The Granny Squibb Company, LLC
Robin Squibb had such fond memories of her Granny (Sarah Harris Squibb) that she wanted to share them with the world. No matter who dropped by or where she went, her grandmother’s hospitality was always at the ready with a refreshing glass of homemade iced tea. Granny’s recipe was handed down through generations of Squibbs to the delight of friends and neighbors. It was their genuine enjoyment of Granny’s homemade beverage that encouraged Robin to consider marketing the product that conjured images of her beloved grandmother.
Having been in the film industry for many years, Robin was tiring of the hectic pace of life in NY, and the travel that came with the role of a successful script supervisor. Her experiences dealing with all types of personalities both on and off the set prepared her well for commercializing a product. Some of those challenges involved accessing the proper resources to begin her journey. After attending a Power Up! networking session offered by the Center for Women and Enterprise, she was referred to the RI Small Business Development Center’s Providence Metro Regional Director, Sixcia Devine. Taking stock of Robin’s progress, Sixcia recommended she work with RISBDC Consultant, Elizabeth Pierotti, and the Innovation Monday program, a series of online “gateways” ensuring completion of critical tasks at each stage of product development.
The Innovation Monday program kept Robin focused on completing the necessary work in each phase of product development. In addition to testing three different food chemists’ commercial versions of Granny Squibb’s recipe, the RISBDC connected Robin with Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts’ Chef Gary Welling and his student volunteers, who performed a taste test on the chemists’ versions. Their recommendations proved valuable to Robin and allowed her to go back to one of the chemists with instructions for the final product.
She pursued conversations with local dairy farmers, distributors and bottling companies, as well as the local public relations and advertising firm, Duffy & Shanley. Duffy & Shanley’s Peter Marchinetti was instrumental in creating the product label, an interesting mix of color and black and white pictures along with the tag line, astonishingly delicious!
Through her networking efforts, Robin happened to find a distributor looking for an iced tea brand. It was then that she decided to contract with a bottling company.
The first commercial batch of Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea™ was produced and bottled! In addition to her product development, Robin took advantage of the RISBDC’s consultant services for other aspects of her business. Sixcia Devine assigned financial consultant Jim Crisafulli to help Robin craft a financial plan. With the help of a Johnson & Wales University student, she now has a QuickBooks accounting system in place for ease in tracking her business finances. In addition to all the RISBDC’s resources, Robin has also pursued advice from Every Company Counts Microbusiness Roundtable.
Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea™ is currently in several local establishments throughout Rhode Island. Robin continues to approach supermarkets and local stores where she holds “samplings” of her product. The response has been fabulous! Not only is she getting positive feedback from everyone who tries her iced tea, many of them are making a beeline into the stores to purchase it!
“Anyone starting out in business needs a support system. It’s important to connect with the right resources, and the RISBDC was that link for me. They have experienced business counselors and proven programs like Innovation Monday and Elizabeth Pierotti, who navigate the process with you. They work with their clients to succeed.” --Robin Squibb