Backpacking for Entrepreneurial Success

Heather Kelly, owner of Heather's Choice Meals for Adventuring in Anchorage, Alaska

Situation

Being a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and nutritionist, Heather Kelly identified a need for high-quality backpacking food in Alaska and beyond. She founded Heather’s Choice Meals for Adventuring in 2014 to provide healthy dehydrated backpacking food for outdoor adventurers. As a new entrepreneur, however, she had many questions about running a business.

Solution

After starting her business, Kelly came into contact with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and scheduled an appointment with a business counselor. She explained that SBDC mentoring was always just a phone call away. “When things get too perplexing, it’s nice being able to call someone to talk you through it,” she said. As Heather’s Choice grows, Kelly is also considering an SBA loan to help buy the business its own commercial kitchen to expand production.

Impact

During the past three years, sales have increased from $15,000 in the first year to $95,000 per month. Kelly has grown the business from just herself and now employs three full-time employees and one part-time employee. Her business continues to grow and utilize SBA programs and services.

From the owner

“Lots of people like to give advice but not all of that advice is actually good,” Kelly said. “Surrounding yourself with people who have ‘been there and done that’ is essential.”

For more information

Small Business Guide: www.sba.gov/business-guide

Alaska SBDC: www.aksbdc.org

SBA Business Loans: www.sba.gov/loans-grants  

Company Name: 
Heather’s Choice Meals for Adventuring
Location: 
Anchorage, Alaska