Studio B officially opened at 110 Northeast Front Street, offering printing, design and artistic support services
In spring 2023, Brianna Westover and her husband, Ben Kepler, learned that they were recipients of an Encouraging Development, Growth and Expansion (EDGE) grant from the State of Delaware. Using the funds from the grant, the couple opened Studio B, a printing studio with a twist.
“We worked for a print shop for ten years,” Westover said. “While we were on our honeymoon, we stopped in a print shop because we needed some things printed and were amazed at how cool it looked. We looked at each other and said “this is beautiful, we can totally do this.” And, here we are.”
According to Kepler, the print shop they visited in Seattle offered more than just standard printing services. They also had unique items available for sale for travel use, organization and décor. For this reason, Studio B, named in recognition of the couple’s first names, will also be an art supply plus studio space.
“This was the Delaware Eye Center,” Kepler said. “Each of the examination room has been converted to a rentable studio space. We are also offering a cyclical art gallery where local artists will be able to display and sell their art.”
Currently, in addition to print and design options, Studio B also offers notary services and hopes to be a mail drop off location in the next few months. The goal of the entire studio is to promote professional assistance as well as a supportive, creative environment for independent creators. Westover and Kepler hope to provide access to high-end equipment that are typically out of reach for many smaller artists and creators.
Westover explained that the EDGE grant was instrumental in helping them achieve their dream.
“Just over a year ago, the idea of becoming business owners was still evolving from a farfetched dream to a realistic possibility. As we were developing the idea for the studio and engaging in the planning process, we realized that while we had extensive experience in the print and design industries, we would need guidance navigating the world of business. We reached out to SCORE DE and the DE Small Business Development Center and were connected with our wonderful business advisor Lissette Cabrera-Galloza with DE SBDC,” Westover said. “From our first conversation she was a wealth of information, we learned that the State of Delaware is incredible at encouraging entrepreneurship and heavily invests in the growth and development of small business owners. We learned that the EDGE Grant application window was just around the corner, with applications being due in late March. We decided to go for it. Throughout the process of researching and writing the grant application the SBDC assisted with access to case studies, demographic and market analysis data, as well as review of the written application before submitting the final version.
The couple already had a draft preliminary business plan, but say the process of researching and writing the EDGE Grant application gave invaluable insight into developing a clear and concise plan and narrative of what they would offer as part of Studio B.
“In addition to the infusion of capital for essential equipment, the EDGE Grant opened doors to networking within the Milford area and beyond, always pointing us in the right direction with introductions to Kent County Regional Business Manager and Delaware on Main Statewide Coordinator, Anastasia Jackson; Milford Economic Development Director Sara Bluhm; Downtown Milford, Inc.; financial points of contacts and more,” Westover said. “We are incredibly grateful for the resources and opportunities working with these great agencies have provided. Going into 2023, we never dreamt that we would be sitting in our own storefront ringing in the New Year 2024. We look forward to being able to continue to grow and provide a wealth of resources to our Milford businesses, neighbors, artists and friends.
The couple is hoping to develop our creative studio spaces, develop a schedule of educational classes focusing on traditional, digital and print media arts, collaborate with local artists to continue to expand their consignment gallery, offer a selection of high quality art supplies and stationery, and expand their in house printing capabilities.
Studio B is located at 110 Northeast Front Street in Milford. Ample parking is available in the city lot in front of Arena’s and Surf Bagel, located across Park Avenue from the new studio. The hours are 9:30 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday. On Saturday, hours are 10 AM to 4 PM. Learn more by calling 302-491-7910, email [email protected] or visit their website.