Meet new SBDC business advisor Lisa Crum

July 18, 2022

Please join us to welcome Lisa Crum, one of the newest business advisors at the Miami Valley Small Business Development Center!

Born and raised in Beavercreek, Lisa just moved back to the area to be close to family. She comes home from Milwaukee, where she spent nearly 20 years running food businesses before stepping into the formal role of business advisor.

We recently caught up with Lisa to introduce her to the Launch Dayton community. Our conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Launch Dayton: Tell us about yourself!

Lisa: I grew up in Beavercreek, before I moved to Milwaukee — I was there 30 years and just moved back. While there, I opened a wholesale business that I ran for four years, then a retail business that I ran for 14 years. I sold that business to two of my employees. Between running my own businesses, I helped develop the bakery programs for local coffee chains Alterra Coffee Roasters and StoneCreek Coffee Roasters. When COVID hit, I was asked to jump in and help people access forgivable loans, etc. When I came back to Dayton, I was still advising Milwaukee business owners virtually. I reached out to Kim Woodbury to see about a position.

What are you most looking forward to in this role?

I love it, I love helping entrepreneurs. I’ve been in food business all my life, that’s my specialty. So SBDC is sending me a lot of food businesses. It’s great to teach them what not to do.  You don’t learn until you hit those bumps. I’m excited to help keep people from making the mistakes I made. They’ll have their own, but I can help them avoid some and make sure they’re set up for success and going into role they should be. When we moved back to Dayton, I didn’t want to stop advising businesses — this is exactly what I want to be doing. I’m excited to see next generation of businesses in this area and to help the community.

How did you get started as a foodpreneur?

When I started, the market for independent coffee shops was just taking off. I’m a baker — I was actually a pastry chef and waitress at Jay’s Seafood before I moved. When I moved to Milwaukee, I was the manager at a bread company, and I started making all of their sweet products. Customers asked why I didn’t do that on my own, so I wrote business plan and opened a wholesale operation to supply pastries to different coffee houses. I ran that company about five years and built up 36 accounts across Wisconsin. It was hard, really hard, and I was worn down by the end — it’s a 24/7 business, deliver at 3 a.m., bake all day. My business consultant told me to shut down and restructure. Three years later, the Milwaukee Public Market was opening. There was space for 22 vendors, and they reached out to me to be baker in the market. The market has grown since then, it was always busy, and I loved being there. It taught me a lot, it was really hard, but very rewarding. Two great employees bought it, and they’re doing an outstanding job keeping it going, and actually opened second location last year. They took over the business right before COVID.

What was your favorite part of running your business?

I liked playing around in the kitchen. We made everything from scratch  — lots of tortes and cakes. The big thing for the market was handheld items — cookies, bars, croissants and danishes from scratch. At our high point, we had 21 employees. There was an art school near the market, a lot of the employees were students there, and they’re so creative. It was fun playing around in the kitchen and teaching them.

Who are you off the clock?

I’m getting back to baking as a hobby. My niece is almost 7 years old, and she loves to bake — it’s fun to do with her. I also enjoy spending time with my two nephews. And I have a passion for dogs — I have two Doodles named Snicker Doodle and Minnie.

Connect with Lisa and the Miami Valley SBDC here.