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Category Archives: Success Stories

How Padgett Helped Drive Shahrukh Siddiqui’s Journey to Success

Shahrukh Siddiqui began his entrepreneurial journey with a Mexican restaurant in Mobile, Alabama before making the transition to managing Credit America Auto Sales. He embarked on this journey in 2019 alongside his family, aiming to offer customers quality used vehicles and an unparalleled buying experience. “While each industry has its own challenges” he says, “I chose to venture into auto sales because I was looking for something new.” It may not have been a straight path to auto sales, but the one constant across Shahrukh’s businesses was Padgett. 

Shahrukh began his relationship with Saty Putcha, owner of Padgett Mobile, nearly 25 years ago when he was establishing his restaurant in 2010. “Saty and I actually met through playing tennis together” he recalls, “Padgett helped me form the LLC, start the business, and fill out all the paperwork. They handled my payroll, corporation tax returns, and personal tax returns as well.” When he made the move to Credit America Auto Sales, he knew he needed to continue to work with Saty and Padgett Mobile. “It’s a cash intensive business” Shahrukh explains, so finding the right partner to handle his finances was crucial. 

Shahrukh admitted that the early years of a business are never easy. He was committed to providing his customers with top-notch quality and service. Whether it was assembling a dependable human resources team or ensuring that the right personnel were in place for thorough vehicle inspections, it proved to be a formidable task. That’s why continuing his relationship with Padgett felt so important. He had developed trust and a strong rapport with Saty. He emphasizes that even though Padgett serves other clients, “I still feel a personal connection with them. The team is very personable, and I value our one-on-one discussions about my business.” 

While Shahrukh has found reliability and consistency with Padgett, the journey as a small business owner hasn’t always been easy. For the first five years of running Credit America Auto Sales, he sometimes felt like he wouldn’t succeed. He spent up to 14 hours a day at work and hardly took any time off making sure his business was moving forward. His advice to other small business owners is to “keep your expenses low and, in the car business, don’t overpay for your car. Make your money when you buy the car, not when you sell the car.” He adds, “Pay attention to the interest rate you’re paying. While some interest rates may seem low, pay attention to the fees as well.”   

With Padgett at his side, Shahrukh can shift his focus from managing finances to being a strong business owner. “Padgett frees up my time to do what I like, which is buying and selling cars. Otherwise, I would be spending my time keeping my books straight if I did not have them helping me. They’re just a great bunch of people. They go above and beyond to take care of me and my business.” 

Whether you’re looking to start an LLC like Shahrukh or are looking for a reliable financial partner, Padgett’s team of experts can help you through it all. Find your local Padgett office today to get started! 

How Padgett helped Holly Crumley become a top-dog entrepreneur

Holly Crumley had always loved animals, and eventually, she channeled that love into starting a business focused on animals. After running a dairy farm for years, Holly began Cavaliers by Crumley which breeds, trains and sells Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies. “I traveled all over the world,” Holly says. “About 20 years ago, I finally found the right place to purchase the dogs and begin the breeding business.” Her business later expanded with the opening of a pet resort in 2007, and she then added a guardianship program to her breeding business.

With such a unique business model, it was crucial for Holly to have an accountant who truly understood her business. That’s where Janet Kaup of Padgett Gainesville came in. “Janet found us about 30 years ago,” Holly says. “She was building her Padgett business and came to the farm one day and asked if she could be of assistance to us. We didn’t have a good accountant then, so it took off from there.”

Since then, Janet has been by Holly’s side as she has built her business. “Janet has become like a sister to me,” Holly continues. “I’ve always depended on her to lead me in the right direction. It’s just imperative to have an accountant who understands the type of business you’re involved in.”

“It’s also important to hire good people,” Holly continues. “We offer incentives for our employees, helping them put their kids through college, helping people learn how the business works and other things. My employee retention is great; Janet has helped me manage my employees and offer a simple retirement plan. We have a tax card to help people with medical expenses and things like that. I have very committed, loyal employees.”

