Small business class on Lopez open to all islands

For those who have an exciting business idea but need a little instruction on the basics of running a successful enterprise, the perfect class is coming up on Lopez this fall.

The Lopez Island Family Resource Center (LIFRC), in collaboration with the San Juan County Economic Development Council and Washington CASH (Community Alliance for Self-Help), is presenting an eight-week course on running a small business. Classes begin Sept. 30 and will be held on Tuesdays at Lopez School from 7-9 p.m. All San Juan County residents are welcome to participate, and classes have been scheduled to coordinate with the fall ferry schedule.

The course will cover the building blocks of how to start a small business and keep it thriving. “It’s helpful for someone who has an idea and needs the basics for how to sustain the business,” said LIFRC Program Coordinator Patsy Haber, who added that the class is also geared for those who currently run a business and would like to learn more about the process. All participants should come with an idea if they are not currently a small business owner.

Instructor Jamie Stephens, who has a background in sales and marketing and previously owned the Edenwild Inn on Lopez, will begin the class with personal finance, organization, and self-evaluation and apply these fundamentals towards developing a business plan for students. Stephens taught the class last year, with 19 participants from all the major islands: Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw.

Additional topics covered by the course include financial goals and tools for measurement, market analysis, cost analysis, exploring profitability, feasibility analysis, marketing and operating plans, record-keeping, and taxes. Workbooks with hands-on exercises will be supplemented by lectures, discussions, and Q&A sessions from business professionals. Like last year, an attorney, an accountant, and a representative from a lending institution will share their expertise with the class.

Graduates of the course will have access to other services provided by Washington CASH, including microlending and support from its advisory panel.

For questions or to sign up for the class, please contact Patsy Haber at the Lopez Island Family Resource Center by email at or by phone at 360-468-4117. There is a $10 fee for the class and pre-registration is required.

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