On August 1, Scott and Kelly Brodeur, owners of Vintage Maine Kitchen, will celebrate their first year in business with sales figures that are twice their loan amount from CEI. Already with 100 retail locations and a loyal customer base for their small-batch, hand made potato chips, the Brodeurs are facing busy summer production schedules with remarkable confidence. Vintage Maine Kitchen, located in Freeport, produces potato chips of two varieties using just four ingredients: potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt and maple syrup. The business employs two full-time and two part time/seasonal employees.
Kelly, a culinary graduate of Johnson and Whales University, spent years in the food industry and worked in restaurants from Lowell, MA to Galway, Ireland. After the birth of their daughter Merrill, Kelly became increasingly conscious of the amount of preservatives in one of their family’s beloved snack foods, and committed to making a healthier potato chip that was sourced entirely from Maine products. Several weeks of experimenting at home taught Kelly that it all came down to the right potato. Vintage Maine Kitchen was born.
As first-time business owners, the Brodeurs reached out to CEI for a business loan, and were referred to CEI’s Business Advisor Brad Swanson for business counseling. Their work with Brad included selecting which business ideas to focus on, learning to translate ideas into a professional business plan, developing a clear brand voice, and learning to execute business tools such as cash flow projections and requests for funding.
“We’re endlessly grateful for the opportunities we were given by CEI. We would not have had the courage and confidence to start our business if we hadn’t gone through the steps of planning that only occurred because of the free business counseling that was provided to us. In addition, the loan granted by CEI provided start-up funds that otherwise would not be available to us.”–Kelly Brodeur, Co-owner, Vintage Maine Kitchen