The Crafty Coop, LLC

The Crafty Coop, LLC is a new paint your own pottery and craft studio. The business celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 01st.  Owner Laci Todd opened the business so patrons can paint their own individual, pre-made pottery pieces and can pick up their masterpieces after the glazing and firing is completed.

Todd’s inspiration for her business traces back to her childhood when her grandmother used to take her out to paint pottery and she has carried down this tradition to her children.

Last summer, Todd participated in the Macomb Downtown Retail Competition which was organized by the City of Macomb and facilitated by the IL Small Business at WIU. At first, she was hesitant about applying because of her already tight schedule but eventually, she decided that she would jump in with both feet and attend the classes and the workshops.

There she learned about writing her own business plans and developing her business pitch. Although she didn’t win the competition, she got the necessary drive she needed to start and now she has realized her dream of opening her own craft studio.

Todd didn’t plan on opening the crafty coop until next year but everything seemed to fall into place for the business.

“I consider opening the store as my first milestone in this business as I have never done anything like it before. I feel very lucky because everything has been falling in place, people are excited about the studio and I have access to a pottery mentor in Quincy as well as the SBDC which gave me the tools and the confidence I needed to start out”.

She also has been given plenty of advice from Jim Boyd with the Small Business Development Centre at Western Illinois University. “Since the workshop for the Downtown competition, I have been speaking with Jim Boyd, the Director of the SBDC at WIU. He provided direction for me when it came to selecting the right business structure for the business amongst other and has consistently offered advisory assistance and guidance to get the business to where it is today”

At the moment, Todd has only one person working with her which is her husband and he has been very supportive of the business even before inception. Todd still works two jobs including a full-time, four day a week job along with raising her two children while opening the new business.


Monk River Bicycle - Colchester, IL

“I knew how to work on bikes, but I did not know how to start a business. The SBDC helped me with the legality of it; helped me get a license and a tax permit. I was glad that I was able to make this happen but I could not have made it happen without the SBDC.”


Monk River Bicycle is located in Colchester Illinois and is open for business. For more information about Will check out his website

Koreana Restaurant

Amber Jorden, Started Koreana Restaurant in Galesburg Illinois. She is an Army Veteran who came back to start her small business with her family and has worked hard to achieve her American dream. With the help of the Small Business Development Center, her dream became a reality.  If you’re ever in the area check out her business.


M&M Shrimp Shack - Mendon, IL

"The Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University was instrumental for the initial phase of M&M Shrimp Shack and continues to provided support as we enter our first year of production. The staff provided advice and resource information for licensing, registration, and tax information. Jim, Greg, and Dana are always available to answer any questions that arise along the way. They assisted in our website design and various promotional material, such as, flyers and hand-out materials. Advertising opportunities were also provided through press releases and local news station coverage. We plan to continue utilizing the skills, knowledge and resources offered at the SBDC as our business continues to grow. It is nice to have experts available to answer questions that will inevitably come up in the beginning stages of any business."


Marty Douglas and Mike Finlay of M & M Shrimp Shack,LLC, Mendon, IL