As the small business librarian at Cecil County Public Library, I have the opportunity to work with all types of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. I’m amazed at their ideas as well as what motivates them start a business in the first place.

I recently worked with Pawtastic Organics, who have a very personal reason for starting their business: owner Lori Channell’s yellow Lab Abbey’s health. Abbey had many ailments and out of necessity, Channell changed her dog’s diet to more nutritious, home-cooked meals.  Channell saw dramatic improvements in her dog’s heath, and began to see a small business opportunity emerge in making healthy treats for animals.

Standing at the check-out counter at the North East Library with numerous “How to Start a Business” books, the librarian asked if she knew about CCPL’s Small Business Information Center.

She made an appointment with me and I shared information and resources on how to start a business. We discussed market research, sample business plans from similar businesses and a checklist on how to get licensed in Maryland. Channell said, “I was in awe of the librarian’s skills. I left her office thrilled with the fact that I knew I was moving in a direction to make Pawtastic Organics available to market.”

I then referred her to Ryan Del Gallo at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC offers another free service: mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs. They discussed the importance of a well-written business plan, successful use of technology and creating an online store. “With the help of the library and the SBDC,” Channell said, “I learned it is ok to ‘think big’, but the key is to stay grounded with a well written business plan.”

Pawtastic Organics bakes homemade healthy treats using only natural and/or organic ingredients for furry loved ones, including both dogs and horses.  To place your Pawtastic Organics treat order, visit:, email or call (443) 553-3697. Deliveries are every Friday to all of Cecil County and surrounding areas.

If you are considering starting a business, check out the free Small Business Information Center and turn your ideas into a reality.  If you’d like to make an appointment, call 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or at  To work with a business mentor, contact the Small Business Development Center at 443-373-3377.