There are thousands of new small businesses opening every day, and though it’s remarkable enough to start any new business, there are some that innovate beyond what is expected. The following are 3 outstanding stories of small businesses that adapted to the demands of the market, pushed through challenging economic times, and excelled despite their circumstances.
Artistic Finishes, Inc.
Our recent recession put strain on many industries, and the home construction industry was among those hit the hardest. One scrappy small business based out of Roseville, MN became a much larger business when they discovered that home builders had a need for pre-finished hardwood flooring.
Builders were previously forced to go through two companies—one for the material, and one for the finish. Then the flooring fabricators were forced to retool and rethink their business when the housing bubble popped. Crippled by the crash, Artistic’s revenues were cut in half, from $20 million, to $10 million, in two years.
But they were able to find their way through the recession by trimming manufacturing costs and offering a direct-to-customer product, diminishing shipping and processing costs. Artistic creatively navigated through one of the worst storms the home-building industry has seen in a long time, and learned how to thrive again. (Twin Cities Business)
As reported by Elizabeth Rushe of Pacific Standard—Berlin, Germany has become the “fastest-growing startup economy in the world.” It is a gestation ground for bourgeoning companies like ECF Farmsystems.
ECF is an aquaponic farm that puts out roughly 30 tons of fish and 30 tons of vegetables per year, using highly-innovative methods to create an economical, self-sustaining system composed of two main parts: The fish farm that produces enriched water and CO2 for the plants, and the greenhouses full of vegetable plants that make oxygen, which is recycled and pumped back into the fish farm. Some of the oxygen is even used to heat the greenhouses in the cold months.
In only two years, ECF has grown explosively. It has set the standard for urban aquaponic farming in Europe. Follow the link at the end of this post to read the full story. (Pacific Standard)
Nic & Luc Jam
Leroy Bautista worked in kitchens for 25 years, sometimes as the chef-owner, and other times as the chef of someone else’s restaurant. After being let go from his most recent kitchen, Bautista decided to open up shop for himself again, but this time he would be focusing on a different kind of food—all-natural jams made with locally-sourced ingredients.
His new venture, Nic & Luc Jam, started in his own kitchen at home, creating small batches. He soon opened a commercial kitchen and quickly gained traction with individuals and retailers, alike. Nic & Luc is an exceptional story of a locally-oriented small business that caught on fast and grew exponentially, increasingly attracting more attention from larger retailers. The boutique jam producer adapted its product from super-sugary jams with standard flavors, to lower-sugar, eclectic flavors like blueberry mojito and strawberry balsamic.
Bautista prides himself on serving his local Miami-area community and offering an all-natural product, adding his own culinary flare which he developed from years of professional kitchen experience. Nic & Luc Jam is the fortunate consequence of the creativity that is born of necessity mixed with passion. (Miami New Times)
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1. Dan Heilman, “Artistic Finishes, Inc.,” Twin Cities Business, January 3, 2017, http://tcbmag.com/Honors-and-Events/Small-Business-Success-Stories/2016-Small-Business-Success-Stories/Artistic-Finishes-Inc
2. Elizabeth Rushe, “The Unlikely Fish-Farming Start-Up in the Middle of Berlin,” Pacific Standard, June 14, 2016, https://psmag.com/the-unlikely-fish-farming-start-up-in-the-middle-of-berlin-47f24679403#.9clsf1rfb
3. Christian Portilla, “Nic & Luc Jam is a Miami Small-Business Success Story,” Miami New Times, December 8, 2016, http://www.miaminewtimes.com/restaurants/nic-and-luc-jam-is-a-miami-small-business-success-story-8972575