The co-owners of Serendipities Cupcakes in Lincoln were facing the prospect of closing their business when the timely expertise offered by Roger McCullough, procurement technical assistance counselor with the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), began opening new doors.
“Roger helped us get qualified on the SAM (System for Awards Management) for obtaining contracts with government agencies, and he advised us on how to submit our bids,” says Terrie Urtel, who co-owns the cupcake business along with Karen Lamb. “This has saved our business. Now we make in a week what we used to make in a month.”
Serendipities Cupcakes was launched in 2011. Urtel also runs LuLu’s Lunchery at 48th Street and Cornhusker Highway in Lincoln, formerly a restaurant that she now operates as a catering business.
In 2013, Urtel contacted the NBDC office in Lincoln to get advice on a business plan and explore the possibility of franchising. At the time, procurement technical assistance counselor Jason Bousquet gave her several suggestions for selling her products to commercial organizations and to the Nebraska National Guard. She was also referred to Zack Zimmerman, associate director of the NBDC office at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, for assistance in developing a business plan.
The following year, McCullough gave Urtel several leads for catering events with the Nebraska National Guard and helped her set up an account with Fedbid.com, which notifies clients of open solicitations for specific types of product sales or services. He also helped her complete her SAM registration in November 2015, after overcoming several issues she encountered along the way. One month later, Serendipities Cupcakes obtained the first of many contracts it has secured with the Nebraska National Guard.
“We are booked for catering with the National Guard for training sessions almost every day in July,” Urtel says. “We will cook and serve 300 to 400 meals each day.”
McCullough and the NBDC continue to offer advice and support on a regular basis, Urtel says.
“He has always been willing to act as our advocate and help us any way he can,” she says. “I feel like I can call him up anytime and say, ‘Hey, Roger,’ and he’ll have the answers we need.”