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Prairie Queen Bakery Grows With Assistance From the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center

March 22, 2012

Prairie Queen Bakery had been in existence in Sheldon, Iowa, for several years when Amy Strouth decided to purchase it. In November 2005, Strouth first met with Kelly McCarty, regional director of the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to begin the process of purchasing the bakery.

Strouth and McCarty spent many hours analyzing the information provided by the seller, putting together financial projections, completing loan applications, and writing a business plan. The purchase was completed, but many unforeseen problems started to emerge immediately afterwards.

Strouth persevered but still needed additional operating capital to cash flow her new business. After several attempts and much negotiating, adequate funding was secured, helping her to control costs and manage her expenses. After three years of corrective action, the business started to show a positive cash flow and a small profit.

In 2009 the owner of the property housing the bakery approached Strouth and asked her to consider being the anchor business in a new multi-store building in the same location. After much consideration and planning, Strouth decided to make the change, expanding the restaurant and catering side of her business. In order to accomplish this, she went back to the Northwest Iowa SBDC for more advice.

McCarty assisted Strouth in updating her business plan, prepared new financial projections, and helped her secure the financing to expand her business. Expansion funds were obtained from the Sheldon Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund, Citizens Bank of Sheldon, and the O’Brien County Revolving Loan Fund to purchase new equipment and inventory, fund leasehold improvements, and provide the funds for other costs and expenses.

Strouth changed the company’s name to Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant and moved into a new location, providing an updated look and a more useable and efficient kitchen area. The business offers not only the freshest homemade bakery items but a variety of entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant also provides catering services for any occasion and specializes in making wedding and special occasion cakes.

As a result of the expansion and move, at least 10 full-time and 10 part-time jobs were retained. The company has steadily increased its sales for the past three years.

Strouth and the SBDC have developed a great working relationship over the past six years. This relationship is not limited to assistance in preparing financial projections and loan applications, but has extended to discussions about other aspects of the business including personnel, market competition, and future market opportunities. Strouth says, “I appreciate the assistance offered and provided by the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center and look forward to a continuing relationship.”

Check out all the delicious offerings at the Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant at Yum!

The Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant
The Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant

Amy Strouth in the bakery.
Amy Strouth in the bakery.

For More Information:

Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center

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