Having a strong support system is key to Holly’s hectic day. “It’s a constant business; it doesn’t end,” she says. “It’s seven days a week. It’s a 24-hour job, and not a clean job either… I get up and let the dogs out, feed and clean up for them. Then we have social media to deal with, returning phone calls and emails. The business I’m in, communication doesn’t stop with the sale of the dog.”

Despite her busy schedule, Holly also prioritizes education, both for herself and her employees. “School’s never out for the pros,” she says. “It’s important to stay on the cutting edge, always be on top of new developments.” She encourages them to attend leadership events, learn the business, and stay informed on industry updates. Luckily, staying up to date on every in and out of the tax system isn’t something that Holly has to add to her plate. She relies on Janet and her Padgett team for that.

“I did everything the wrong way first,” Holly adds, “so I’ve learned how to do a lot of things right. I learned all my lessons the hard way. I’ve been lucky to have a great accountant. Janet took it upon herself to make it important that we were taken care of. I feel confident about my taxes.”

If you need an accountant or tax professional on your business’s team, Padgett can help! Contact us today.

Teamwork made Jenna Speight’s dream work

Jenna Speight has always been fashion-forward, but she struggled to find a way to turn her passion into a profit. After changing her college major several times in search of the right path forward, her hairstylist suggested cosmetology school. “It was a lightbulb moment for me,” Jenna says. “I called a school the next day, and within four weeks, I was enrolled.”

Though she was now on the right path, it wasn’t always easy. But the difficulties opened other doors for Jenna: “I worked at a few salons, and there ended up being a lot of drama that made me consider leaving the industry. It was either leave or start my own salon. So, I decided to open my own salon.”

Jenna opened Rue 62 Salon in April 2011, but the challenges wouldn’t stop there. Less than a year later, she discovered she was expecting twins. “It was a bit overwhelming as I was trying to build my new business,” she says. “One baby I could manage, but when I found out it was two, I really had to adjust my expectations.”

Thankfully, she was surrounded by a strong team of supportive employees who helped the business grow. “Choosing who I can work with has been essential,” Jenna adds. “[My twins] are absolutely a blessing, and my team has been key in our success.”

Years later, when COVID-19 forced her business to shut down for several months and implement expensive safety protocols upon reopening, Padgett Barrington joined Jenna’s team. She had received a PPP loan, and her previous accountant was not equipped to handle the challenging tax situations that came with it. “I needed someone more informed,” she says, so she reached out to Dave Gribben. “He had amazing reviews and his office was only half a mile from my house.”

“He’s always been super responsive, very thorough, and great at explaining things,” she continues. “He made my tax process more understandable, and introduced me to more options for government assistance, like the ERC, which was absolutely essential to help us get out of a tight spot.”

Jenna credits her strong support system with helping the salon succeed despite the challenges life continued to throw her way—including being diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021. “That changed everything,” she says. “I didn’t work in the salon for 7 months, and I would go weeks without talking to anyone. The cancer journey has really re-prioritized my life and really drives home the point that the girls on my staff can weather any storm.”

“They’re like family,” she adds. “One of my stylists had twins as soon as I came back, and another had her first child when the first returned. Through it all, we’re stronger than ever. I think that’s due in large part to who I’ve hired. I have the most incredible group of women.”

Jenna knew opening a small salon wouldn’t make her a millionaire, but believes the experience of working with a team of incredible people has been priceless.

“My best advice, the best thing I have done as an owner, is hire the right people,” she says. “I have a staff that will really step up and have my back, who will keep the salon surviving and thriving. Having a tax preparer who is professional and responsive and has my best financial goals in mind, somebody who treats me with respect… has been extremely helpful, not just to my business, but to my self-esteem.”

“I absolutely, even 12 years in, still look at the tax return and don’t understand it,” Jenna continues. “It’s not something I could do on my own. Having a great bookkeeper who keeps track of things for me has been a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders. If another small business owner is anything like me and doesn’t have an MBA or a business degree, having a good accountant is essential.”


