“[My NI business coach] was my sounding board and mentor rolled into one.
Whenever I asked if I was crazy for taking this on, he would help me see how it was possible with the right preparation and resources in place.”
– Amy Shindorf, owner of Four Leaf Brewing Company
Amy Shindorf is the sole proprietor of Four Leaf Brewing, a microbrewery in historic downtown Clare. Among many responsibilities at the brewery, Shindorf is the “chief taster.” This former environmental and natural resource specialist turned hardworking entrepreneur clearly enjoys her occupation.
In late 2013, Shindorf realized she’d amassed enough small business knowledge and the support team to consider owning her own business. She was a craft beer enthusiast and appreciated the nuances of a quality brew. Shindorf felt she could offer her community a relaxing place to socialize and enjoy unique hand-crafted beer brewed locally.
She began to build a plan and work the numbers. Several iterations later, it was clear the financial side of the equation wasn’t working. After tapping all her resources to get where she wanted to be, the business still needed additional capital. She also hoped to gain greater long term credit by completing the funding circle with an SBA guaranteed loan. Serendipitously, her SBA business coach had forged a connection between Shindorf and a Northern Initiatives business coach who had experience with other microbreweries. Shindorf says of this coach, “He was my sounding board and mentor rolled into one. Whenever I asked if I was crazy for taking this on, he would help me see how it was possible with the right preparation and resources in place.”
Finally, the plans solidified and Northern Initiatives came on board with a microloan to support the purchase of brewing equipment. Shindorf leased a century-old solid, but overlooked building in downtown Clare possessing the bones, parking, and location that matched her needs. Construction and calling in a lot of favors began in earnest. On August 29, 2015, Four Leaf Brewing opened.
Shindorf has woven her knowledge of environmental stewardship into the fabric of the brewpub’s operations. She says, “Businesses can be easier on the environment if ingredients are locally sourced, and transportation is kept to a minimum.” Her intention is to provide a small but successful business using local resources whenever available.
Now featuring 12 beers on tap, a full food menu, and an active special events schedule, Four Leaf Brewing is a hopping business. In 2017, sales increased over 16% on a monthly average since opening. The brewery is projected to brew their 200th batch of beer near their 2nd year anniversary In August 2017. Amy Shindorf sees a lucky future for Four Leaf Brewing.