Barb Carroll opened Mochas in May of 1997, after about 5 months of research and planning. The first location was a 120 square foot building. After 3 years at that location, Mochas relocated to a larger building (750 square feet) and expanded the menu to include smoothies, sandwiches, and ice cream, as well as inside seating for 16. In January of 2007, Mochas expanded again by leasing the neighboring unit and removing a large wall. The square footage was increased to 1750, and seating was added for a total of 36. A full time bakery was added shortly after. According to Barb, “My staff has grown from one in 1997 to a current staff of 20. Sales have increased each year.” In 2009, Barb started another business, called “Ice Cream in the Park”, where she serves ice cream, hot dogs, popcorn, and other ballpark treats at the local softball fields.
Barb first contacted the SBDC during the initial planning stages of Mochas. They provided her with information on SBA loans, as well as a checklist of “How to Start a Business in Gunnison”. This list included all the necessary permits, various taxing agencies, and utility information. Barb states, “The SBDC has helped me through each of my expansions as well as other challenges that have come up in the last 12 years.” She met with an SBDC counselor again in 2000 about the move of the business, where the counselor helped her brainstorm pros and cons of both locations, expenses of the move, and pro forma financials for the new larger location and potential cash flow increases. The SBDC helped Barb write an “expansion plan” which allowed her to get a small business loan for the move. When income declined one year, the SBDC was instrumental in helping Barb with marketing and financial strategies. She has also worked with the SBDC director to negotiate her current lease.
Most recently, the SBDC helped Barb put together a bid to submit to the city to operate the concession stand at the ballpark. Discussions with the SBDC counselor included the potential profit margin, bidding strategies, and other negotiating tips. “I won the bid and am in the midst of my first season of Ice Cream in the Park”, states Barb. Barb gives kudos to the SBDC for helping her work through her numerous, successful business expansions.