Entrepreneur with plans to open a tailoring shop wins BCE business plan competition

Entrepreneur with plans to open a tailoring shop wins BCE business plan competition

Three entrepreneurs with ideas ranging from owning a tailoring shop, offering life coaching and operating a mobile barbecue business are winners in the 2014 Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition.

Bluffton resident Rachel Davis, owner of Studio Silhouette, providing tailoring services, is the first-place winner. She will receive $5,000 in business start-up support.

Kathy Burrus, rural Columbus Grove, owner of Green Hope Coaching, offering life coaching, is the second-place winner. She will receive $1,000 in business start-up support.

Todd Larson, Bluffton, owner of Larson Barbecue, is the third-place winner. He receives one year of support services from BCE.

Rachel Davis

This year’s winner explains in her mission statement that: “Studio Silhouette provides sophisticated tailoring services for garments of any kind, casual fashion to formal heirlooms, as well as trend-setting tuxedo rentals.”

Presently she works from her home at 482 W. Elm St. She hopes to eventually be operating in a downtown storefront.

“I currently offer an array of tailoring services from bridal and formal alternations, casual sewing and mending and custom-made attire,” she said. Adding, “Tuxedo and formal suit rentals are also provided from an outside vendor.”

Kathy Burrus

Green Hope Coaching is a private life coaching practice founded by Burrus, a professional life coach, writer and speaker.

Individuals or couples partner with Burrus to take specific areas of their lives to the next level of fulfillment and satisfaction. Burrus works from her home, 6442 Putnam Road R, Columbus Grove.

“Green Hope Coaching helps clarify clients vision, identify strengths and resources, align priorities with visions and helps to overcome obstacles,” she said.

Todd Larson

“I am starting Larson Barbecue, which will be a mobile barbecue business on a smokers’ trailer. It will offer pulled pork sandwiches, pork loin and baby back ribs, all served with a signature rub and  barbecue sauce created from my own recipe,” said Larson.

Some of Larson’s immediate goals are to build a commissary kitchen allowing him to add sides to the menu and to begin catering jobs. Long-term goals include bringing a “rib-off” to Bluffton and eventually obtaining a trailer with a full mobile kitchen to do on-site catering.

The competition included eight weekly two-hour sessions taught by Kathy Keller, Rhodes State College, and Small Business Administration.


Judging this year’s competitors, which included a class of five entrepreneurs, were Branden Fortman of Fortman Insurance, Eric Davis of Allen Economic Development Group and Kendra Nickel, a graduate assistant at the Bluffton University Center for Career and Vocation.

Eleven area businesses and organizations sponsored this year’s competition, according to Brendon Matthews, BCE board president.

Major sponsors are:
 Reichenbach and Steiner CPAs, Bluffton University
 and Allen Economic Development Group.

Other sponsors are:
 Mustard Seed Café, Citizens National Bank, First National Bank, Sielschott, Walsh, Kiefer and Regula, CPAs, Edward Jones, Superior Energy Solutions, Bluffton Icon
 and Samuel Diller Co., LPA.

“The business plan competition is one of BCE’s programs created to help local entrepreneurs put their ideas into action in the form of a business plan,” said Matthews.

Competition goals include:
• Spur local entrepreneurs to put their ideas into action

• Teach participants to write a business plan that will help start a new business or improve an existing one
• Give financial support to three new businesses

• Create new jobs in northwest Ohio

The competition is named after the late Ropp Triplett, whose entrepreneurial spirit helped launch Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs.





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