SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The U.S. Small Business Administration has named a pair of South Kingstown based companies as 2022 Small Business Week award winners in Rhode Island.
CakeSafe, owned by Scott and Julianne Chapin of Peace Dale, was named the 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 honor.
Both, along with 13 other awardees from across the state, will be honored at the Rhode Island Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon May 3 at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.
“This year’s awardees truly embody the entrepreneurial excellence that the Ocean State has to offer,” SBA District Director Mark Hayward said. “These incredible business owners and advocates all demonstrate what hard work a perseverance can result in, by not only 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 pick up a regional SBA award.
“CakeSafe is honored to accept this award from the SBA,” Scott Chapin said. “The support over the years from the Small Business Administration and the Westerly Credit Union have helped tremendously to make our success possible.”
The company makes tools and equipment for the baking, chocolate and sugar art industries. Customers include home bakers, hobby bakers, chocolatiers, professional cake designers and celebrity cake artists.
Scott said he is inspired by his wife Juli, a professional baker, to create products that solve problems that bakers face daily.
Their four main product lines include the CakeSafe Box for cake transportation, Acrylic Disks for icing cakes, the Sugar Shack for working with pulled sugar and Spray Booths for virtually eliminating overspray for chocolatiers, cake decorators and bread bakeries.
It’s the quintessential small business success story.
Scott Chapin started the company in 2009 in his basement after his engineering firm laid off high level staff. He had a wife and three children to provide for and decided to start selling the inventions that he had made for his wife’s baking business.
In 2018, the business moved into a commercial space that contained manufacturing and shipping spaces 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 moved into wholesaling four years ago. CakeSafe now employs nine people and wholesales products to bakery supply businesses across the globe. However, the company buys its raw materials used to make products from local or Rhode Island-based manufacturers whenever possible.
The Chapins and CakeSafe staff also are environmentally conscious. The company pays for typically non-recyclable materials to be recycled by specialty recyclers. It eliminated styrofoam from its packaging materials. The company is also a drop-off location for locals to bring their packing materials.
Even though it experienced tribulations in 2020 like many businesses, the company donated a portion of its sales to COVID relief.
Not far from CakeSafe, Anchor Physical Therapy will turn five years old on May 1.
Owner Mark Torok opened a 700 square-foot facility on 46 Holley St., expanding it during COVID-19 shutdown time.
The suite features specialized equipment to help physical therapy patients recover and get back up to speed.
Torok had challenges during COVID, when he was unable to meet patients while lockdown restrictions were in effect.
“We did telehealth first, which is a learning curve when you’re trying to evaluate someone on Zoom,” he said. “We adapted, overcame, like others. But we’re lucky for sure.”
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Torok came to Newport in the 1990s while in the U.S. Navy. He was a fleet Marine corpsman – a medic for the Navy – for six years, serving in Texas, North Carolina, and Bosnia.
After later being stationed in Virginia, he decided to return to attend the University of Rhode Island on the G.I. Bill. He chose physical therapy as a field based in part on a shoulder injury he got playing college baseball, before entering the Navy.
An orthopedic physical therapist he worked with provided the inspiration for Torok to recover and play again when others said he was finished.
He met his wife at URI and both his children are South Kingstown natives, “Swamp Yankees,” he said.
“We fell in love with South Kingstown. It’s really kind of awesome to work in the same place you live,” he said. “You see patients at the grocery store, restaurants, it’s awesome.”
Anchor PT employs two therapists and three administrative staff members, and is looking to grow, Torok said.
“This award is essentially a testimony to the staff and the patients who have supported us over the last five years,” he said. “I’m very blessed to be able to serve this community.”