If you need an accountant or tax professional on your business’s team, Padgett can help! Contact us today.

How Padgett helped Jessica Riedell’s business grow

When Jessica Riedell was laid off from her former company, she didn’t see it as a closing door, but an opening one: her opportunity to start a business of her own.  

With a background in horticulture and public gardens management, Jessica quickly found her interest in residential maintenance. “Chicagoland, if you’ve never been here, is just kind of a whole ‘nother animal compared to landscaping in the rest of the world,” she said. “They have very specific kinds of planting and maintenance styles. So I took on a job with a small family-owned company that was up-and-coming in the Chicagoland area.” 

She began her career in the company’s residential maintenance branch, working in the field alongside the other landscaping crews. She soon progressed through the company, gaining valuable experience along the way. “I was eventually essentially managing my own little business of 30 to 40 clients per year,” she said. 

But a few years ago, the small company she started with was bought out. Jessica’s residential maintenance branch then closed. “The branch I was working for was not their ideal, because they do mostly commercial landscaping or large construction install jobs,” she said. “My manager at the time was saying, ‘If I was younger, I’d start my own business. There really is an opportunity here.’ And I finally picked up the hints that he was putting down and said okay, I’m going to start my own business.” 

So Jessica started The Riedell Group. But starting a business during COVID-19 wasn’t easy: “It was a lot of Zoom meetings and online communications to try and pull everything together, get everything up and running.” Thankfully, because the company she had been with was closing her branch, her non-compete contract was no longer an issue. “So I was able to call all of my customers and say, ‘Hey, this is the deal.  They’re closing their doors, but I’m going to start my own company. I want to try to keep everything the same as you’ve been doing in the past so we can keep rolling forward. Are you interested in coming on board?’” 

Almost unanimously, Jessica’s customers agreed and supported her new initiative. And because she was starting her business in the winter, she had some time to get things organized. “I needed some help in the accounting side of things. I asked a few friends and ended up hiring one accountant for the first couple of months,” Jessica said. “But it was tax season, so they were too busy. I was in the middle of trying to get my company started and nobody seemed to be able to spend the time answering what seemed to me like simple questions.” 

So she asked around some more, and was directed to Dave Gribben at Padgett Barrington. “I reached out to him and he was more than happy to spend an hour with me and consult and direct and guide me. I just felt really comfortable talking to him. That then progressed into monthly consulting and tax preparation. As we came around to the second year, it grew into a bit more reliance on Padgett to help guide us.” 

The support of Padgett and Jessica’s previous customers was key to her success. “The tough part was getting financing to just start a business,” she said. “I ended up working with my customers and setting up pre-pay programs where they would pay for their maintenance for the whole season. My clients understand business; a lot of them are running their own companies. They understand cash flow and were able to provide that money for me to get through those first few months. And Padgett helped guide me through how to set that up and account for it all correctly.” 

Now, in only her third year of business, Jessica is now set up to surpass $3 million in sales. “I didn’t have a bunch of debt and a bunch of loans, which I think was helpful,” she said. Jessica also recommends seeking advice from trusted friends and advisors. “I must’ve called like 10 or 15 other people I know in the business and asked their advice. How do you do this pricing? What’s your model based on? What payroll program do you use? What bookkeeping program do you use? Who is your accountant?” 

“I think that tenacity is the way to go,” she adds. “If you’re starting a business, take the time to do a business plan and really understand how you want your business to run and give yourself direction of where your company is going to go. There’s definitely days when it’s tough and difficult and challenging and you wish you didn’t even get up that day. But it’s all worth it when you have happy customers and beautiful landscapes and happy employees that come to work every day excited to be there.” 

Jessica views the loss of her previous job as a blessing in disguise. “I know getting let go or having a company shut down your branch can be devastating, but it was honestly the right timing and a blessing for us to be able to proceed into me owning my own business, getting to do what I wanted to do.” 


