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June 21, 2019 in Local News

EforAll Entrepreneur Spotlight - Nicole Bessette of Cape Cod Bear Factory

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UPDATE on July 2nd, 2019

Cape Cod Bear Factory’s new store location in the Cape Cod Mall is opening this week! We are so excited to get back to the fun of birthday parties and animal stuffing and we are even adding more excitement with story times, sand art and more! Stop by and say hello! Located on the Target side of the mall across from the Shoe Dept., Open Mon-Thur 10 am to 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat 10 am to 9 pm and Sunday 11 am - 6 pm.

Meet EforAll Entrepreneur Nicole Bessette of Cape Cod Bear Factory

Nicole completed her EforAll Cape Cod Business Accelerator this past Spring and we're incredibly excited to highlight her new business venture, Cape Cod Bear Factory, a traveling bus that provides everything you need to create your own personalized stuffed animals. Learn more about Nicole and her new local venture below!

Me On Bus Nicole Bessette
To kick us off, describe your business and what you're bringing to the Cape community.

Cape Cod Bear Factory's traveling Bear Bus welcomes kids, and kids at heart, aboard to choose and stuff their very own new animal friends. Our magical and inviting environment offers over 30 different animals, more than 25 outfit options, and tons of custom t-shirts and accessories representative of life on Cape Cod. Our mission is to spark creativity and imagination in the children who visit the Bear Bus and in doing so we were voted Best Toy Shop of Mid Cape by Cape Cod Life readers for 2019. After reaching out to businesses across the Cape to set up partnerships, we are proud to be parked in Upper, Mid and Lower Cape at least one day per week through out the summer and we bring the Bear Bus to you for birthday parties, fundraisers and special events.

My participation in EforAll helped me to move my businesses forward in two directions at once. I was able to increase our services to the Cape on the Bear Bus. But the big goal, the dream and vision we are so very passionate about, is multiplying the experience we are able to offer to the children who live on and visit the Cape tenfold! We are doing this by opening Cape Cod Bear Factory's first Cub Club. Carrying the magical feel we currently offer into our brick and mortar space will allow us share expanded birthday party options, classes and crafts with a comfortable place for parents to socialize and, the most exciting part, a huge indoor play structure for year round play! Our small family business consists of me, my husband who has his own full time job and our 4 and 5 year old children. Our kids keep us grounded to the needs of children all across the Cape and we are thrilled to be able to provide the much needed services of the Cub Club to all of the children in our wonderful community.

When we speak with Cape-based entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of them are passionate about keeping their businesses on Cape. What do you find special (or challenging!) about being an entrepreneur on Cape Cod?

This side of the bridge(s) is it's own world. We have unique challenges and opportunities that allow us to be more creative in how we run our businesses. My particular business is meant to be a resource for the families who live on Cape, first and foremost. As we grow our business and begin offering more experiences, I intend to build upon our current relationships with families and leaders in the community. While the Bear Bus and Cub Club are similar to settings that can be found off Cape, we remain vastly different. That's because we are locally owned and operated which allows us to focus on our community's unique and specific needs. There is no comparison to the passion we have for enhancing the lives of as many children and caregivers as possible; especially, in the cold/dark gloomy months of winter on Cape Cod. We love our community. We want more families to feel welcome not only to visit in the summer but to live here. We hope they will see how great it is be a part of and raise children on Cape Cod. As we all do our part to grow our year round community we will be creating a stronger year round economy that will benefit us all.

Touch A Truck Nicole Bessette
What is the most valuable thing you are taking away from the EforAll Cape Cod Business Accelerator?

I learned so many valuable lessons from EforAll's Business Accelerator and took away tools and resources that will help in more ways than I can count. That said, there is one thing the was the stood out as being the most valuable lesson of all and that is confidence. I am able to speak clearly about where I am, what my end goal is and what my next steps are. I have no fear in sharing our vision. I have total confidence that I can conquer each and every obstacle in my way. I am a successful small business owner with big dreams, a huge cheering section and a safety net that not many entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have, the backing of EforAll.

At CCYP, one of our strategic priorities is to promote Cape Cod as a vibrant place for young people to live and work, year-round. What would you tell other entrepreneurs thinking about starting their businesses on Cape?

Be the change that you want to see because only we can provide positive change to this beautiful place we call home. Share your idea and take time to work on it. Seek out community resources that can help you turn your idea into a reality and when you get to where you're going don't loose sight of your original vision.

Pajama Night At Polar Cave Nicole Bessette
And lastly, what are you working on now that the CCYP community should be on the lookout for?

In the immediate future, be on the lookout for the Bear Bus in towns across the Cape and check our event calendar to see where we'll be next. We will begin offering pop-up arts and crafts activities starting in mid June including sand art, rock painting and story time crafts. By September, keep an eye out for details about the Grand Opening, along with all the awesome details, of the Cub Club!