CEI Stories

Serving & supporting small business owners just like you.


February 28, 2020

The Mustard Seed Bookstore

Six years ago, Julie and Mike Shea approached Maine SBDC with a dream. They wanted to purchase a small bookstore in downtown Bath. They reached out to Brad Swanson, business advisor at the Maine SBDC at CEI, for assistance in developing a business plan and financing proposal.

Julie and Mike worked diligently with Brad to make sure each aspect of the plan was carefully thought through and that the financial projections were realistic and obtainable. Securing the financing they needed, the couple opened their dream business, The Mustard Seed Bookstore, in February 2015.

Five years later, Julie and Mike again reached out to Brad for assistance. They were ready to retire, having realized their dream. The Mustard Seed Bookstore had been more successful than they had planned and they wanted to sell. They had a seller in mind – an employee – and needed assistance walking through the process. Brad worked closely with the couple to prepare the business for sale. They went over the business’s financials, budget, and debt. They discussed important aspects of the purchase and sale agreement, the value of the assets and liabilities, and more.

In January 2020, the couple reached an agreement with new owners Terri Schurz and her husband Jeff. Terri had been an essential part of The Mustard Seed Bookstore for four years. Much like Julie, she had often dreamed of owning a small retail operation like the bookstore and brings years of book publishing experience to this new venture.  She plans to continue working to create a space that welcomes customers to connect with friends, seize a moment of quiet with a cup of tea, or get lost in an adventure. The Mustard Seed Bookstore is more than just a bookstore, it’s a place where ‘Your Story Matters,’ and will continue to do so under new ownership.

Julie stated that she “couldn’t be more thankful to God that Terri and her husband would be taking over the bookstore. Owning a small business is like birthing a baby. You want your baby to continue to grow and thrive, and we know that it will. “We trust Terri and Jeff to take our baby and bring it up to a new level! They plan to rename the store to Mockingbird Bookshop and renovate the interior a bit. But our customers will still be her most important consideration”

Shea continued, “Mike and I can’t thank Brad Swanson enough for guiding us through the often-confusing business plan, with its projections and budgets. Brad was professional and patient while understanding that I did not have a business background. He walked me through every step and spoke in a language I could understand. With his help, our store opened to great success!”

“When we came to him to ask for help in selling the store, he was kind when I had to work through the difficult process of how to best sell the store and pay off accumulated debt. Mike and I always felt that he had our best interests at heart and that he wanted to help us reach our goals on both ends of the new business- buying and selling. We have been tremendously impressed and encouraged Terri and her husband to also seek their help, which they did.”

Learn More About the Bookstore




No cost, one-on-one assistance is provided to potential and existing business owners and managers in Maine by the Maine Small Business Development Center (Maine SBDC) at CEI. Maine SBDC Advisors at CEI are qualified business people with diverse educational and business experience. CEI-hosted advisors are available in Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, MAchias, Rockland, Waterville and Wiscasset.

For more information about the services available or to make an appointment with a business advisor, please contact the office nearest you or request a consultation

Story re-posted with permission from Maine SBDC

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