If you need a trusted advisor to help your business grow, Padgett can help! We have a nationwide network of EAs and CPAs who are ready to work with you. Find a location today!

Carden of Tuscon aces the test with Padgett

Bette Jeppson’s business-ownership story began at home in 1973, when the oldest of her three children was ready to begin education, leading her to open her first Carden School in Colorado. After serving five years as director of the school, Mrs. Jeppson’s story moved to Tucson, Arizona. “People kept asking me when we would open a school on this side of town,” she said. “So, we did.” 

Mrs. Bette Jeppson, founder of Carden of Tucson, stands in front of the Carden sign

Carden of Tucson opened in 1980, teaching approximately 40 students in rented facilities. “When we first started, we were a private school, and it was difficult to keep all the finances going,” Mrs. Jeppson said. “We had to collect tuition, and I was never one for turning down children when their parents couldn’t pay. In 2000, we became a charter school, and then we just needed to keep our enrollment up.”

Today, 42 years after opening, the school serves over 130 students from kindergarten to 8th grade. As an alum of the school, Katy Martinez now works with Mrs. Jeppson as the Office Manager for the school, helping manage the business side of the school along with teaching several classes.  

“We’re a very small facility, so many of us wear a lot of hats,” Katy said. “I teach 6th grade and 8th grade math, and then I come back into the office and take care of behind-the-scenes stuff like our HR, QuickBooks, and assisting teachers and administration with things they may need.” 

As the Office Manager, Katy works closely with Carden’s accounting partners, Linda Parent and Michale Haubert of Padgett Tucson. “Linda and Michale have been really good at teaching us how to do things. They oversee what I’m doing and help show me what to do. They’ve taught me a lot!” 

Although Padgett Tucson has become a valuable partner for Carden, unfortunate circumstances prompted the school to reach out to Linda originally. 

“We had a business manager who embezzled funds back in 2010,” Katy said. “When we were going through that process, one of our board members was familiar with the original accounting firm where Linda worked. They helped with an audit of our books. After Linda left that firm, we contacted her again and followed her to Michale and Padgett Tucson.”

Katy Martinez and Bette Jeppson take a selfie together in a Carden Tucson classroom

The embezzlement was a nightmare at the time, but Mrs. Jeppson believes that it ultimately strengthened their business. “We found people like Linda to help us with the finances and get straightened out and on a better path moving forward,” she said. “That was the good thing that came out of the embezzlement—we learned a lot.” 

Now, having worked with Linda and Padgett Tucson for almost a decade, the Carden School is acing their yearly audits. 

“Our account is so intricate with it being a school, and it’s so different from a typical business,” Katy explained. “When I started 15 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing except answering the phone and filing a few papers here and there. Now, I learn something new every year. We have to do a yearly school audit, and I really appreciate that Linda and Michale are willing to show us the answers and guide us. They touch base regularly and are always willing to take our calls. Their communication is key.”

Although Mrs. Jeppson is retiring as director, she’s confident that she’s leaving the business in good hands. “It’s been very valuable to have Katy and Linda. I’m just learning to step aside and let the young ones take over! We do really appreciate Linda and her office and all the support they have given us through the years. To other business owners, I’d say find your support system and keep them!” 

Successful business owner “Profile”: Jarin Jaffee

Jarin Jaffee’s background was as an educator and administrator in private schools, but after getting involved with Profile by Sanford, he pivoted to a new way of helping people improve their lives. He joined the health and weight loss program in 2018, and in 2019, he opened the Toledo Profile location. “I lost 35 pounds, and it helped change my life, so I got involved as a business owner,” he says. “We’re now the number two Profile location in the country.”

