SBDC Helps Secure Funding for Third Ice Cream Store

Jim Rafferty, one of the owners of butter’dudder ice cream stores, and Todd Anduze, a business consultant at the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC), have been connected for many years through community events in West Georgia. But it wasn’t until Rafferty was ready to open his third store that he turned to Anduze to utilize the resources of the UGA SBDC to grow the business. 

Rafferty and his sons had seen great success with their first two stores in Bremen and Carrollton, which opened in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Their stores are known for their fresh ingredients with twists on traditional ice cream, including innovative flavors like Strawberry Basil, Vietnamese Coffee Oreo and Sweet Potato Casserole. The stores were so successful that they added two ice cream trucks to the mix, appropriately named The Blue Moo and Cream Force One, to help cover the demand for corporate events and parties. They also started an ice cream truck route at the request of their customers.

Rafferty was looking for funds to open a store in Monroe and needed assistance applying for an SBA loan. He knew he could turn to the UGA SBDC. Rafferty and Anduze, who is based at the UGA SBDC at University of West Georgia, worked together to develop a business plan, financial projections, a traffic analysis and demographic information to include with the application.

Ongoing Partnership with SBDC

The loan application was approved, and the Monroe store opened in March 2023. Now, Rafferty and Anduze are digging a little deeper into the numbers of the business by adjusting how Rafferty uses QuickBooks.

“He (Anduze) has shown me how to segment different expenses and break out profitability by store,” said Rafferty.

Meanwhile, Anduze relishes the opportunity to work with clients like Rafferty because of the personal approach Rafferty takes in their business relationship.

“The thing that was most refreshing and unique about Jim was just the way he brought me into his team,” said Anduze. “I love building rapport and trust, and with accounting it’s important to have that trust. The way he has brought me in to his team gives me even more of that drive to make sure he is successful. He makes me feel like family. Now he is bringing me in on his strategy, planning and budgeting. And we would love that for every one of our UGA SBDC clients.”

Rafferty wants butter’dudder to be a success, but not just for profit. Each of his three sons will have the option of running their own store.

“The whole reason we are doing this is to leave a legacy for my sons, my family,” said Rafferty. “I want them to have something they can work at. Be their own boss. Experience the American dream of working for yourself, and having a product that people enjoy.”

When asked about the keys to the success of his business, Rafferty said picking a niche business where there is a void and providing great service are important.

“I think that’s the foundation of a successful business of any kind,” he said. “In this case, it was premium ice cream that wasn’t available in our area. Everyone loves ice cream. So we filled that void.”

Rafferty has taken advantage of several UGA SBDC training classes but appreciates the one-on-one consultation he gets from Anduze the most. Rafferty plans to maintain his relationship with the UGA SBDC.

UGA SBDC is Here to Serve

“I keep asking him, ‘Are you sure we can’t pay you for this?’ And Todd just tells me no, this is what the SBDC does,” said Rafferty. “You can feel his enthusiasm for his job. He really loves to dig into the details and help people. He just goes over the top.” 

“You won’t find an organization like the SBDC whose only drive is the success of a business. We want to be part of your team. We are not in it for the money,” said Anduze. “The better we get integrated in a business, the better information we can give on how to survive hardships and thrive in the future.”

For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762
Photos Courtesy of butter’dudder