Business Profiles

Case Studies of Successful Small Businesses

bike light

Innovative Bike Light Company Swims With Sharks and Comes Out a Winner

When you have a solid business idea, you sometime need to turn to multiple sources of funding to transform it into a going concern. For the founders of one California …

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custom-family-stickers-suv

How FamilyStickers.com Jumped in Through the Rear Window

It may be the biggest American on-road phenomenon since the creation of the interstate highway system. Spreading as fast as kudzu along U.S. roadways, stick figure decals depicting family members …

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Steve McHugh

Cancer Survivor Opens Restaurant That Gives Back

Snug in San Antonio’s ultrahip Pearl Brewery complex, a collection of shops, restaurants, and even a culinary institute housed in the now-defunct brewery buildings — you’ll find a gastropub-style restaurant …

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Kids playing

Regional Retailer Appeals to Families by Hosting Playtime in Showrooms

What better way to sell recreational gear to parents than to get their kids to play with it? Play N’ Learn (pictured), which offers residential and commercial playground equipment in Maryland …

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Eating Retrocorn

Popcorn Entrepreneur Markets the Flavors of Childhood

Popcorn is all the rage across the pond, and Greg Taylor’s unusual popcorn company, Retrocorn, based in Essex, England, is putting a new spin on the U.K.’s latest snacking obsession. Taylor’s strategy: …

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Petros Georgopoulos

Swapdom CEO on Finding the Right Startup Investor

When Petros and George Georgopoulos finally perfected an algorithm that could engineer the trading of possessions among multiple participants, they knew they were on to something big. The brothers, who are …

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nancy nadel

Former Politician Turns to Sweet Business

“As a policymaker, I spent a lot of time on economic development,” says Nancy Nadel, who served on the city council of Oakland, Calif., for 16 years before retiring in …

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club chairs

Selling Antiques Online to a New Generation of Collectors

Douglas Scott thinks that analog treasures and digital media are a perfect match. Through his new venture, an online marketplace for antiques and fine arts called The HighBoy, he aims …

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jan stephens

Going Organic Adds Value to Hand-Printed Clothing Line

Artists and serial entrepreneurs Jan and Gary Stephens have long taken pride in their ecological lifestyle. The couple lives “off the grid” outside Willits, Calif., in a passive solar envelope …

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petflow

Barking Up the Right Tree: How PetFlow Went From Zero to $50 Million in 3 Years

Fifty million dollars worth of pet food is a lot of kibble to deliver. But that’s what PetFlow, a New York City-based startup, expects to do this year. Founded by …

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depressed cake shop

A Pop-Up Bakery With a Social Mission

Using a pop-up business model, the Depressed Cake Shop works to spread awareness of mental illnesses worldwide. Local bakers from London to Kuala Lumpur donate cookies and cakes — often …

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umami mart

How a Duo Turned a Food Blog Into a Niche Retail Business

It all started seven years ago with a chance meeting on Thanksgiving in an Oakland, Calif., kitchen. Yoko Kumano, who lived in Tokyo at the time, and Kayoko Akabori, who …

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Sarah Filley, Cofounder and Executive Director Alfonso Dominguez, Cofounder

Designing a Pop-Up Model for Small-Business Success

Creative entrepreneurs Sarah Filley and Alfonso Dominguez (pictured) had known each other for many years before the day in 2011 when they hatched the idea that would transform a California neighborhood …

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Farbod Shoraka

BloomNation Aims to Change the Floral Industry by Empowering Small Businesses

Cut flowers account for an estimated $7 billion to $8 billion in annual sales by florists nationwide. Despite the wealth of opportunity that figure seemingly represents for budding businesses, entrepreneurs …

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Bone-Suckin-Sauce-Nuff-Said

The Essential Ingredient of Small-Business Exporting

Somewhere in Fiji, someone is devouring a meal made with Bone Suckin’ Sauce, a lip-smacking and award-winning product exported by Ford’s Gourmet Foods of Raleigh, N.C. When former real estate appraiser …

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