Before opening his business, Jarin joined a Business Networking International group, where he met Tom and Amy Friedel, owners of Padgett Toledo. “I was already connected to ADP and had a bookkeeper in Nebraska through Profile, but I needed an accountant, both personal and business,” Jarin explains. “So, I started with Tom and Amy through Padgett. Eventually, I asked what it would cost to add payroll and moved that over. They’ve helped me with PPP and ERC during COVID-19, my quarterly filings, pretty much everything except bookkeeping.”

With Padgett by his side, Jarin’s Profile business quickly found success. He broke even in less than a year, in March of 2020, and maintained profitability even during the pandemic. By September, his location was in the Top 25 Profile locations nationwide before taking the first-place spot in spring 2021. Though two locations have since merged and pushed the Toledo Profile down to number 2, it remains the top-rated fitness location in Toledo and a preferred referral of many local doctors. All together, Profile Toledo members have lost about 21,000 pounds—including Tom.

“Tom actually joined our gym, and he’s one of our ten members who has lost over 100 pounds in our program,” Jarin says. “We’re proud to support him as a business owner and support his health, because as a business owner his health is not entirely his own. Tom and Amy know what I do and believe in what I do.”

In Toledo, Jarin says that relationship-based connections are key, and that makes Tom and Amy’s large network an important benefit. “He’s helped refer others to us,” Jarin says. “I’ve certainly tried to steer some people their way as well. I consider Tom and Amy a big part of our success and I’m very grateful for them. I recommend Padgett whenever I can.”

“Small business ownership is really hard, even when you’re winning,” Jarin warns. But his advice for other small business owners? “Don’t sacrifice your family and personal happiness because it ends up not being worth it. It’s important to build a team of people to support you—you need those people to help you dig out of your mistakes. Otherwise, business ownership can feel lonely.”

But between spending lots of time at home with his wife and children and working with his Padgett partners, Jarin has avoided the loneliness. “I consider Tom and Amy friends,” he says. “I love their whole staff. They’ve been very helpful beyond the typical small business accountant services.”

“The thing I value most about Padgett is the personal attention,” he adds. “I can ask Tom and Amy questions in an informal way, and they never make me feels stupid. I don’t have a background in finance or accounting, and I know I ask some ‘dumb questions’ but they never make me feel like my questions aren’t worth their time. Shelley is amazing with payroll help, answering questions from my employees. It all goes back to that level of service that’s relationship based instead of transactional.”

Together, Gail Emrick and Padgett Tucson are making a difference

When Gail Emrick became the Executive Director of the Southeast Arizona Health Education Center in 2008, she knew she had a tough act to follow. After the prior director passed away, Gail said, “Her life’s work passed to me. I felt the pressure to take over since she had done so well.”  

But after serving more than a decade in the position, and partnering with Padgett Tucson, Gail’s leadership has allowed SEAHEC to celebrate over 35 years of success as an award-winning nonprofit organization serving some of Arizona’s most vulnerable populations. “We work to improve the health of border and migrant communities, both long-time residents and citizens, as well as new arrivals,” she said. “I love what I do.” 

SEAHEC focuses its work in three major areas: advocacy, research and action. A key component of their work is service learning, by offering week-long courses for students from universities like Columbia and Mount Sinai. “We get to train our future health workforce through the services they come provide in our communities,” Gail said.  

From federal and state grants to frequent audits in the public record, being a non-profit organization means that SEAHEC has somewhat complicated finances to manage. It was crucial for Gail to have a trusted accounting partner.  

Gail Emrick stands with her arm around Linda Parent

She explains, “I was looking for an accountant who was knowledgeable in nonprofits and could handle the growth and flexibility of nonprofit accounting.” When they met over eight years ago, Linda Parent was the accountant Gail was looking for. “We have a really trusting relationship, and we’ve been together ever since.” 

SEAHEC operates in 6 rural counties in Arizona, and last year, the organization had over a million dollars in grants to manage. “Linda treats my finances like they were hers,” Gail said. “She knows my staff by name. She knows my budget. I have an audit every other year, and every audit I have, I passed with flying colors. I provide quarterly financials to a board of directors as well, and Linda will virtually join our board meetings to answer any questions they have. She’s so accessible. It’s just really impressive.” 

