Twisted Sugar of Polk County
Residents of the Lakeland area for six years, John Mitchell and his family spend their Friday nights out to dinner, followed by a trip to get something sweet post-meal. After realizing their only sweet treat options were ice cream stores, Mitchell decided to take matters into his own hands, and end the search for something that was non-existent to the area – gourmet cookies.
“We have always said to ourselves, there’s nowhere in Polk County to get a gourmet cookie in a cookie store,” Mitchell said. “If you want a cookie, you can walk inside of a grocery store or a restaurant, but there were no shops dedicated to gourmet cookies. That really spawned the idea to try and open something. That’s when we tried Twisted Sugar in Clermont, Florida. We absolutely fell in love with it. From there, we began the journey to open a Twisted Sugar.”
Because Mitchell had prior experience with opening and budgeting for start-up businesses, he began applying for U.S. Small Business Association loans. That’s when he discovered the Florida SBDC at USF.
“When I was preparing to try and open the store, I was thinking about the business plan, budget, and things of that nature,” he said. “But, as I was applying for SBA loans, I started to discover the free resources available to start-up business owners at the Florida SBDC at USF, and specifically Greg Manning.”
Since connecting with Manning, a business consultant with the Florida SBDC at USF, Mitchell is grateful for the expert advice that has helped his new business succeed thus far.
“We had a very successful opening at the end of April, and since then, we’ve experienced a really good first and second month,” Mitchell said. “The feedback has been tremendous. The questions that I have about labor and inventory, I’ve been able to send directly to Greg. The things that consumed me the most as the business owner, that’s where he’s been really helpful for me in being able to ask those questions and get direct answers from his experience. He’s helped me with the financial projections specifically. I was basically starting from scratch with my projections and have relied on Greg for his expertise.”
Because his business is still new, Mitchell looks forward to continuing to rely on the experts at the Florida SBDC at USF to help guide him through the trials of being a new business owner, and possibly even open more locations.
“I think that my relationship with the Florida SBDC at USF will remain ongoing as I want to expand and open more stores in Polk County. I’m still a very new business owner, and so I foresee this relationship continuing for a very long time. I would love to keep the relationship with the Florida SBDC at USF to help with additional advice regarding financing, inventory, and labor.”