Success Story: Happy Valley Soup Company

Greg and Mary Kay Williams are husband and wife who both own and operate Happy Valley Soup Company. They first came to the SBDC in 2004 to discuss different business ideas. In 2008 Happy Valley Soup Company began manufacturing their own soup with operations and manufacturing done locally in Spring Mills.

In 2019, Greg and Mary Kay came back to the SBDC asking for assistance to determine if selling their product to grocery stores would be profitable. Will Hooten, SBDC consultant, realized that their current process for making those decisions needed upgraded. Will created a formula based on fixed and variable costs to determine the profitability of any revenue stream. General business advice was also given on Search Engine Optimization and a consultation on how to better account for products on a per unit basis.

Greg and Mary Kay were then referred to Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC). Dana Gordon, director of client services, connected them with an ERP expert. Greg was able to learn the pros and cons of selecting a system that integrates with Quick- Books versus replacing his QuickBooks software altogether. Greg was made aware that IMC offers services to help with the selection of the right ERP system and that IMC is currently providing those services to companies in State College. Although the services came at a cost, they could apply for the ARC PA MAKES grant, which would reimburse the business for 50% of the cost. Other services offered included bringing in a consultant with expertise in supply chain, alternative suppliers, and contacts to automate processes. All these efforts are being put forth to set Happy Valley Soup Company up for success to expand their business operations.

Happy Valley Soup was also able to tap into the Global Access Program (GAP), a reimbursable grant program used to offset costs associated with international market development. The GAP is administered locally by Regional Export Network partner, SEDA-COG’s Export Development Program. Greg was able to put this grant award to good use for his exhibition at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June where he was able to meet and discuss opportunities with numerous international buyers.

“Greg and Mary Kay have been able to utilize the local entrepreneur ecosystem by working with the Penn State SBDC, Ben Franklin, IMC, PennTAP, and SEDA-COG’s Export Development Program. The collabo-ration has been able to put multiple eyes on the business to assist in identifying and remediating shortcomings and providing consultation on their expansion,” said SBDC Consultant Will Hooten.