As part of the health industry, SEAHEC was financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing in extra funding and many new grants. “About a year and a half ago, I essentially doubled the size of my organization,” Gail said. “Padgett was able to take that on with no difficulty. They treated me the same both before and after I was bringing in a million dollars in grants.”

But for Gail, the perfect accounting partner is about more than accurate financials—it’s about trust and respect. When Gail made a short documentary about the people she works with and why they migrate, Linda, Michale, and the Padgett Tucson office hosted a lunch for them to all gather and watch her documentary together. “I feel like their office really respects the work that we do, and that’s really important to me,” she said. 

For other business owners, especially nonprofits, Gail emphasizes the importance of understanding your financials. “For a new business owner or a new director, that relationship with your finance person is just critical,” she said. “I don’t view this as a business; it’s a passion. But the business side of a nonprofit is so important. In the nonprofit world, it’s your responsibility and duty to treat donated funds very respectfully. The best way to get continued funding is to do a good job the first time and treat every community member with the dignity they deserve. It’s really important to choose the right accounting firm, with a solid relationship and someone you can trust.” 

Gail’s job is often chaotic with no typical days. But between staying offline when not at work, recharging through fitness, and her relationship with Padgett, she isn’t worried. “I would never leave [Padgett] as long as I’m doing business because I’ve been treated with the utmost respect and as a friend. I sleep well at night knowing they’re managing our money.” 

Chef Maria Mazon is thankful for her Padgett partners: “They’re the heroes behind the taco”

As a head chef and former Top Chef contestant, Maria Mazon is familiar with challenging situations. But when she opened BOCA Tacos y Tequila, Maria faced challenges she’d never experienced before. “I have been a chef for quite a while now, 20-something years, but I got woken up, really quickly, to how hard it is to own a restaurant,” she said. “I became the sole owner of BOCA within a year, and I had no clue what I was doing. I really didn’t. But it’s one of those things that, I was determined to make it work.” 

With 12 years of restaurant ownership now under her belt, Maria has established herself and BOCA Tacos as leaders in the industry. She was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Southwest Region, and BOCA has been featured by the Food Network, New York Times, USA Today, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. But Maria is especially thankful to have had Padgett Business Services of Tuscon by her side: “I always joke that I’m in business thanks to Linda Parent and Michale Haubert.” 

“They literally taught me how to run a business,” she said. “A milestone for me was when I didn’t owe any back taxes, thanks to Linda, and when I was finally making a profit, like five years after starting. I have stressful days with the restaurant, and I’m opening two more. I believe in the project, as a chef and an owner, but they believe in me as a client. I think I trust them more than I trust myself. Thanks to the show, I’m getting more opportunities to get out there and showcase Mexican cuisine. But they’re the heroes, you know, behind the taco.”  

Born in Tucson, where she now lives and works, but raised in Sonora, Mexico, Maria faced an additional challenge when starting her business. With English as her second language, understanding her business’s taxes and accounting was difficult.  

“Sometimes, I do believe I got lost in translation,” Maria said. It was incredibly important to Maria that her Padgett office has a Spanish speaking employee on staff. “That gave me a sense of security. It’s very important to me to have somebody who will have the patience and the desire to help another human being. Regardless that that is their job, they’re doing it because they want you to succeed at the same time. When I look at the paperwork, written in another language, they actually put it in a way that I can read. They actually try to educate you and help you succeed. It’s like having another me—like a smart me. They were my business school, and honestly, I owe them a lot.” 

“Running a business is no joke,” she said. “When you go to open a business, you have to surround yourself with a good team. If it’s, in my case, a restaurant, you have to surround yourself with good management, good employees, good vendors, and so on, but nobody thinks about that for accounting. I cook for a living. Having somebody in your corner who says, ‘You know what, I got you. You do what you do best, let me do what I do best,’ that’s a match made in heaven.” 

