SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – The United States Small Business Administration has named two South Kingstown-based companies as Rhode Island Small Business Week 2022 award winners.
CakeSafe, owned by Scott and Julianne Chapin of Peace Dale, has been named a 2022 Rhode Island and New England Small Business Manufacturer.
Anchor Physical Therapy in Wakefield, owned by Mark Torok, received the Rhode Island Veteran-Owned Small Business of the year award.
Both, along with 13 other winners from across the state, will be honored at the Rhode Island Tribute to Small Business Awards luncheon on May 3 at the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.
“This year’s recipients truly epitomize the entrepreneurial excellence that Ocean State has to offer,” said SBA District Manager Mark Hayward. “These incredible business owners and advocates all demonstrate what hard work perseverance can achieve, not just surviving the pandemic, but finding ways to adapt, grow and thrive. I congratulate all of this year’s winners.
CakeSafe is one of two winners to also take home an SBA regional award.
“CakeSafe is honored to accept this award from the SBA,” said Scott Chapin. “The support over the years from the Small Business Administration and Westerly Credit Union has been instrumental in making our success possible.”
The company manufactures tools and equipment for the baking, chocolate and sugar art industries. Customers include home bakers, hobby bakers, chocolatiers, professional pastry chefs and celebrity entertainers.
Scott said he was inspired by his wife Juli, a professional baker, to create products that solve the problems bakers face every day.
Their four main product lines include the CakeSafe box for transporting cakes, acrylic discs for icing cakes, the sugar shack for working with pulled sugar, and the spray booths to virtually eliminate overspray for chocolatiers, decorators of cakes and bakeries.
This is the epitome of small business success.
Scott Chapin started the business in 2009 in his basement after his engineering company laid off high-level staff. He had a wife and three children to support and decided to start selling the inventions he had made for his wife’s baking business.
In 2018, the company moved into a retail space that contained manufacturing and shipping space and offices. The company doubled the size of its headquarters in 2020 by expanding further into the commercial building it occupies and adding a wholesale and Amazon area.
The Chapins started CakeSafe as a retail business, but switched to wholesale four years ago. CakeSafe now employs nine people and wholesales products to bakery supply companies around the world. However, the company purchases its raw materials used to make products from local or Rhode Island-based manufacturers whenever possible.
Chapins and CakeSafe staff are also environmentally conscious. The company pays for generally non-recyclable materials to be recycled by specialist recyclers. It has eliminated polystyrene foam from its packaging materials. The company is also a drop-off point where residents can bring their packaging materials.
Even though it went through tribulations in 2020 like many businesses, the company donated a portion of its sales to COVID relief.
Not far from CakeSafe, Anchor Physical Therapy turns five on May 1.
Owner Mark Torok has opened a 700 square foot facility at 46 Holley St., expanding it during the COVID-19 shutdown period.
The suite has specialized equipment to help physiotherapy patients recover and get back up to speed.
Torok struggled during COVID, when he was unable to meet with patients while lockdown restrictions were in effect.
“We did telehealth first, which is a learning curve when you’re trying to assess someone on Zoom,” he said. “We adapted, overcame, like others. But we are lucky, that’s for sure.
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Torok came to Newport in the 1990s while in the United States Navy. He was a member of the Fleet Marine Corps – a medic for the Navy – for six years, serving in Texas, North Carolina and Bosnia.
After being stationed later in Virginia, he decided to return to the University of Rhode Island on the GI Bill. He chose physical therapy as his field in part because of a shoulder injury he suffered while playing college baseball, before joining the Navy.
An orthopedic physiotherapist he worked with inspired Torok to recover and play again as others said he was done.
He met his wife at URI and his two children are from South Kingstown, “Swamp Yankees,” he said.
“We fell in love with South Kingstown. It’s really great to work in the same place where you live,” he said. “You see patients at the grocery store, at the restaurant, it’s great.”
Anchor PT employs two therapists and three administrative staff and is looking to expand, Torok said.
“This award is essentially a testament to the staff and patients who have supported us over the past five years,” he said. “I am very fortunate to be able to serve this community.”