Skip Navigation

SBDC Success Stories

Pawberry Lane Pet Café

"I would recommend the SBDC/ITC to anyone who is thinking about starting their own business.”
Colleen Berg, Owner of Pawberry Lane Pet Café

Colleen Berg playing with dogs SBDC Success Story

Pawberry Lane Pet Café is owned and operated by Colleen Berg and is designed to be like an old-fashioned country candy shop with indoor and outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi – and the only café of its kind that sells all natural treats for dogs, cats and horses. The treats are made fresh with no additives or preservatives and are veterinarian-approved. Their specialty is treats that are made for pets with allergies or sensitivities to foods and are meat free, grain free and low calorie. Their product line also includes healthy all natural foods, supplements, bones and a variety of low-carb treats, some of which are specially made for dogs and cats with cancer

Colleen first came to the SBDC/ITC at the College of Lake County in 2010, seeking advice about starting her own business. She states, “My business advisor at the SBDC/ITC at the College of Lake County has been invaluable in helping me start my business. She worked with me on a business plan, which now becomes my road map to success going forward. She also helped me to find the right attorney and CPA to assist me with tax and legal issues. I would recommend the SBDC/ITC to anyone who is thinking about starting their own business.” Colleen’s original idea was a bakery that provided sweet treats to all individuals, especially to folks with food allergies. At the same time, she desired to create the same type of business with a focus on animals with food allergies. After working for many years out of her home providing custom orders for both people and animals, she found herself struggling to keep both companies afloat and decided to concentrate solely on the pet business.

In the fall of 2016, Berg had the opportunity to buy an existing pet store in Lake Villa. She took advantage of that opportunity and concentrated her efforts into building out the pet store and adding pet treats and more. Colleen continues to work with the Illinois SBDC in the area of updating her business plan and looking for additional growth opportunities.

Visit Pawberry Lane Pet Café at

Fire Guys Tinting

"The SBDC helped us with the steps needed to secure a small business construction loan in order to help us expand our business and build a new facility to accommodate our growing needs."
Joe Olsen, Owner of Fire Guys Tinting

SBDC Success Story_Fire Guys TintingSBDC Success Story

Joe Olsen started tinting automotive windows in his garage in 2011. What started as a part-time job quickly became a full-time business offering professional window film installation. In 2014, Joe established Fire Guys Tinting located in Antioch, Illinois. His customer base quickly grew so he moved the business into a larger space to accommodate its growth. Joe explained, "We started out in our garage, but as word spread that we provide quality work, and excellent customer service and guarantee, we had to move into a bigger workspace."

Using a state-of-the art program to computer generate and cut film, Fire Guys Tinting is able to produce highly accurate window film, which means less risk of cutting rubber gaskets or scratching glass. By working closely with the manufacturers, Fire Guys Tinting stays well informed of the highest quality products available, which in turn helps them address their clients’ specific needs.

The demand for Joe’s services continued to increase and in June 2016, he decided to build a facility to accommodate the business’ expansion. He came to the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the College of Lake County for advice and assistance with securing a small business construction loan. Working with the SBDC, they were able to compose a business plan complete with projections and put a finance plan in place. "The SBDC helped us with the steps needed to secure a small business construction loan in order to help us expand our business and build a new facility to accommodate our growing needs," stated Joe. "The staff is very personable, easy to work with and made us feel comfortable."

Fire Guys Tinting is in the process of building its new facility in Antioch, Illinois with an expected completion date in 2017. Joe expressed, "It has been so great to see repeat customers and watch our Fire Guys Tinting family grow!"

Pigtale Twist

"The entire Illinois SBDC International Trade Center staff is an invaluable resource – always available, honest and thorough. If there is a subject outside their realm, they have a network of referrals who are experienced in that field."
Meg Dhamer, Owner of Pigtale Twist

SBDC Success Story

Learn how the SBDC staff and the workshops they offer helped the owner of Pigtale Twist create an Executive Summary and an overall financial plan.

Felix's Famous Cookies

“The business expertise and management advice from my small business advisor has been extremely helpful from our first meeting and to this day. He has helped me create a clear vision for the future of my company and a detailed action plan to execute it.”
Laura Castillo, Owner of Felix's Famous Cookies

SBDC Success Story

See the story of Felix's Famous Cookies and their experience with the SBDC/ITC. Hear how the SBDC/ITC helped them turn their family's passion into a successful business.