With early mornings and chaotic days in the kitchen, Maria has found the right recipe for her success—including time for herself and her family. “I try to take care of myself, too, as a human being,” she said. “We’re not robots, we forget that part. My wife and son are my everything, and my dogs. I like to go for a walk in the morning with them. I’ve learned the hard way that you need to take care of yourself, and not to worry. It goes back to the fact that because I have a great team behind me, I know that I’m going to be able to do it.” 

When COVID-19 hit the restaurant business hard, Maria leaned on the support of her Padgett team. “They were ready,” she said. “Padgett got as much information as they could and were prepared to help their clients. They go the extra mile.” 

“I want to let people know that when they come to BOCA they don’t just come to support me, as the restaurant owner,” she added. “They’re providing 40-something jobs in the restaurant, plus my accountant, my linens, my purveyors… it’s a good domino effect. And the beauty of it is, in any relationship you have with a company, the relationship has to be cultivated.” 

“Now I know that it’s just not me, I’m not going to succeed just because I’m a great cook. No, I’m going to succeed because I have the right formula, and the right formula involves the right people. We don’t have to agree in life because we’re different people. But what we do have to agree on is that we, both companies, want to succeed. That’s the bottom line. We both go to bed knowing we’re helping each other grow, even though one is an accounting firm and the other a restaurant.” 

If you need a partner to help your business grow, Padgett is here to help. Find an office near you today!

Tommy and Adam Waller find their “why” with support from Padgett

For Adam and Tommy Waller, starting a business was not part of the plan. Both brothers work other jobs: Adam is a physical therapist, and Tommy works in national security and in the Marine Corps. But when their mother presented a challenge at dinner one night, The Oyster Bed was born.

“In a family tradition that we have, every time I would ship off overseas in the Marines, we get together as a family with a whole bunch of different seafood and just spend time together before I would ship out,” Tommy said. “And we’ve got a huge family, there’s seven siblings, and we would struggle to keep up trying to shuck oysters. And when you try to grill oysters, it’s not ideal to do on the half-shell. It makes a huge mess and it’s a lot of work. During the last time that we got together for one of these family events, again struggling to keep up, my mom challenged us. She said, ‘you know, there’s seven of you guys, nobody has ever invented anything.’ And so, we figured that we could invent a better system to do it.”

Not long after, the company was created. “My brother called me, I was on my way to head overseas,” Tommy continued. “I was driving to a base in North Carolina, and he called and said ‘Hey, I know what we’re going to call that thing that we talked about inventing. We’ll call it The Oyster Bed.’ So, I pulled over and bought the web domain and created an LLC right there on the side of the interstate, and called him back and said, ‘Hey man, we got a company, we got a website. While I’m gone for a year, start figuring out how to make the product.’ So that’s what he did.”

Three years of research and development later, and Tommy and Adam had created and patented The Oyster Bed: a specially designed metal dish with cooking wells for oysters and a reservoir to collect the liquid, cook larger pieces of meat, or hold garnishes and sauces. They were ready to take their product to the market, but needed investment to launch, so they turned to Kickstarter. “The Kickstarter campaign, really, a lot of it was raising awareness, about the product, and having people understand why—not just what we sell, but why,” Tommy said.

The “why” has always been key to the business for Tommy and Adam after reading about Simon Sinek and the “golden circle” during their years of research. Together, they determined three parts of “why” their business mattered: first, the Waller brothers aimed to bring families around the table and closer to God; second, they wanted to support the environment and reduce coastal erosion; and third, to make good food and “cultivate creative cooking.”

“The second part we derived from our research on the industry and the environment, where we learned that there is significant coastal erosion,” Tommy said. “We’re losing like a football field of land per hour in south Louisiana. What we learned is that oyster reefs can actually help prevent some of that, just because of the nature of these reefs. They break down high energy waves. Oysters are a keystone species, so there’s a lot of other species that depend on them. They’re just really good for the environment.”

