Veteran & Wife Start Bakery Business in the Lowcountry
Entrepreneurship was always the goal for husband and wife duo, Katherine and Manning Frankstone. The couple had been researching food business options for a few years and settled on starting a cookie company with their treasured family recipes. They attended a workshop with SCORE, an SBA funded Resource Partner, on starting a business.
“The SCORE Workshop gave us the framework to start the business plan,” said Katherine.
Grey Ghost Bakery opened their doors in September of 2012. They specialize in selling cookies and baked goods to retailers and high-end grocery store chains. The Frankstones were in the middle of moving into a different location that would also give them a storefront presence when COVID-19 hit the United States.
“We started construction in November and had plans to move into the new location by January, but international supply chain issues from COVID delayed our construction,” said Katherine. “We didn’t move in until March, which was right as COVID started affecting our sales.”
As a 10-year Army veteran that served in Vietnam, Manning Frankstone was well equipped to working under pressure.
“One thing I have learned being married a veteran is that you know how to adjust, adapt, and overcome,” said Katherine.
Grey Ghost Bakery applied for the two loan programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help businesses recover from COVID-19. They received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help pay themselves and their employees, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to assist with working capital needs.
“Without the PPP and EIDL loans, we would’ve had a really hard time staying open and keeping our employees engaged,” said Katherine. “Most of our employees are single mothers and rely on that income to support their families.”
The two loans enabled the Frankstones to hire back the employees they had to lay off and were even able to hire more. The business averaged 15-18 employees prior to the pandemic, and now has 24 and is still growing. Grey Ghost Bakery is expanding to offer baked goods to walk-in customers in their new location in Charleston, and plan to start bidding on some competitive contracts now that their production capacity has increased.
“We really appreciate what the SBA offers as far as funding and resources to small businesses,” said Katherine. “We have been self-funded to this point, but it is great to know that funding is available when we need it.”