BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES
Schultz's Country Barn
Carlene Schultz wanted to start a small craft shop using a small garage on her family property. For almost 40 years, the site for her shop was used as part of the family's pumpkin patch business; but when the season was over, the garage stood empty. Not long after Carlene decided to use the garage, her family sold off the cows occupying a barn and she now had an even larger, empty space. Her children encouraged her to use the now empty barn as part of her shop. What was known since 1947 as The Schultz Farm was to become Schultz's Country Barn, LLC.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed with starting a business, Carlene sought assistance. She was directed to Western Dairyland by an acquaintance that owns a similar business. She received technical assistance through a Western Dairyland Business Development Specialist and began attending Western Dairyland events and the annual business conference. The Business Development Specialist helped Carlene figure out what types of insurance she needed to carry and write a business plan, including financial projections. "I was really naive when it came to the insurance I needed. Western Dairyland helped me sort that out."
Schultz's Country Barn opened in September 2006, but was only open a few days a week. However, the business grew and about one and a half years ago, Schultz's Country Barn was open for business year round. The barn required some renovating, but the interior of the barn still has the original timbers, some cow stanchions and drinking cups. Above the shop, a loft is available for rent and the barnyard has a collection of animals, including goats, chickens, llamas and a donkey. In addition, Schultz's Country Barn, LLC boasts a corn maze. They have had a corn maze for the last four years; however, last year's maze, featured a likeness of former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre and garnered a lot of attention due to Favre's move to the New York Jets. The Schultz's make plans for a new corn maze every year. The design this year features a soldier and an eagle on an American flag background and the words "Thank You" under the design. A portion of the maze proceeds go to the "Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund" - a scholarship fund for children who have lost a parent in war - and veterans are admitted free. Carlene says she is grateful to those who serve and personally thanks the veterans who come through her maze.
Schultz's Country Barn sells a variety of hand-made items including jewelry, furniture, rugs, quilts and candles. The store is stocked with seasonal produce and farm fresh eggs as well. Once an avid crafter, Carlene has approximately 60 individuals who make the homemade items found in her store and sells them on consignment. Running a growing business does not allow much time for crafting, but business is good. Carlene says the business "turned out a lot more than anticipated…I am seeing so many repeat customers". When approached by entrepreneurial-minded women, Carlene always directs them to Western Dairyland Women's Business Center.