In 2017, Sara Fludd and her family relocated from cold-weather Connecticut to sunny St. Petersburg, Florida. What began as an idea fueled by Sara's passion for baking and past experience in catering, blossomed into a one-of-a-kind business. Pop Goes the Waffle serves up delicious liege waffles (authentic Belgian waffles) on a stick! After starting the business, Sara contacted the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) for advice on how to keep business booming.
“I reached out because I knew that there would be resources at the SBDC to help me kind of get it all organized and to stop the analysis paralysis. And that’s exactly what happened,” she said. “Initially, the SBDC at Pinellas County helped me organize my thoughts. It helped open up doors for some resources that were available just for information about opening up a kitchen. I just can’t say enough about the resources. There are resources for everything with the SBDC at Pinellas County.”
Yolanda Cowart, procurement specialist at the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Florida SBDC at PCED assisted Sara with tools and resources to help the business continue to grow. “She just helped me kind of quarterly stay on track and to think forward,” Fludd said. “At that point we started thinking about growth. It is very helpful to have people that are knowledgeable about business practices to help you stay focused because entrepreneurs – when you’re wearing lots of different hats, it’s very easy to get off track. Ongoing, we still touch base frequently. We’re talking about scale now, we’re talking about SBA funding, we’re talking about grants that the city of St. Petersburg has. It’s just a never-ending source of information for my business.”
Pop Goes the Waffle has experienced much growth since its inception, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic which caused Fludd to shutter business and park the food truck temporarily. She continued to work with the Florida SBDC at PCED throughout that difficult time. “I feel incredibly fortunate that she [Yolanda Cowart] was the one that suggested we apply for an EIDL loan [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] through the SBA. That kept us afloat when there was no business. That probably is the thing that made a difference in us being able to sustain and not lose business and not potentially have to close during the pandemic,” Fludd said.
“I just want to say that the organization is such a phenomenal resource and it’s [a breadth and depth of resources]. It’s truly a one-stop shop and I really can’t say enough good things about it.
Pop Goes the Waffle continues to work with The Florida SBDC at PCED making sweet dreams come true!