The Waiora Valley Farm Family

Roy and Jessica Steel at Waira Valley Farm in Cambridge, Vermont with son Destry and daughter Jade. The farm includes an organic bakery and farm store.

(10/10/11) – When Vermont Small Business Development Center’s (VtSBDC) Broadband Business Advisor Patrick Ripley began his e-Vermont community visits, Troy and Jessica Steel of Waiora Valley Farm and Gallup Brook Fencing in Cambridge were among the first business owners he encountered. “Troy and Jessica are classic Vermont business owners, running multiple ventures simultaneously, while also holding outside jobs at different times of the year,” Ripley said. “They work hard, and aren’t afraid of a challenge.”

In addition to the farm, which raises organic pigs, sheep, turkeys and other livestock, Troy runs a company that uses his skills as a master fence builder. With the help of Vermont SBDC counselors, Troy and Jessica worked through the development of two websites—creating unique identities for each business. By spring 2011, and launched and it didn’t take long for the Steel’s to see results.

“Our websites have been really helpful, especially the fence site,” Jessica said. “Lots of people are finding us through it, and they are able to see fence styles before they call us. Troy says that people act like they already know him when he shows up at their farm for the first time.”

The additional business led the Steel’s to hire a full-time employee for Gallup Brook Fencing, as well as a bookkeeper to assist with additional accounting needs. “I knew Troy and Jessica would rise to the occasion,” Ripley said. “And in doing so, they not only benefited their own businesses, but also Vermont’s economy through job creation and increased revenue.”