PDI Blog

Humboldt business owner named SBA's Iowa Small Business Person of the Year

Deb Davis of Sister’s Homestyle Entrees in Humboldt Named  

SBA’s 2015 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year


(DES MOINES, Iowa) – The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Deb Davis, CEO of Sister’s Homestyle Entrees in Humboldt as its 2015 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year. 

Growing up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Deb Davis learned from a young age the satisfaction of working hard to create a home cooked meal and the value that comes from the time spent enjoying that meal with family. 

In 2010, Deb noticed that many of her friends and family were so busy in their lives that finding time to prepare a home cooked meal was becoming more difficult. As a result, mealtimes were rushed and the family time around the dinner table that Deb valued so much growing up suffered. With over 25 years of experience in the food service industry, Deb decide she wanted to provide a service that would make the family meal time she valued so much available to those who were short on time. She combined her values and her skills to develop what is now Sister’s Homestyle Entrees. 

Sister’s Homestyle Entrees offers home cooked, pre-packaged, entrées that are ready to thaw, heat and eat. Meals can be picked up at the business or shipped directly to the customer. Orders can be made in person, by phone or on the company Web site.  

Deb’s original intention was for Sister’s Homestyle Entrees to be more of a “hobby” in her retirement that just happened to provide a service in the community. Shortly after opening Sister’s she realized just how much demand there was for the service. Sister’s has gone from packaging 200 meals a month to 42,000 meals a month in just three years. 

When Deb opened her business in early 2011 she operated out of a temporary facility with several upright freezers and only one employee -  her husband Bret.  Since then, the business has gone through several expansions and upgrades and has 33 full-time employees. When Deb needed help navigating through that expansion process, she turned to the Iowa Small Business Development Centers and their North Central Iowa SBDC in Fort Dodge. 

The SBDC worked with Deb on a new business plan which helped her secure funding for a business expansion that included an $847,000 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 Fixed Asset Financing Program. With this funding, Sister’s will expand from two buildings totaling 4,800 square feet to a new, 30,000 square foot facility. This facility includes offices, a conference room and an employee gym in addition to the expanded production area that has individual departments for kitchen, packaging and shipping. 

In her success, Deb has not lost sight of those who helped her company get to where it is today – her staff and her community. She takes every opportunity to thank and reward them for their support. In her new building, Deb included a gym and locker room that staff can use before and after work. She gives back to the community through various fundraisers and through donations to local shelters. Deb also welcomes special needs individuals from Westfork Services, Inc., a facility in Humboldt where those with special needs can go to learn life skills. 

“The SBA is extremely honored to recognize Deb Davis as Iowa’s Small Business Person of the Year,” said Jayne Armstrong, director of the SBA’s Iowa District Office. “It is small businesses like Sister’s Homestyle Entrees that are leading Iowa’s economic growth.” 

The award will be presented to Deb at the Iowa Smart Conference in Des Moines on May 7th. The SBA also plans to re-present the award at a special ceremony in Humboldt at a later date this spring. 

Deb was nominated for this award by Jamie Kilian – Regional Director of the North Central Iowa Small BusinessDevelopment Center in in Fort Dodge. 

In recognition of the small business community’s contributions to the American economy and society, the President of the United States designates one week each year as National Small Business Week. Scheduled for the week of May 4th of this year, Small Business Week 2015 will honor the more than 28 million small businesses in America. Since its establishment in 1963, the highlight of this annual tradition is the presentation of awards which focus on the outstanding contributions of small business persons at the district, state and national levels.  

For more information on Small Business Week 2015, visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsb.

Written by PDI
Categories :

Comments on this post