Coons and SBA director visit small businesses at Delaware State Fair

August 3, 2014
Vanderwende Farm Creamery's ice cream truck is the scene of an informal meeting at the Delaware State Fair as (l-r) Jim Vanderwende, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware SCORE mentor Don Albi, and SBA Delaware Director John Fleming talk about small business in Delaware. SOURCE SUBMITTED

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Small Business Administration Delaware Director John Fleming conducted a small business walking tour and small business owner meet-and-greet July 25 at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington. The tour aimed to meet small business owners in the heart of their community to discuss the state of small business in the First State while spotlighting SBA resources that can help small businesses start and grow.

“Attending the state fair is a tradition for many Delawareans because of its great food, entertainment, and fellowship,” said Fleming. “But, really, the fair is just as much a showcase of Delaware’s small business community. My mission is to make SBA help - and how to get it - common knowledge in Delaware, and that starts with bringing the SBA directly to entrepreneurs in the communities where they live and work.”

At the fair, Coons and Fleming visited three Delaware small businesses.

The Vanderwende Farm Creamery Ice Cream Truck from Bridgeville’s Vanderwende Farm is a family-owned and -operated three-generation business, which now includes about 4,000 acres and 225 registered Holstein cows. In 2011, the Vanderwende family started a retail ice cream shop on their farm with help from the Sussex County Small Business Development Center. As it did with Hopkins Farm Creamery’s ice cream shop venture in Rehoboth Beach, the SBDC guided the Vanderwende family through the process of opening a retail ice creamery.

Mispillion River Brewing of Milford was the winner of the Delaware State Fair 2014 Battle of the Brews, People’s Choice Award, Brewery Division. In 2011, Eric and Megan Williams began the process of opening a craft brewery in Milford.Together, they consulted with Delaware Service Corps of Retired Executives and the SBDC to draft a business plan, complete with financial projections, to land them financing to open and operate their business. In 2013, Mispillion River Brewing opened the doors to its 5,000-square-foot Milford production facility, complete with tasting room.

The Burke Equipment Company of Newark, Felton and Delmar received a Delaware State Fair Directors’ Choice Award for Outstanding Exhibit 2012 and 2014.This family-owned business has continuously operated for over 60 years, offering equipment sales and rentals from, as well as service and parts for, brands like Kubota, Toro and Bobcat. In 2003, Burke Equipment financed operating expenses with SBA backing.

All of SBA’s programs and services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. For information on the SBA’s programs and services, call 302-573-6294 or go to