Culinary Oil Business Growing With Help From Michigan SBDC
Grand Traverse Culinary Oils produces canola and sunflower oil from locally grown, non-GMO seeds. Owner Bill Koucky says the business wouldn't be where it is today without the help he's received from the Northwest Michigan Small Business Development Center. Watch the video to find out more.
Bill Koucky is in the oil business, but he doesn’t drill for it. At Grand Traverse Culinary Oils Koucky makes edible oil from canola and sunflower seeds.
“We produce locally grown canola and sunflower oil, both plain varieties and spiced oils in several different varieties,” said Koucky.
He started out growing canola to produce biodiesel fuel for his tractor but his plans changed.
“It soon became very apparent that the value of the canola was way higher than could be possibly used for fuel,” said Koucky.
As he was changing his focus from biodiesel to culinary oil, Koucky found out about a business training class being offered by the Small Business Development Center in Traverse City. The class helped Koucky evaluate the feasibility of his business concept and develop a business plan.
“Getting the business plan done and presented opened opportunities for my SBA loan and a USDA loan,” said Koucky. “Without that class and the business plan I would have never been there.”
Koucky says the business plan wasn’t the only way the SBDC class helped his business.
“It’s been very powerful for me, just all the connections I’ve made,” said Koucky. “It’s jump started everything.”
Koucky is finding a niche for his healthy, cold pressed oils made from locally grown, non-GMO seeds. His oils are available in stores locally and downstate and Koucky says ongoing assistance from the SBDC is helping his business grow.
“It’s going to be a very successful business because he’s been so diligent in taking the right steps to make it happen,” said Annie Olds, SBDC Small Business Consultant.
“It’s been really nice to have someone to bounce ideas off,” said Koucky. “Without doing the business plan, without the consultation I’ve gotten, I know I wouldn’t be here today.”