her employees on payroll.

From the Business Owner

“If you’re looking for a secret to success in business, there isn’t one. You must have commitment, passion, dedication, and a desire to serve others. Keep your head down, work hard and do what you need to do to take care of your employees.” Kempf said. “Business ownership isn’t about the money, it’s about what you give to others and the impact that you have on the community.”

Company Name: 
Mountain Dog Sign Company
Location: 
Spokane Valley, WA