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April 25, 2018

Two Portland-area businesses win SCORE Champion Award

Photo / Fyood, championship.score.org
Photo / Fyood, championship.score.org
Fyood Kitchen of Portland, owned by Maddie Purcell, was one of two small Maine businesses named a 2018 SCORE Champion.

Two Portland-area businesses are state winners in the the 2018 American Small Business Championship by SCORE earlier this month. Fyood Kitchen, of Portland, and Dental Lace, owned by a Cape Elizabeth woman, are among 102 businesses nationally to get the designation.

The businesses now compete for three $15,000 grand prizes, which will be named in December.

Fyood Kitchen, 72 Parris St., in Portland, owned by Maddie Purcell, allows groups to put on their own cooking competition.

Dental Lace, owned by Jodi Breau, of Cape Elizabeth, produces environmentally friendly dental floss, were Maine's two champions.

To enter the competition, the businesses had to answer the question "What makes your business one of the best small businesses in your community?" The answer could be by video, or with a photo and written response of 1,000 characters or less. Businesses also had to get at least 100 votes to be eligible to win. Final state winners were picked by a panel of judges.

Businesses were judged on "dedication to success," and winners got an all-expense paid trip to a training and networking event, which is taking place this week in Reno, Nev. They also get SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year.

"Fyood isn't just a cooking competition business," Purcell said in her contest application. "We're a connection company that happens to be in a professional kitchen and include a delicious meal. In our increasingly digital age, people are searching for a social experience that fully immerses them in the present and creates lasting memories. Fyood challenges players to use their knife skills and their soft skills at the same time, producing uniquely engaging events designed for collaboration, creativity, and laughter. Finally, Fyood's mystery baskets provide an innovative platform for producers and consumers to meet each other, enabling us to promote our amazing local food ecosystem."

Purcell had to describe ways her business has been successful, and how it will grow.

"Over the past year, Fyood has hosted Valentine's gala dinners, small business team buildings, cafe pop-ups, family reunions, sports league post games, birthday parties from ages 12 to 65, and hundreds of date nights in between," she wrote. "We started 2017 with a successful Kickstarter campaign and ended it with securing our first trademark. We've expanded the team, gone through an accelerator program, and developed the operational systems that will allow us to multiply our events, grow our market position, and increase our profits in the year to come. We've built partnerships with other local food businesses, paving the way for joint success and further enabling Fyood to fulfill its mission to create outstanding cooking experiences."

Eco-friendly dental floss

Photo / Cental Lace, championship.score.org
Photo / Cental Lace, championship.score.org
Dental Lace was one of two Maine businesses named a 2018 SCORE Champion.

Breau, owner of Dental Lace, is a former school librarian.

"Don't worry I'm not a dentist," she wrote in her entry submission. "I'm not going to lecture you about the health benefits of flossing. What I can tell you is, there is no environmental benefit to plastic dental floss."

She said that Dental Lace Refillable Floss is eco-friendly, made with biodegradable silk floss. "Our first-year sales have gone from 0-1,200 sales per week. It is sold in 25 countries and 36 U.S. stores, plus Amazon and our online store. In addition to creating an eco-friendly product we maintain a sustainable business. We are also committed to purchasing materials and services from our local community."The business is also committed to buying local.

She also said that the company is run by "frugal Mainers" who manage it with no outside investment.

"We watch our numbers closely and act accordingly. We use free services to keep our expenses low."

The three grand prizes will be based on how effectively the state winners used their prize to grow their business in terms of revenue compared to the same time last year, adding her hirs, getting new financing or signing a contract with a client or sale, or opening a physical or web location.

It's also based on how well they used media and social media to raise public awareness of the championship, their business and SCORE.

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