The adage “necessity is the mother of invention” is certainly true in the case of Jillian Korugic’s transition from running an in-home daycare business to opening a mobile kitchen featuring family-style home cooking. When the pandemic forced Jillian to close her daycare business in early 2020, her friends half-jokingly suggested she use the extra time to make them dinner. Jillian realized a lot of families were very stressed by trying to juggle virtual schooling and working from home, and that offering them an easy dinner alternative was a way she could help. Hence the idea to open “Jillian’s Farmstead Kitchen” serving the northern reaches of Rockingham County was born.

Using Start Smart for Ironing Out the Details

As she began planning the start-up, Jillian says the details felt overwhelming. From taxes to health department regulations to how to get the word out about the business, there was a lot of ground to cover. When someone suggested she get assistance from the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, Jillian decided the SBDC’s expertise could help her navigate the challenges.  She first took the SV SBDC’s Start Smart workshop and discovered “It was exactly what I needed – checklists, training, experience from those that have dealt with opening a business before. I was thrilled to have such guidance!” She goes on to say that her business advisor helped her stay focused and set realistic goals. The bonus was having someone there with “real world experience” to walk her through all the ins and outs of the business side of her cooking.

Getting Connected to Other Start-Up Resources

Working with an SBDC advisor also gave Jillian the benefit of being connected to additional resources in the community that would aid in getting her business going. Jillian’s advisor introduced her to a Bridgewater College marketing class to assist her with creating and distributing a survey. The survey and the student’s input helped her understand her potential customers and how best to reach them.

Staying True to Her Original Small Business Vision

Being able to tap into the right kind of help that was targeted for her specific business model has been a great way for Jillian to transition to a new business and still maintain the original vision she had for being in business in the first place.  She says the rewards of being a small business owner were always “Being able to watch my son grow. The entire reason I offered daycare was helping my family financially while being able to stay with my own son. So, the shift to this has been amazing too. The food truck stays parked at our house so I can cook day to day while he plays in the yard etc. It works great!”

And her busy customers are thrilled with the results. “Jillian Korugic you are awesome…We eat out a lot and I’ve been looking for a better option. I ordered dinner from Jillian’s Farmstead, and we were not disappointed. Lovely healthy salad, sourdough bread, and pasta bake. We even have enough for another meal…took less than 45 minutes in the oven and 10 minutes to set up and clean up.”

As for the assistance received from the SBDC, Jillian credits them for guiding her along the way to success: “I would absolutely recommend their services to any small business owner that needs any guidance – there is most likely someone there that has been through something similar, and you can learn from their expertise!”

Keeping Up with Jillian’s Farmstead Kitchen

Want to check out Jillian’s Farmstead Kitchen as an option for making your busy life easier? Check out the details for ordering, payment, and pickup above. You’ll find the latest menus on Facebook.

What can Start Smart and business advising available through the SV SBDC do for your growth-oriented business? Check out our Workshops & Events page or Contact Us for more information!