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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sonoma County Entrepreneurs Create Jobs - Their Own!

Want a Job?
MAKE one...

By Vesta Copestakes
Sounds easy - and quite honestly - it’s easier than you think. The key ingredients are motivation and self-discipline. Without those two elements you will fail. With them, you can do anything. I know…I’ve been self-employed most of my adult life.

Many people are creating their own businesses doing what they love. That’s key. There are some jobs - like sales - where money can be a big enough motivator to get you going every morning. But if money doesn’t get you excited beyond paying bills, you have to explore your heart to find what will give you the drive to push forward, day after day, until you succeed.

In Sebastopol, a group of entrepreneurs have formed the Sebastopol Entrepreneurs Project where people who have “been there and done that” help others who are just getting started. One of the most common motivators is food…people who love to cook are starting a catering business, restaurant or becoming a food vendor. They rent commercial kitchens and get to work. Here’s one that might inspire more…

 Phil McGauley has been a chef for over 30 years, starting as a young man working under John Ash.  He worked for John for 8 years and also worked for Bruce Weizeman for a few years.  He has been the Executive Chef at Korbel for 19 years.
Deb McGauley has always liked to cook.  She too works at Korbel (that’s where they met, and eventually were married in 2006) in Marketing and is the Corporate Donations Manager.  Deb has worked at Korbel for 25 years.  Her children went to school K-8 at the Guerneville School which is why she thought to use their commercial kitchen for 3/P’s.
3/P’s has been an active “thought” for the two for about a year, and in mid-September Deb decided to put up a facebook page.  What happened next startled them both!  In two months they produced and sold over 300 pot pies!  They are continuing to develop new pot pies based on customer comments.
The shellfish pie is $8.75 and the others are $7.50.  All pies are in 12.5 ounce tins and are fresh frozen.  Frozen pies will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.  They are perfect for freezer storage as they are stackable so they don’t take up too much room.

Paul in Guerneville School commercial kitchen
3/P’s uses only the freshest local Sonoma County products for their pies.  Produce from Imwalle Gardens, shellfish from The Tides in Bodega Bay, beef and chicken from Oliver’s Market, Raley’s and Santa Rosa Meat & Poultry.  All pies are freshly handmade, and are a wholesome and nutritious personal serving.

Next up is a line of the same pot pies, but gluten free.  Deb is GF and really, really wants to eat the pies!  They’ve made a batch of the chicken pot pies GF, using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour.  Super tasty, so that is next on the menu.  They are currently approaching Oliver’s Market to see about getting their products in their stores.  The ultimate plan is to submit their pies to local Sonoma County markets
One issue they are facing at the moment is figuring out shipping frozen items.  They have many friends and family out of state who are clambering for the pies already!   It is costly to package and ship frozen food and they are trying to source shipping options that will not cost their customers so much.  They hope to be able to offer shipping in January or February.

At this time, 3/P’s has pie pick up once a week, on Saturday’s, between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.  They are using the Guerneville School kitchen for pie production on weekends.  For more info, check out their facebook page (Phil’s Pot Pies) or webpage at 


Sebastopol Entrepreneurs Project

Sebastopol Entrepreneurs Project (SEP)  has been organizing for two years with an all-volunteer committee of business professionals. They have been preparing a program that includes: offering business education classes, advising entrepreneurs and small businesses, and will be offering meeting, conference and work space for economical rates.  SEP’s mission is to help businesses start, grow, learn, and thrive.  The project believes with proper planning and strategizing, businesses can achieve sustainability. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Sebastopol Entrepreneurs Project this year. Our recent Productology Class had a great turnout, all there to learn about effective marketing. We will start our new class schedule in 2012. Please contact us if you need any consultation about your ideas or business. Our volunteer team of business professionals can help you with your questions.

If you need to be in some new surroundings for a change of pace from your home or favorite coffee shop, come try out our co-work space. For $7 you will have a desk plus copy, print, scan, and fax services. Make your own coffee - it’s all included. Pay by check or cash.

Several local entrepreneurs are currently working with SEP seeking advice, and taking advantage of the free classes.   The classes will be held at the SEP office at 500 North Main located in the Sebastopol Methodist Church across from Safeway. 

For questions and information, visit, contact SEP, (707) 861-3390,, or Council Member Kathleen Shaffer, 829-0669

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