Success Stories

Situation

Ben Westra is the fourth generation to own a general construction business. WDS Construction is in fact named for his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, in whose business Ben learned the ropes. After college he worked in that firm’s Pennsylvania office, eventually returning to Wisconsin.  He started WDS in 2005 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin when a previous client offered to award him a project if he started his own company.  With private collateral, he launched from his mother’s sewing room and eventually moved to a rented 5600 square-foot facility.

WDS Construction is a national general contractor, serving primarily retail clients.  They have also completed projects for medical facilities, auto dealerships, schools, offices, cold storage, and industrial spaces.  They provide design-build, architectural, and engineering services. The company works on the guiding principles of safety, service, integrity and value.

After eleven years in business and... Read More

Situation

Dynamic Recycling is a one-stop shop for IT asset disposition, quality IT components for service and repair, data security, electronics recycling, scrap purchasing, and for-hire logistics. The Harter family—Miles, with his father and sister—along with company President, Curt Greeno, started Dynamic Recycling in 2007 in a 4,000-square-foot facility in La Crosse.  They launched on a small scale, manually disassembling household electronics and recycling them as their first business line. That inaugural year in business generated $40,000 in revenue.  In their second year, Miles joined Curt full time in the business, and by their third year, Dynamic Recycling was making a profit.  

As new needs and opportunities presented themselves, Harter and Greeno developed more lines of business.  Next came electronics reuse, in which they tested and remarketed items. Eventually this grew into their IT... Read More

Henry Schwartz of MobCraft Talks with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon in the Taproom

Situation

In 2011, Henry Schwartz and Andrew and Anthony Gierczak began researching commercial brewing operations since they had brewed their own beer in college. Working with the business incubator at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, they identified a business case for a brewery that generated flavor ideas and monthly pre-orders of beer via crowdsourcing and high-touch interaction with its customers. MobCraft started production in 2013 on a shoestring budget, using excess production capacity at an existing Madison brewery and taproom. By 2015, they were outgrowing their shared facility as production expanded from 48 barrels in their first year to 556 barrels.

Solutions

MobCraft used SBA financing at critical junctures in its growth. The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), an SBA micro-lender and Community Advantage lender, provided a $75,000 Community Advantage loan to purchase a bottling machine in 2014. This cut bottling time from... Read More

Dan and Elizabeth Donoghue at the Chocolate Caper's Counter

Situation

Ellen and Claude Marendaz started selling their distinctive praliné chocolates at Madison’s famous farmers' market in 1983. By the mid-1980s, they established The Chocolate Caper in nearby Oregon and became a Main Street staple. Fast forwardto 2013, when Dan and Elizabeth Donoghue were pursuing their dream of a baking business. Elizabeth began making her baked goods when Dan became ill in 2012, and word of her tasty products spread. At first, the Donoghues were looking for shared kitche nspace and approached The Chocolate Caper in early 2014. That didn’t work out, but several months later, when Ellen and Claude decided they wanted to retire, they contacted the young couple. This time a match was made, and the Marendaz’ began teaching the new Chocolate Caper owners the art of making the chocolates. The pralines, with chocolate and nut butters topped with a hard chocolate shell, are still the signature item of the shop. In late 2014, before they re-opened, Dan and... Read More

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