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Arizona District Office Success Stories

Arizona District Office Success Stories

Caboose Frozen Treats – Thatcher, AZ. Wendy Skinner wanted Caboose Frozen Treats to be a real family business. The business owner had the family, but no food service experience when she opened for business in 2011. “We have three boys and they needed to earn money to go on missions for our church and to save for their college educations,” she noted. “We saw the need for a frozen yogurt shop in town. There was nothing like that in the Gila Valley. We had to overcome our fear of starting something new that had not been done before locally,” she noted. The Skinners did a lot of research and received a lot of encouragement from the community. Caboose Frozen Treats also became the only frozen yogurt shop to offer gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free options when it opened in a custom-designed caboose-style building that Wendy had built. “Everyone wanted to know what was in the red caboose on the corner,” she said. “We opened to great success.” With Wendy, her husband and their three sons as the business’ only employees, Caboose Frozen Treats slowly built a small but loyal following which included the students and employees at nearby Eastern Arizona College. Wendy sought the help of the Eastern Arizona College SBDC in August 2011, when she was in search of marketing assistance to sustain the initial grand opening excitement. “The SBDC really helped us a lot,” she noted. “We go to them all of the time now for advice and I wish that I had found them sooner. They are very knowledgeable, helpful and encouraging. We owned a different small business 22 years ago and we were trying to do business the same way that we did back then. The SBDC showed us the potential of social media tools like Facebook. Yelp, FourSquare and Twitter. They have really helped us move forward with our business.” The Skinners now offer family night promotions, frequent customer programs and have a social media strategy that has really increased their visibility in the market. Caboose Frozen Treats has a strong Facebook following and is developing a website. According to Wendy, the greatest reward has come from watching her children interact with the public and learn customer service skills. “We do want the business to get bigger and realize the full potential that we originally visualized,” she said. “It has exceeded our expectations in some areas, and still has potential to realize in others. Most importantly, it greatly exceeded the potential that we saw for our family to work together.”

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