It all started with a passion, an idea, and pie! On November 11, 2012 it came into fruition when Annika and Robert Corbin opened their bakeshop in Claremont CA. Prior to the grand opening of I Like PIE, Annika and Rob had to overcome obstacles in what would become a long and rewarding process. The Corbins began by getting a general idea of where the shop would be located; they had sufficient equity injections, but needed assistance in getting a business loan to cover the rest of their startup costs.
Before seeking help from the Inland Empire SBDC’s outreach center in Upland California, the Corbins tried to obtain bank loans several times, but were unsuccessful. “We ended up going to almost 60 banks looking for financing” – “everybody said “well, it’s a great idea, great concept, but 90% of all restaurants will fail in the first year and it’s just not a good investment.” says Rob Corbin about the rejections they faced.
With the help of Robert Usher, business consultant at the IE SBDC’s Ontario office; Annika and Rob developed a business plan, marketing plan, and financial projections to present to their lender. The Corbins received good news; they had secured preliminary approval for their loan. After being rejected so many times, they were optimistic about finally getting the funds to begin constructing their project. Initially the Corbin’s decided to begin their business construction using their personal funds, but halfway through construction, their lender notified them of their loan rejection.
Disillusioned, the Corbin’s were on the verge of giving up; but instead they decided to return to the Orange County/ Inland Empire SBDC. The SBDC then referred them to SCE Federal Credit Union where they finally secured a $200,000 SBA-guaranteed loan that allowed them to finish their project. Annika and Robert Corbin speak about the support that Robert Usher was to helping them overcome this obstacle, “He provided us with good data and leads and always came with a different perspective and idea to try.”
I Like PIE Bakeshop had a successful opening and created such a buzz in the community that they had to stop taking orders a week before the Thanksgiving holiday and sold out all of their products on the first day they opened. Since then, the business has created 14 jobs, has continued growth in sales each month and had multiple franchise offers. For now, the Corbins are happy to simply focus on growing and developing the existing store and continue their passion of making pies.
For more information on how the OC/IE SBDC can help you, call (657) 278-2719