SBA Funding Helps Husband and Wife Serve Ice Cream and Sweets in Western North Carolina

SBA Funding Helps Husband and Wife Serve Ice Cream and Sweets
in Western North Carolina for Nearly a Decade

Marcy and Tom Gallagher worked for over twenty years at a large law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida -Tom as a trial attorney and Marcy as a litigation paralegal.  Choosing to "reinvent" themselves in their 50's, they left their careers in Florida and moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2008 to open a Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream. As Tom puts it, "I wanted to serve smiles rather than subpoenas!"

The couple secured a $466,000 SBA loan from Comerica Bank for build-out, inventory, and working capital. At the time, there was just a hint of trouble brewing in the economy, yet the Gallaghers remained confident that a Kilwin’s in downtown Asheville would be successful.

As a franchise, Kilwin’s provides training for new store owners and on-going support. So although Marcy and Tom had no prior experience in retail, the training gave them a framework for opening and operating the store. Almost a decade later, they are still serving ice cream and sweets in Asheville with the help of a great group of team members.  A majority of the employees have been working with Marcy for several years, creating a family-type atmosphere at the store.  

Marcy and Tom always make time to give back to their community, and have made donations to numerous local charities and organizations throughout the years. In 2016, Marcy created a program to help area elementary teachers and students.  Marcy and an assistant give presentations to the students about where chocolate comes from and how it’s made. They also provide gift certificates for a free ice cream cone for teachers to use as rewards for students.  

“Had we not had the SBA loan, we would not be here today,” said Marcy. “It helped us get into this wonderful business. We were able to realize our dream with the help of the SBA.”    

For information regarding SBA’s loan programs and services, call the North Carolina District Office at (704) 344-6563 or visit the North Carolina SBA web site at