I remember the fun we used to have, as a kids, when we’d inherit an old appliance box, or other large cardboard container and design our own funky, make-believe playhouse. Apparently, even in the midst of a plethora of gadgets, games and techno-driven toys, playhouses are still in vogue.
Kids Crooked House, a Maine-based company, located in Windham, has been building playhouses for kids since 2004.
From the company’s website, we learn that “in 2004 cousins Glen Halliday and Jeff Leighton went on a quest to find a creative playhouse that was more than a shed and less than $10,000. They found nothing. After a little research and hours of cartoons, Glen drew up the plans for a playhouse that looked like it was built by a cartoon character. The drawing had angled walls, crooked windows, and a twisted roof. Many angled cuts later, the first Kids Crooked House was born."
Now, these Maine entrepreneurs are finalists in Yahoo!'s Ultimate Connection Contest, after being chosen from among 9,000 entries. If they win, they’ll receive a marketing makeover worth over $100,000. Don't forget to vote for the Maine guys!
While Haliday and Leighton’s business is on the way up, another local entrepreneur seems to have fallen off the map.
Susan Eminger, creator of the immensely popular dessert-stuffed berries that led her company, Eminger Berries to be featured on Paula Dean’s Home Cooking, on the Food Network and in Dean’s son’s cookbook, is closing down her Auburn operation and moving to Texas.
According to this morning’s Lewiston Sun-Journal, a city official, who spoke to Eminger on Wednesday, stated that Eminger Berries has “closed and, she (Eminger) is moving to Texas.” The official refused to give a reason for the closure and move, “out of respect to her.”
Eminger was one of eight local entrepreneurs on a panel I moderated back in March, at the Afox Small Business Conference. Like many of the entrepreneurs on the panel, which included Fuel’s Eric Agren, Eminger was very forthright in sharing with the audience the joys and also the pitfalls of entrepreneurship and life as a small businessperson.
The Sun-Journal article spoke with Jeremy Usher, from Firefly, in Damariscotta who said that a Google trends report on June 3rd listed Eminger Berries as 15th as the most searched phrase on Google. The 14th most-searched phrased happened to be “The Soprano’s Last Episode.”
Usher is quoted in the article as saying, “She seems to have vanished without a trace to most people.”
Entrepreneurship is fraught with pitfalls. Building a brand and delivering a product, even after reaching that elusive goal of popularity and success, doesn’t necessarily mean that things get easier.