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Success Stories

Military Veteran uses SBA resources to open gluten-free market

A diagnosis of Celiac Disease changed Janell Farnsworth’s life forever. An intelligence officer in the Washington Army National Guard’s 81st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, finding safe options at the dining facility would prove difficult, as she could no longer eat any foods that contained gluten. After her diagnosis, she scoured the major grocery stores looking for gluten-free options, to little avail. Most stores had a very limited selection. She was also mystified to find Western Washington had only one gluten-free grocery store located in Tacoma, more than 85 miles away from where she lived. Her entrepreneurial spark lit up and she realized there was a way to meet the needs of herself and others with gluten sensitivities in Snohomish County and make a little money while being her own boss. Janell’s Gluten-Free Market in Everett, was born.

Instead of jumping head first into the business without having any prior experience, Farnsworth reached out to the Washington Women... Read More

Sandy Keathley and Ben Kinnebrew of Bellingham were not looking to open K&K Industries in 2004. The small business found them.

Keathley was working as an accountant at Western Washington University in the college of education. Her husband was working for a Canadian firm that had a metal fabrication shop in Ferndale, north of Bellingham.

It offered the only laser metal cutting between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle. When the Canadians closed the shop and moved the operation across the border, Keathley and Kinnebrew decided to buy a metal-cutting machine.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” said Keathley. “Between March and September of 2004 we operated out of our house. Ben would job-out the work, taking orders for laser cutting to be done in Seattle,” she said.

Keathley was keeping the books. At the same time she was meeting with a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselor at Western Washington University, which hosts an office for the... Read More

For 60 years, the family owned and operated B&G Machine has specialized in remanufacturing diesel engines and component machining. From its start serving the timber industry, the company has broadened its client base to more industries and today, its engines operate in locations around the world, both on land and at sea.

Western Washington’s timber industry was the main source of customers for B&G engines until logging began to decline in the 1990s. Surviving meant modernizing the company’s operations and reaching out to new industries.

By 1998, the nimble B&G had expanded to mining, marine, power generation, oil and gas with customers throughout the western U.S. and Canada. The company’s state-of-the-art facilities in Seattle’s SoDo industrial district now include a new engine assembly operation with one of the largest engine dynanometers in the world.

Having reaped the benefits of diversification, the company next set its sights overseas... Read More

Danny Farrow created Farrow Concrete Pumping, Inc., in his home-town of Pebble Beach, Calif., in 1997. From its humble beginnings with a single concrete pump and pick-up truck, Farrow grew this business to a full-line of five pumps and vehicles of varying capacities and capabilities. He was so successful that a larger, frustrated competitor bought his company in 2003 generating $100,000 in after-tax profit. Investing these retained earnings Farrow relocated to Tacoma, Washington and created Farrow Concrete Specialties, Inc. (FCS. He began the company performing concrete pumping and quickly expanded to include concrete forming, placing, and finishing. Over the next few years, FCS grew in size and scope to move from small residential projects to heavy commercial and government infrastructure projects. In fact, in 2006, FCS was recognized by the University of Washington as the fastest growing minority-owned business in state of Washington. From here, FCS gained... Read More