Contra Costa SBDCPleasant Hill, CA

“Attending New Venture Training and working with the instructor and the other participants is a valuable resource when it comes to ideas, direction, and development of your business.To this day we refer to the information we learned and are continuing to promote our growth based on our business plan.” 

Douglas and Emily Statler

Kit and Caboodle--the hobby shop, offers many remote control cars, trains, rockets, science and educational projects providing fun for all ages. Beginning in 1972 and located in Albany, Kit & Caboodle has had many owners; the last being Doug’s grandmother Margaret Collins. Instead of closing the shop Doug, a  Part’s Manager at an auto body shop, and Emily, a middle school teacher, could realize their dream of being entrepreneurs. They chose to move the business closer to their home in Oakley and wanted to re-start the business.

When Doug and Emily decided to relocate the business to their home town they knew they needed help to growth the business. They needed to find new customers, new products and services and needed to learn how to compete with Internet businesses. Also, they wanted a better handle on their money to make sure that they could pay current bills and still grow their business, and manage their inventory expenses.

By November 2007, the business was theirs.  They established their new location in Oakley. Barbara Mason, Redevelopment/ Economic Development Director, highly recommended the New Venture Training program and the many business resources that the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center had to offer.

Doug and Emily met with an instructor to learn more about the New Venture Training class.  They both enrolled in the Antioch session on the spot. By attending the class together, they both had the opportunity to work with specialists in marketing and finance, and gain access to library research, focused discussions and a step-by-step workbook that led to a more comprehensive business plan that they both could agree on.

The SBDC was instrumental in guiding Doug and Emily through the business plan development process to make their business idea practical and achievable.

Kit & Caboodle—the hobby shop, has expanded from 2,000 sq. ft. to 4,000 sq. ft and now includes an indoor race-track and party room that has resulted in more family and community involvement and additional revenue; something the Internet can not duplicate.  They have been able to increase the variety of products to attract all kinds of Hobby Enthusiasts. In addition, Doug is now a full-time employee and they have hired three, local part-time employees.

Doug and Emily enjoy participating in community events such as the Almond Festival, September 12-14 2008 and they are planning their First Annual Remote Control Flea Market October 4 at the shop. They also host a local softball team and participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.