First Financial Group presents 5 finalists of the 2015 KYW Small Business Challenge.
•Bill’s Best BBQ,
•Farm Truck Philly
•Educators on Call, LLC
Winner of the $25,000 advertising campaign with KYW Newsradio and CBSPhilly.com announced August 3.
2015 Official KYW Small Business Challenge Finalists
# 1 – Bill’s Best BBQ
Bill’s Best BBQ became a business in 2011, soon after my husband, Bill Fehon was diagnosed with Fronto-temporal degeneration or FTD, at age 55. Bill had created the original recipe decades before; family and friends clamored for it and told him he should sell it. But with the onset of this rare form of dementia, he was no longer able to make it.
His 5 sons and I decided to make the sauce in his honor. We started in my kitchen, turning the Kansas-style BBQ into a certified organic, gluten-free sauce. We began selling it at a local farmer’s market, followed by getting into several local stores. We spent months perfecting a spicy version, which we added a year later, along with more stores and online sales at Amazon.com. And this spring, a honey rendition joined the organic gluten-free line-up.
After two years, Bill’s Best BBQ outgrew my kitchen and moved into a facility in Glenside, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The business has expanded steadily, moving into 175 stores, including many in the Philadelphia area, and many states up and down the eastern seaboard. We plan on continued success, adding more quality organic, gluten-free sauces to our offerings in the near future, including a chicken wing dip and a steak sauce. We also plan on bringing more jobs and revenue to the Greater Philadelphia area. Currently, all of the sauces are bottled by hand but running our own bottling plant is a future goal.
The next step in our business plan is to increase marketing. We know that wide-spread exposure is key; it’s an essential component in our plan for growth. We want Bill’s Best BBQ to be everyone’s go-to condiment for their cookouts and tailgate parties, or the way they spice up a tired meatloaf recipe. Once they taste it, they won’t reach for anything else.
# 2 -Brewscuits
Brewscuits® is a woman owned company celebrating its two year anniversary. We hand-craft, all-natural dog biscuits utilizing the grain from the beer brewing process. We use grain from a local brewery and our other ingredients come from local farms. As a PA Preferred company, we are committed to using local ingredients and hiring local employees. Our goal is to provide a family owned, American made product that dog owners can trust to give to their beloved pets. We feed Brewscuits to our own dogs. In fact, it is their ONLY treat. We believe in using human grade ingredients so our product is safe (and tasty) for humans to try. Brewscuits® mission is to provide the highest quality product utilizing local ingredients. We are an all-natural company using no salt, sugar, chemicals, or preservatives in any of our products. We are growing every day and continue to drive growth through public events and an increased presence in retail stores. We are current for sale in 40 stores. We give back to the community through our Rescue of the Month program which gives deserving dog rescues $.50 from every bag purchased back to that rescue with a Brewscuits® corporate match. In addition, we provide care packages three times per year to our military K9’s and their handlers through the US War Dog Association. As pet owners, this company is not just a business, it is a calling. We will not take shortcuts or sacrifice our quality for a lower quality product. We will continue to uphold our standards and grow our business providing dog biscuits that we can be proud of and our loyal customers can trust.
# 3 – Farm Truck Philly
Farm Truck is a Philadelphia based food truck that specializes in farm-to-table style, seasonally inspired street food. It was built around knowing what goes into your food and where it comes from. We spend the time to hand make all of our menu items with quality ingredients and we always go out of our way to do things right. Our produce comes from local farms, our bread from a local bakery, and we source from the butcher right up the street. We are very involved with our community and have a strong commitment to the arts. For certain events we boast our tailgate gallery, a small art gallery where local artists display work on the outside of our truck. Whether we are working a small backyard barbecue or a giant street festival, we strive to maintain wholesome options for our patrons.
We would hugely benefit from the grant money from this advertising campaign. It would help spread our message and allow us to grow within our community. It would give us the opportunity to share our amazing food with a wider, more diverse audience
Being such a small run business limits our marketing budget and up until recently we received much of our business through word of mouth. Since new food trucks are opening every day and the industry is so trendy currently, we are feeling the burn of new competition. On top of this, corporate companies are finding their way into the market. This marketing budget would help us maintain a competitive advantage and keep the small business community, of which we are a part, thriving.
I also believe our brand would lend itself well to an ad campaign. We are socially conscious, community driven, and have a great style. Our truck is adorned with a beautiful mural and is bright and colorful. We already have great photos, videos, and other material on our website.
# 4 – Educators on Call, LLC
Educators On Call, LLC was founded after 20 years of my observation of the many substitute teachers providing service in the various school environments where I was employed. The thought of actually starting an agency came to mind when I served as an assistant principal and was responsible for managing the substitutes in the building. That role gave me some insight into how several local agencies operated. It also revealed some of the weaknesses that could be addressed with the temporary staff.
In May of 2012 I prepared to launch Educators On Call for the coming 2012-2013 school year. Since then we have grown from 2 schools and 8 teachers to 33 schools and over 40 teachers.
Our growth opportunity is our current service to new clients which addresses the need of substitute coverage in the absence of permanent employees. Our competitive advantage is our commitment to learning the needs of our clients, consistent communication, and delivering highly screened, quality staff. Along with meeting the client needs, we support our staff with professional development. The value added service of our substitute coach provides our team with individual and group support. This directly impacts the strength of our staff and shows our clients the level of commitment we have to providing a quality service.
Our target areas for year 1 are continued growth in Philadelphia, along with entering Newark, NJ and neighboring county charter schools. We would use the advertising campaign to increase our reach to prospective employees and school clients, in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. This would greatly increase our exposure in the educational market. My vision is to increase our reach into two additional cities per year, adding a minimum of 15 schools each for the next 5 years. This will increase our revenues by 45 -65% over that time period.
# 5 – Waterless Works
Waterless Works is a waterless mobile car washing company that serves corporate campuses, car dealers, condos, and parking garages. We eliminate the water. You eliminate the time. Achieving the ultimate in clean convenience, Waterless Specialists come wherever you are, at the time you desire. Simplify your schedule with a treatment ¬wash during the kid’s Saturday soccer game, amid Monday morning meetings, or while taking a well deserved break from it all in the comforts of home. That’s right you read waterless. Our special solution made of plants and clay is sprayed onto the car and loosens up the dirt. After it loosens up the dirt our waterless specialists wipe it away leaving a wax and sealant behind. Every wash that we do we save 38 gallons of water and donate 12 gallons of clean water to Water is Life. After launching our business in my junior year at St. Joe’s it became so busy that I had to put my education on hold. When we first launched in November 2014 we had a team of 6 and have now tripled our team to 18. Waterless Works is in the process of developing an app, which will allow our service to be on-demand later this summer! Featured in the Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia Daily News and CBS3/KYW!