ALPENA - The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce and MidMichigan Innovation Center teamed up to host the "Best Shot Sales Pitch Competition" last week in Alpena. At the event up and coming entrepreneurs were allowed to "pitch" their products and services for prizes that can be utilized to strengthen and promote their business plans. It was the first time the event, geared toward small business growth, has been held.
After the presentations, or pitches, were made, Ben and Chelsea Kline of Alpena were determined the winner for their startup company Ben Kline Farms. The couple moved to Alpena from Portland, Ore., and decided to begin taking steps to start their own business.
One of the things they have done is to use a Maple Ridge farm, and the crops that are grown there, as a way to provide fresh food to those in Alpena and as a way to make money. Chelsea Kline said "shares" of the farm will be sold and in return customers are assured produce delivered to their homes as it is harvested. Kline said they also are focused on all-natural, castile liquid soap and hopes to combine the two ideas for a larger business presence down the road.
"We want to make it affordable and offer something everyone can afford," Kline said. "Our goal is one day to have a general store where we will have soaps, produce and things like bulk food. We also want to provide a place where other growers can sell their product."
Ben Kline said when he learned about the sales pitch competition the couple decided to enter as a chance to promote their product and service, as well as selling them to potential customers.
"We started about a week before by writing ideas on paper and by practicing a lot," Kline said. "It really just kind of came together after that."
Ben Kline said his wife gave the presentation near the end of the event and although he knew it went well, he knew there was going to be some stiff competition. He said when Ben Kline Farms was announced the winner, he was pleasantly surprised.
"I knew we had a solid proposal, but I didn't really expect that we would win because the other pitches were so well done and such good ideas," Kline said. "It was a great opportunity for us, but we didn't go expecting to win."
Chelsea Kline said a website is now up and running that will allow people to order the soap. People can order via a credit card by logging into www.benklinefarms.com.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com