2009 Emerging Business of the Year

Ewe Specialties, LLC & Special Occasions

  • Owner: Louaine Knoll & Sondra Baird
  • Nature of Business: Bulk nuts, candies, party supplies & wedding rentals
  • City: Garden City
  • County: Finney County
  • Phone: 620-272-0062
  • Email: ewespecialites@sbcglobal.net
  • Website: www.ewespecialties.com
  • Business Structure: LLC
  • Business Began: 2006
  • Employees: 2
  • KSBDC Consultant: Cristina Aslin

Secret to Success:

"We found a niche that no one was filling and utilized Louaine's creativity and Sonnie's dynamic spirit to build the business."

A store where the primary purpose is to make people smile was the ultimate goal of Sondra "Sonnie" Baird and Louaine Knoll. Sonnie had served in public positions for 35 years and felt it was time for a change. Louaine was running Perfect Occasions, a party/wedding business out of her home and wanted a retail facility. Working together they formed a business that incorporated both new items and the party supplies & wedding rental business. It has been both fun and profitable for them. The nut and candy stores in larger cities appealed to them and they thought it would work in Garden City. They came to GCCC KSBDC for information on getting started. "We knew what we wanted but had no clue what to do. Our consultant really got us centered so we felt comfortable getting started," said Sonnie.

The name, Ewe Specialties, has two meanings. When Sonnie, in her first year of teaching, was reading to her students and came across the word "ewe" in a sentence she didn't know the word so she called it "ee-we" and now the story is still told by other teachers and her former students. They also made the acronym "Elate yourself With Exquisite nuts and candies" for the business.

Establishing a business meant finding distributors and products and establishing the market. The GCCC KSBDC assisted with resources and provided research to find great products for their customers. The store was quickly a success and their gift boxes go all over the country. They have over 150 different types of candies, nuts and snacks. "I just love it," said a customer, "I can get just a little bit of something that is tempting or I can buy a bunch for a party. This is such a great store!"

Sonnie & Louaine love their ability to make decisions for the business quickly and be flexible as entrepreneurs. Their favorite thing is watching new customers come through the door and seeing their eyes widen in amazement at the colorful bins of candy. "We just love to see them smile!"

Louaine, left, and Sonnie greet customers with a smile

"We didn't even know where to begin so we went to the KSBDC. Our consultant helped us work through all the details with us. The staff there is great, if they don't know it, they'll find it! We appreciate having the resource to continue to call upon as needed."
Sonnie Baird & Louaine Knoll, Owners