Behind the Scenes

Alternative funding: JK Brittleworks

For small food businesses like the ones working out of The Commissary, finding funding sources is a constant struggle. When we see examples of creative alternative funding sources, we love sharing them!

Jackie Ketchel was able to start her company, JK Brittleworks, with a $1,000 investment from her father. She was leery of going heavily into debt through taking out loans as she grew her new business, which makes small-batch cashew, pecan and pistachio brittles. But when she found the Samuel Adams “Brewing the American Dream” loan, the program was a welcome alternative to banks that were quick to offer credit cards or personal loans rather than small business loans to help entrepreneurs get up and running. 

“The Samuel Adams program not only loans small amounts, but they also offer seminars, one-on-ones remotely, and support your business on their site,” Jackie says. 

She needed just about $10,000 to upgrade her branding design, purchase UPC codes (an unexpectedly “crazy” cost!) and create a professional bag design. Today, you’ll spot JK Brittleworks' signature black-and-blue bags at many wine shops across Columbus (Jackie’s day job is in wine sales), including Meza Wine Shop in Westerville, Grain + Grape in Bexley, Corner Stone Craft Beer and Wine in Olde Town East, and Palmer's Beverage in Clintonville.

Those aforementioned UPC codes actually taught Jackie one of the biggest lessons she’s learned throughout the process of growing her business. She initially tried to save money by cutting corners on purchasing UPC codes, only to learn they were not registered in the GS1 database. In the end, her original purchase was a waste of money and time. 

“This was partly ignorance on my part, but I’ve learned,” she says. “You need to set up from the beginning as if you’re a million dollar company. Act like a million dollar company and you’ll get there. Well, I’m not there yet but I will be!”