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Success Stories

Kelley Dockter, owner of Blink Eyewear, Bismarck, ND

Not long ago Kelley walked in to her job selling glasses at an optometrist office only to have the doctors she worked with tell her they didn’t think she was happy. Thinking back she remembers “it was definitely a bad experience getting fired – I loved my job!  I was 47 years old and I thought: what am I going to do?”

Kelley loved selling glasses and kept coming back to the idea of opening her own optical shop. “And before I knew it,” she says, “things started falling into place.” A friend referred her to SCORE because as she claims, “I know a lot about glasses, but I didn’t know anything about the business side!”

The biggest hurdle for Kelley was putting together a business plan. She researched different formats and advice online, only to end up more overwhelmed and stressed. She had the passion and vision for the business, but continually got stuck trying to put together projections and numbers.

Learn how SCORE Mentors help Kelley with her business plan and... Read More

Darla Julin, Owner of Fantasies in Frosting

If everyone you know loves your decorated cakes and baked goods, starting a home-based bakery business may be the job that allows you to do what you love and make money doing it. That’s how Darla Julin’s Fantasies in Frosting got its start. Baking has always been a passion for Julin. After attending culinary school in Moorhead, MN, she started small, only accepting special orders for her part-time, home-based business.

As word of her cake decorating skills spread, the demand for her cakes, cupcakes and baked goods was enough that she needed a larger kitchen in order to keep up. That’s when she decided to take it to the next level and open a storefront bakery. Julin moved the business to its current location at 4501 15th Ave. S.W., Fargo, with the help of an SBA Microloan from Lake Agassiz Regional Development Corporation. Without the SBA loan, “I wouldn’t have been able to afford moving the business,” she says.

Julin’s move has taken her from being the sole employee... Read More

Al Haut, SBA; Carlos Sosa, SBA; Les Paulson; Diane Paulson;  Dianne Pierce, Dakota Western Bank

Les and Diane Paulson are a husband and wife team, who operated a portable seed conditioning business for many years in Bowman, North Dakota. When they decided to expand and build a plant in 1997, they approached Dakota Western Bank for financing. Through an SBA 7(a) loan, combined with assistance from the Bank of North Dakota and the Bowman County Economic Development Corporation, Paulson Premium Seed & Conditioning was born. The plant specialized in quality grain processing for commercial use.

Les oversees management of the plant, and concentrates much of his efforts on obtaining new, quality seed with traits and characteristics which result in better production, and in turn are more marketable around the globe. He often travels with trade missions to other countries to obtain new buyers. Les also has been instrumental in introducing new pea and lentil varieties to the area. He spends considerable time researching which varieties are best suited for customers. As their... Read More

Justin Lindteigen

Justin Lindteigen’s interest in construction goes back as far as he can remember – from watching his grandfather in his woodworking shop, to summer jobs doing roofing and framing.  Unsure of how he should tie it in to his undergraduate studies, Justin took a break from school and joined the North Dakota Army National Guard in 2004.  After basic training, it’s no surprise that his first job in the army was working with concrete asphalt.

Over the next several years Justin worked in a local lumberyard that specialized in residential remodeling, custom home building, and commercial construction.  He moved his way up from sales to project manager, and learned how to take a project all the way from start to finish.  It was a great fit, and Justin couldn’t keep the idea of owning his own construction business out of his mind.  He started to take on additional roles, as well as take trainings on business and government contracting.  He also was able to complete a bachelor’s degree... Read More

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