Every year, BusinessNewsDaily interviews entrepreneurs from all over the country who tell us about their challenges and successes growing their businesses. This year, we decided to check back with some of our favorite story subjects and see how things have changed since we first met them and what the new year has in store.
Since our interview with Ryan Krill, co-founder of the Cape May Brewing Company, in March 2012, the company has undergone a number of changes, including an expansion of the brewery and its brewing system. That growth also included an increase in the number of restaurants offering their products. Currently, 25 restaurants in southern New Jersey serve Cape May Brewing Company beers, up from just four restaurants in March.The Cape May Brewing Company, located in southern New Jersey, started with the simple goal of creating fresh, delicious beer and putting the "Garden State" on the map as a craft beer state. Since opening in July 2011, the craft brewer is well on its way to achieving those goals.
"We have taken it from a hobby to a legit business," Krill said.
A larger brewing system is the main reason behind quick growth of the company. That system allows the company to produce 186 gallons of beer at one time, or 40 barrels a week.
While that growth is encouraging for the company, Krill says the company plans on leveling off at their current production to avoid expanding too quickly.
"In July, we opened our second retail location at Easton Town Center, in Columbus, Ohio, and it has transformed the business and brand from a neighborhood boutique store into a retailer that can scale and operate multiple locations," said Vesler. "We are really exposing our products to new demographic of shoppers that are not shopping online.”Homage, Ryan Vesler's vintage-inspired apparel company, has undergone a lot of change in the last year. The company, which when we interviewed them last year sold their goods only via the Web, now has two retail locations and employs 55 people.
Vesler’s ability to produce interesting vintage-inspired apparel remains the key to Homage’s success. The company’s growth has been strengthened in the past year as the Columbus, Ohio-based company expanded its product selection to offer core apparel items such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts that bear the Homage logo. Vesler hopes those new products will allow the company to expand into new markets, but said that does not mean the company is looking to move away from their signature T-shirts.
"Licensing is a path to grow and we are excited to be expanding," Vesler said. "We are currently working with Kelly Knievel, Evel Knievel's son, to do a bunch of Evel Knievel stuff. We also expanded our collegiate footprint to the University of Iowa, Indiana University and the University of Illinois to sponsor their cheering section the Orange Krush. It is an eclectic in its scope, but it works together as we pay homage to cool things from the past."
As for 2013, Vesler is hoping to be able to expand the brick-and-mortar footprint of Homage, while also growing the company through their very successful social media campaigns.
Microsoft, Revlon, Kraft, Volvo, Sears and Sony Pictures and are just a few of the companies that New York-based startup Local Response has added as clients since March 2012. That growth has been made possible by the company's unique ability to collect real-time data from users that is then used by companies to effectively target potential customers.
"It has been incredibly exciting and difficult at the same time to build a business," said Kathy Leake, president of Local Response. "Building a business from scratch is quite a roller coaster."
That roller-coaster ride has been in a long ascent though as the company is slated to finish 2012 with revenue growth 10 times that of the previous year. That growth has been driven by the fact that the company is now working with 75 companies on active campaigns, up from 25 in March.
To deal with the increased company demand, Local Response has also added 10 employees, bringing the total staff to 30 people. The company also now operates out of a San Francisco office in addition to existing New York and Chicago offices. Leake hopes that Local Response will continue that growth in the coming year.
"We hope to do three times revenue in the coming year," Leake said. "That is a huge mountain to grow, but with the trajectory of ad tech companies we should be we should be doing two to three times revenue next year. We also have a lot of interest for Local Response overseas, so I see that as a potential place for expansion."
“We moved in the day after Thanksgiving and have been operating three screens with three different independent movies since then,” said Nancy Sabino, co-founder of the Showroom. “We have tried to figure out the flow and any new problems. Our audience has been very considerate and passionate with us and also very helpful in telling us what to do. It's been a learning curve for both of us.”The early reviews for the Asbury Park, N.J., independent movie theater the Showroom are in and customers are saying it’s a hit. The theater has enjoyed steady growth since opening in 2009, but its biggest growth came in the past few months, when the company moved from its one-screen location to a new three- screen location.
However, that growth was nearly derailed by Hurricane Sandy when the Showroom, located just seven blocks from the ocean in the seaside town of Asbury Park, was nearly damaged by surging waters from the storm. The Showroom escaped major damage, but lost power for several days.
The Showroom is looking to grow their business by adding a new general manager to their current staff of one full-time worker and six part-time workers. The company is also looking to grow by partnering with other local businesses and area schools.
"We see our space as being comfortable for companies to have an event here and I think that would be a win-win for everyone in town," said Sabino. "We are also looking to strengthen alliances with area colleges and elementary schools to do more with them."