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Success Stories

The Ghost in the Manufacturing Chain

Sixteen years ago, owner Cathy Roberts started a custom manufacturing business in her basement in mid-coast Maine. Over the years Pieceworks, Inc.’s services have grown to include manufacturing, assembling, packaging, shipping, and research and development. As Cathy explains to prospective clients, "Our company tailors our services to meet your needs."

In essence, Piecworks, Inc. functions as a ghost in the manufacturing chain, working behind the scenes to fill production gaps for companies and businesses, often serving an integral role in helping growing businesses reach the next level.

Since its humble beginnings, Cathy’s company has moved into its own factory and now boasts a workforce of up to 10 staff who fulfill a critical role in the manufacturing process. Each new contract requires innovation and creativity, which energizes Cathy and her staff to meet challenges that stretch their problem solving skills and creative abilities.

However, with a depressed... Read More

Staying Focused on Growing a Wellness Business

Heather Beal Anderson has been a success story from the start: a young hardworking, ambitious Downeast high school graduate who earned a master’s degree in physical therapy in 2000 and then moved back to the area to work as a physical therapist for an established practice.

With 10 years experience and a large client list, Heather knew she was ready to take the leap and open her own practice.  However, with her usual foresight, she first met with the Downeast Business Counselor Ruth Cash-Smith in November 2009 to begin business planning.  Always a quick study, Heather excelled at writing a business plan, mastering the mighty cash flow projection every lender requires, and building relationships with referral sources.  

With a small start-up loan, Heather opened Coastal Physical Therapy Services, LLC in Harrington, Maine, on September 8, 2010 in a leased space.  As predicted, her legion of dedicated patients sought her out and new patients kept coming—in large part due... Read More

Maine's 2012 Small Business Person of the Year

In 2003 Michael Cote purchased the assets of AM Cannery, a business that was in the process of closing down and through hard work, dedication and tremendous enthusiasm for his business transformed it into not only a successful business, but one that is recognized worldwide and serves to represent the State of Maine.  In the nine years Mike has owned Look’s Gourmet Food Company he has succeeded in rebranding and revitalizing the business.  Through his creative vision he succeeded in rebranding and marketing his company’s traditional Maine products while developing new products to meet changing market demands retaining the jobs that would have been lost had the cannery closed and creating new jobs in Down East Maine.

Mike is a true “Mainer” born and raised in Auburn, Maine where he learned his strong work ethic from his parents who provided for Mike and his three siblings by working in the textile mills and shoe factories. He began working himself while still in school and... Read More

Pursuing Passion Leads To Successful Venture

In a leap of faith, Shanna Wheelock and her husband, a poet, moved to Lubec, Maine, in 2001. They moved into his grandfather's vacant home in a wooded glade, where they both found the beauty of nature and the solitude conducive to making art.

A few years later Shanna, who was teaching art in the public school, began to sell wheel-thrown cups, bowls and vases at her home studio in the summer. However, faced with a possible cutback in her position in 2009, she contacted WBC Downeast Business Counselor Ruth Cash-Smith to explore ways to grow her art business, Cobscook Pottery and Fiber Arts.

Meeting quarterly to review progress and envision next steps, Shanna has learned the value of business planning, goal setting and marketing--evidenced by achieving a sales growth of 100% in just two years.

"When I reviewed last year's accomplishments with my business counselor." Shanna said, "I saw I'd really forged ahead. I designed new products, improved my signage, kept the... Read More

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