Success stories

Olive Barn

Olive Barn

Norway, Michigan

The Taffs plan to identify new products through in-depth research and choose them based on marketability, margin, quality, and sourcing consistency. In keeping with their mission, they will select products that are made-in-the-USA, eco-friendly, and sustainable.

Olive Barn is an online store specializing in made-in-the-USA, eco-friendly products that “make the most of your garden spaces.” The product mix is selected to compliment the company’s mission of bringing sustainability into everyday lives and supporting workers in our country.


Darren and Meg Taff purchased the attractive and engaging online store in July 2014. Combining Darren’s ten year experience with online retailing and Meg’s passion for gardening, the duo purchased the online storefront and immediately began to update the product line and re-stock inventory. Although the online store had been successful, the Taffs felt it was not operating at its potential — yet.

Today, Olive Barn offers uniquely packaged herb seed kits, heirloom seed packets, and seed-imbedded clay balls made by developmentally disabled workers, high quality gardening gloves, as well as handcrafted goods such as Sunflakes® leaded glass window art and stunning Music of the Spheres® Wind Chimes.

Because the acquisition of an online retail concern didn’t meet traditional financing criteria, a local bank referred the Taffs to Northern Initiatives. After positive discussions, Northern Initiatives recognized the potential in this business and provided a small business loan to purchase the business. In addition to financing, the Taffs have taken advantage of Northern Initiatives’ Business Advancement Services and are in the process of strengthening their corporate social outreach and improving the web-based storefront.

The Taffs have established metrics to define their operations and are already realizing a stronger bottom line as a result of new pricing strategies. They have focused on inventory management and customer service with a positive outcome of greater website traffic and more repeat customers. As each month passes, their experience with their products, suppliers, and customers grows. Darren and Meg are excited about their future with this budding business.

Olive Barn Impacts

  • Jobs Created: 2

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