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Brad and Angie Barber of Cabin Coffee Co in Clear Lake, Iowa honored among nation’s top small businesses


This news story was published on April 3, 2019.
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MASON CITY – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the 2019 Small Business Persons of the Year winners. Iowa’s 2019 SBA Small Business Persons of the Year are Brad and Angie Barber, owners of Cabin Coffee in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Brad and Angie Barber dreamed up the idea for Cabin Coffee back in 2001. They knew Brad’s current career would likely transfer them out of state soon, but the Barbers wanted to stay in Clear Lake, Iowa. They started Cabin Coffee in 2002 with a single retail location in Clear Lake and have steadily and sustainably grown Cabin Coffee over the last 17 years, going from a start-up business with no employees to having sales of $5.5 million and 140 employees in 2017.

Over the last three years alone, Cabin Coffee has added over 35 employees and sales have increased by $1.8 million. In 2003, the Barbers saw the potential for franchising and utilized the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program for assistance in getting their franchise plans off the ground. Now, in addition to two successful company-owned stores in Iowa, there are 15 Cabin Coffee franchises throughout the United States, with more to open. The Barbers have also utilized SBA financing to help build their dream. They used a 7(a) loan for the second company-owned location in Mason City in 2009 and an SBA 504 loan in 2017 to construct the company’s new dedicated distribution and franchise support center in Clear Lake.

“We are honored, humbled and grateful,” the Barbers said. “We are thankful for our team members and for all their support. We could not have accomplished our success without them or the faith our franchise owners and their teams have in us. We’re also thankful for the expertise and support that the North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, the Iowa Small Business Development Center and the SBA’s Iowa District Office have provided for Cabin Coffee to be successful. We truly have enjoyed the adventure and look forward to experiencing many more years growing Cabin Coffee and working with businesses in North Iowa and world-wide to find more ways to add value to each and every community.”

Brad and Angie were nominated by Brook Boehmler, Regional Director of America’s SBDC Iowa in Mason City, Iowa.

“I am delighted to recognize the 53 winners from across the country as they gather in our nation’s capital,” Administrator Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said. “Entrepreneurs are the innovators who take risks on ideas, invest in their communities, and create jobs. Their skills and creativity not only support their own families, but they also make our neighborhoods and cities vibrant places to live and work, fueling our overall economic strength. These small business owners best represent the nation’s 30 million small businesses and I look forward to welcoming the winners to Washington, D.C. in May when they are officially honored for their accomplishments.”

National Small Business Week will be observed May 5-11 with events around the country. During the ceremonies, SBA will announce the 2019 National Small Business Person of the Year from the 53 winners from across the U.S. and territories.

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together we provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs. We counsel both new and existing local businesses, from Main Street to industry leaders.

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