Rural Baby Business Gets Big Boost Using Multiple SBA Programs to Grow
Little Falls, a small rural town in central Minnesota on the Mississippi River, may not seem the most obvious place for “Minnesota’s one-stop baby shop,” but that’s how Adelle Starin describes her business. In 2007 as a new mom herself, Adelle struggled to find high-quality baby products in rural Minnesota. In 2013, after doing years of research, she took the leap to open a small storefront in Little Falls. She had started selling at small craft fairs but within the first year doubled projections.
As Baby’s on Broadway continued to grow, Adelle sought out SBA resources to help her. She began to work with the Entrepreneur Fund, an SBA Community Advantage and Microlender, to expand her storefront by acquiring the toy store next door in 2016. From start to finish, she shared, “The process was seamless, and the Entrepreneur Fund understood my business and what I was going through.”
Adelle also worked closely with the SBA-powered Women’s Business Alliance in Little Falls and has shared that Director Sandy Voigt “has been there to mentor along the way, and she’s local, so it’s easy to connect.” In early 2020, Adelle approached the Entrepreneur Fund again to get financing for a business expansion to acquire necessary licenses to bill insurance for medical breast pump equipment and consulting. An SBA-backed loan enabled Baby’s on Broadway to become a durable medical equipment provider on a national scale.
Further help from the SBA during the COVID pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance programs, helped Adelle continue operations and pay staff when no storefront traffic was coming in. As a durable medical supplier for new moms, she had to keep regular hours per Medicare.
In March 2021, Adelle was accepted into SBA’s Emerging Leaders program and is using the mini-MBA style training to explore tangible growth by setting SMART goals and meaningful networking. For seven months, she and the other participants will identify where they want their businesses to go in the next few years with a three-year growth plan and extended support gained through the program.
Baby’s on Broadway encompasses everything a new mom will need on her motherhood journey, including durable medical supplies. Sales hit $1 million in mid-2021, and Adelle’s vision continues to create a safe space for moms to get an honest, helpful opinion on baby products that fit their lifestyle.
When asked about what is next, she replied that she feels the possibilities are endless. “Because I found the help that I needed in rural Minnesota through the Women’s Business Alliance, Entrepreneurship Fund, and the SBA, it has opened possibilities that I would never have had. The growth that we are experiencing is exponential. Without those programs, we would have had to scale back our business instead of continuing our growth. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”