Cabin Coffee named one of nation’s best small businesses

(Above) Cabin Coffee owners Brad and Angie Barber

The owners of a Clear Lake homegrown— make that ‘home-brewed’ business— have been named as one of the nation’s top small business persons of the year.

Brad and Angie Barber, founders of Cabin Coffee, are  Iowa’s 2019 SBA Small Business Persons of the Year.  They have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C. on May 5-6 where they will be honored with their individual award. During the ceremonies, SBA will announce the 2019 National Small Business Person of the Year from the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto and Guam.

The Barbers 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 couple wanted to stay in Clear Lake. 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

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