“We also learned that the oyster fisherman themselves, when it came time to build new reefs, they didn’t have enough oyster shell to put down at the bottom of the water to create a foundation for new reefs,” he continued. “So that’s the second part of the why; it’s to help restore our coastal estuaries by incentivizing as much oyster shell recycling as we can.”

Tommy and Adam are thankful to have Padgett by their side, not just for practical reasons, but because their Padgett partner, Amanda Aguillard of Padgett Business Services of Louisiana, also believes in their “why.”

“We’ve been really pleased with her as an accounting partner, not just because she and her team are really good at accounting but because they also are just fans of our company and why we do what we do,” Tommy said. “She introduced us to Xero, which is one of the really helpful tools that we use as an e-commerce business for financials and accounting. E-commerce payments for state taxes is a significant challenge, for business owners. We never had to hire full time employees to do our bookkeeping—this company only has three employees, and so it’s me, my brother, and then our incredible social media manager and VP for outreach, Beth. What [Amanda’s] brought to us has been just priceless in terms of being able to maintain a business when it’s not any of our full-time gig and do it successfully.”

“She’s also been a fan of the ‘why’ of the business and has promoted the conservation aspect of what we do even in her own social media channels and those sorts of things,” Tommy added. “It’s not something that’s maybe common among accountants or other business service providers. Usually, you end up hiring somebody to be an accountant or whatever and they just kind of do whatever they do. You don’t usually have a whole lot of overlap with other aspects of the business. Not the case with Amanda, and now with Padgett. It’s a blessing having them looking out for more than just our accounting!”

If you need a financial partner who understands your business and your “why,” Padgett’s nationwide network of CPAs and EAs are here to help. Find an office near you today!

Dr. Tina Lepage Finds Confidence Partnering With Padgett

After 12 years living in Washington, D.C., a move to North Carolina led Dr. Tina Lepage to open her psychology and psychiatry practice, Lepage Associates. Though she now has three offices in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, starting a new business in a new city wasn’t easy at first. 

“It seemed like a curse to be starting a practice from a place where you knew nobody, versus a place where you had 12 years of contacts,” Dr. Lepage said. “I was interested in creating a multi-specialty practice because there aren’t many businesses around that are multi-specialty. They either tend to be generalist or specialized in one area. Being new to the area turned into a positive in that it really forced me to go out and meet people quickly. I met lots of people in the psychological and psychiatric community here, and in the end, it was such a blessing.” 

Some of the people Dr. Lepage got to meet in North Carolina were Scott Scarano and the team of Padgett Business Services of Raleigh-Durham. “They found me, which was fantastic,” she said. “At that time, I was handwriting checks and doing all of those things, but always in the back of my mind I was thinking I really need to have a professional doing this. So, I just luckily had them walk in my door.” 

Padgett initially began as Dr. Lepage’s payroll partner. “It was starting to take up a lot of my time, and if any little thing came up or if any mistake was made, it was sort of a big deal for me to have to go back and fix it,” she said. “They came in first with payroll and then I quickly saw that there were other things like bookkeeping and taxes—just the whole realm of financial things that a small business needs—that they could be really helpful with. Looping in people who understood the financial side of my business took a lot of pressure off me, and it just made me feel confident that my bookkeeping was in place, my taxes were good.” 

For Dr. Lepage, partnering with Padgett has been key. “I value them, they’re one of the most important things I think, success-wise, for my business,” she said. “Scott, I’ve known him for over a decade now and he’s been fantastic to work with. In the midst of trying to muddle through numbers and such, he can have a sense of humor, which is really fun as we’re trying to take care of the financial side of the business.” 

The advice Dr. Lepage would give other business owners? “Very quickly roll in professionals,” she said. “I didn’t do that myself as quickly as I should have, but once you do that, it makes everything easier.” 

If you’re looking for a professional to help you feel confident in your business finances, find a Padgett office near you today!

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