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Success Stories

Anne-Marie Faiola turned a soap-making hobby into a multimillion-dollar business called Bramble Berry.  From shea butter to lavender essential oil to palm oil, Bramble Berry now sells raw materials to soap and toiletry artisans worldwide.  She practices what she preaches. “A good business comes from finding something that works and capitalizing on it…Success doesn’t happen overnight…It’s about replicating small victories every day.”

In 1998 when Anne-Marie Faiola was 20 years old and still in college, she pursued entrepreneurship-- her soap making hobby-turned-into-business quickly bubbled beyond her living room.  A driving force for Anne-Marie and the company is her sincere love of the craft coupled with a desire to help others.  Her mission statement is to “provide creative empowerment with LOVE – changing Lives, creating Opportunities, delivering high Value, and encouraging creative Expression through the five senses.”

With over 2500 products, Bramble Berry enables... Read More

 In late 2008, Jody Hall, like her cupcakes, rose to the occasion. Increasing demand for her cakes offered at her three Cupcake Royale locations challenged her capacity to satisfy it. In addition, the volume of her catering and wholesale merchandising was also dramatically rising. New facilities were in order, and in a new location. With her confectionary imprint in almost every key Seattle neighborhood—West Seattle, Ballard, Madrona—there was one outstanding—and inevitable—opportunity for Jody: Capital Hill.

The Hill is a dense, popular, highly cultured and affluent area in Seattle, a perfect fit for the warm, communal ambience characterizing Cupcake Royale. And soshe came to pass, on the Hill, the perfect space: East Pike Street, ensconced at street level in a brand new commercial condominium complex, spacious enough not only for a new café, but also for the wholesale cupcake production facility and the office space from which she could manage the business. Perfect. And... Read More

Ace Hardware of Silver Lake opened its doors in July thanks to SBA’s 7(a) loan program. Gary Skrla was laid off from his corporate job and headed to the SBA office in Seattle to discuss his business ideas with Ed Milan, a SCORE representative. After a few counseling sessions, he decided to follow his dream and open a hardware store. His past hardware industry experience helped him decide the ACE Hardware franchise would be a good fit.

He found the perfect location in Everett – a new strip mall in the Silver Lake neighborhood and worked out the tenant improvements details. Timing is everything. Skrla took advantage of the new lending incentives of increased guarantees and reduced fees. He worked out the details in his loan application and received financing through Seattle-based Fortune Bank and the SBA 7(a) Loan Program. Lisa Forrest, vice president with Fortune Bank said, “Gary is a perfect example of what can be done with an SBA loan. He has an incredible range of... Read More