It started with a phone call to Ronda Hawkins in the regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center located at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
From there, Jaime Krutz gained the expertise she needed to help her and her husband, Marty, grow their small business in Morrilton.
Three years later, Big Cuppa LLC is a multi-site operation with 13 employees that is helping lead a revitalization of Morrilton’s downtown and Krutz is the 2022 Arkansas small business person of the year.
She was presented with the award during a virtual ceremony that coincided with National Small Business Week.
“I was introduced to ASBTDC in my second year of business when Big Cuppa wanted to start roasting our own coffee beans,” said Krutz in a news release from ASBTDC. “Ronda Hawkins, the director at ATU’s ASBTDC, helped me with my projections and formalizing the roasting business plan. This allowed us to receive a loan from our bank to purchase the equipment.”
In addition to equipment financing, Hawkins has helped Krutz navigate the COVID-19 relief funding application process and become involved with the U.S. Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders program.
“I have attended numerous ASBTDC seminars, especially during the first year of COVID-19,” said Krutz. “Ronda made sure I was aware of all the programs offered to small businesses, the due dates and guidance on all those forms. At a recent seminar on (search engine optimization), I made a connection with a commercial loan officer that financed our newest roasting facility. I also learned that I will be outsourcing SEO. Sometimes those seminars let you know when you should delegate.”
Learn more about the regional ASBTDC office at ATU by visiting www.atu.edu/asbtdc.
“As a full-service roastery, coffee shop business planning is part of the services we offer,” said Krutz. “I refer 100 percent of my new clients in the area to Ronda Hawkins at Arkansas Tech University ASBTDC.”