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Successful Small Business – Sugar Shack Company

Northland SBDC Helps Iron Range Bakery Expand

Sugar Shack

The Sugar Shack Company, a Virginia-based bakery that opened a storefront last year will celebrate its one-year anniversary next month. Owner Erin Powell utilized the Northland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help expand her home-based business into rented retail space in Thunderbird Mall. SBDC assisted Powell with registering her business, obtaining licensing, and establishing a point-of-sale system.

“When my business outgrew my home, a friend recommended I contact Betsy Olivanti of SBDC to help me through the process of opening a retail location,” said Powell. “She personally sat down with me free of charge and guided me through the federal and state registration processes. She assisted me with setting up a point-of-sale system that is powered through iPads. Betsy made the entire process very comfortable and unintimidating.”

Olivanti is the SBDC regional consultant and provides technical support to local businesses (existing and startups) such as business plan development, feasibility and financial analysis, market research, advertising and sales, loan packaging, strategic planning, accounting systems and e-commerce. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation provided a Development Partnership grant to Northland Foundation to support an SBDC representative located on the Iron Range and designated to assist the Iron Range Quad Cities of Virginia, Gilbert, Mountain Iron and Eveleth.

Sugar Shack Collage

Sugar Shack Bakery Thanks Loyal Customer Base

Sugar Shack sells homemade cupcakes, cookies, wedding and specialty cakes, scones, baked bars, cinnamon rolls and cheesecakes. Hard-dipped ice cream and a weekly lunch special are also offered. Custom orders comprise a large part of Sugar Shack sales including specialty cakes and cookies for weddings, graduations, birthdays, family celebrations and events.

“We have a loyal customer base that continues to grow,” said Powell. “The bakery closed for about two weeks due to COVID-19 but began curbside orders by April. The storefront reopened in June, and our customers and community were great in supporting our return.”Sugar Shack Grand Opening

Powell is a wife, mother of six children ranging in age from 23 to 7, an entrepreneur, small business owner and graduate of Virginia High School. She employs three full-time and two part-time employees at Sugar Shack, and her husband Greg assists with the maintenance of the shop and equipment when he is not working at Minntac Mine. (Pictured to the right is Sugar Shack’s ribbon cutting and below is Powell in the front row left with some of her employees.)


Sugar Shack Employees


“Launching my small business in my hometown of Virginia has been very rewarding,” said Powell. “We are providing full- and part-time jobs to people within the community I grew up.”




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Are you interested in no-cost consulting assistance for your small business? Click here to sign up for business help with Northland SBDC or click Request for Services at the top of this page!


Guest post from The Ranger newsletter published with permission from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation


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