The opportunity to explore your lifelong passion may arrive unexpectedly, but you have to be ready to take advantage of it. You do not need to have all of the answers to start, you simply need to be willing to take the first step. The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan is ready to shorten that step and help guide you through any challenges you may face.
This precisely describes the situation in which Peggy Finnegan-Boyes and her husband Parker found themselves when they got word the 24-year-old Grove Street Bakery was for sale. From a very young age Peggy had a love for baking which led her to making custom cakes for friends and family while also finding a job at a bakery. Parker maintained the dream to one day open a business. Although they were unsure if they were completely equipped to run their own business, the opportunity at hand was too amazing to pass up.
Another small business in Bloomington advised them to seek help from the SBDC. They say the biggest impact the SBDC has had on their business was the work done on a business plan that “is now leaps and bounds better.” In addition, the new owners have found financial guidance and taken part in seminars that have helped shape the way they communicate with customers. After only being open a week, the stay-at-home restrictions occurred. Parker says they “reference SBDC emails and the website regularly,” assisting them to develop their business during a difficult time.
Grove Street Bakery is a classic bakery where everything is made from scratch. Even though they are running an old-school business, Peggy and Parker are continuously seeking new ideas to improve. They are always looking to give back to the community that has supported them. Currently, Grove Street Bakery gives all leftovers to Home Sweet Home Ministries and is supporting Central Illinois Pride Health Center during Pride Month by selling Pride cookies. For each cookie sold, they are giving the Center 50 cents while also raising awareness at the same time. Since Peggy was a former K-12 teacher, the couple especially wants to support youth in our community by donating to programs that offer educational and socio-emotional support to kids.
In addition to supporting local charities, Peggy and Parker say they “want to help other locally grown businesses by partnering with them.” They have exciting plans to partner with Mainstreet Scoop to add ice cream sandwiches to the Grove Street menu. Their products are also sold at Green Top. They want to give customers the best experience while supporting local businesses in order to help our community thrive.