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Small Business Development Center

Success Stories

Pure Bliss Desserts owners Nick and Andi Vann

Entrepreneur bakes up million dollar enterprise with help of WWU's SBDC

As she was growing up, Andrea Vann loved the hours she spent with her mother in the kitchen. She was drawn to baking while her mother cooked meals, she said, and it was where she learned that feeding others can be wonderfully creative and life affirming. 

After high school she opted for college rather than culinary school because the hours of a professional chef seemed crushing and not compatible with family life. 

Teresa Dalton - Onwer, Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Local Entrepreneur saves the Firehouse arts center as a community hub

March is a busy month at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, with up to 20 events each week including ongoing classes, concerts, recitals, community meetings and open mics.

“There are even more events coming in the spring and summer,” said Firehouse owner Teresa Dalton. “We are already getting reservations for 2020, which is great!”

Nuu-Muu Team

Entrepreneurs design business solutions with SBDC advising

Experts recommend incorporating exercise into your daily routines, but for many women, exercise clothing is the last thing they want to be seen wearing outside the gym.

Enter Nuu-Muu, an online retailer of women’s athletic apparel—particularly, exercise dresses—for women and girls. Nuu-Muu was founded by Ashley Fullenwider and Christine Nienstedt in 2008 and now employs six people, not counting the founders.

Carrie deKubber stands behind a booth and smiles

Carrie deKubber has held just about every position at Bob’s Burgers and Brew over the past 20 years, but thanks to the Washington SBDC, she added a new title this year: owner.

“It really is terrifying and exciting at the same time,” said deKubber, who became the owner of the Bob’s Burgers and Brew in Everett in December 2016.      

3 Oms Yoga Studio

Amy Robinson, owner of 3 OmsYoga, grew up in Seattle before moving to Bellingham in 1993 to attend Western Washington University.

While school was the initial reason for her to come to Whatcom County, she soon realized that she couldn’t imagine anywhere better to reside or start a business.

In 2002 Amy developed her love for yoga and, after practicing for 7 years, decided to open her own studio. The original 3 Oms Yoga studio was in a great space but it wasn’t large enough for the growing class sizes.

Jesse Nelson  - Overflow Taps

With the craft beer scene taking off in Whatcom County mixed with a love of giving back, Overflow Taps was born!

Jesse Nelson, Adam Stacey and Josh Libolt are the masterminds behind this local tap house located in Lynden, Washington.

We sat down with Jesse as he explained his motivation in starting a business focused on giving back.

Two years ago, Jesse ran across a video that sparked his interest in Charity: Water.

Rick Dubrow - Owner, A-1 Builders

“For small businesses who can’t afford a CFO or financial advisor, it’s magical having resources like SBDC to help out” is what Rick Dubrow, owner of A-1 Builders, shared with us on a recent visit.

Rick specialized in airport noise abatement before switching his focus to secondary education with a focal point on biology. Western Washington University is what lead the New York native to Whatcom County.

Bellingham has been home to A-1 Builders since1955, although its roots have been traced back as far as 1928.

Kat and Ed DeVaney, owners, Bellingham Wind Works

"People tend to have the passion but not the business knowledge." That's what the young owners of Bellingham Wind Works shared with us on Friday when asked about their journey. In 2001, Ed DeVaney was faced with an incredible opportunity – to purchase the Music Shoppe where he had been employed. The Problem? He had no prior knowledge in running or operating a business. Prior to this business venture, Ed had worked as an apprentice under David Laws where he gained an incredible skill set and grew his passion for instruments and serving the community.