Combining a home-based business with digital media suited this Naperville mom. Amanda Wittenborn is the founder of A-Manda Creation, an online party printing business for themed and coordinated party supplies.
“I was a scrapbooker when I had my first son,” says Wittenborn, but quickly saw the advantages of moving to the digital world to fully unfold her creative needs and have access to endless supplies. “You know how it is, you have all those supplies — papers, glues, scissors and elements. On the computer you never run out. And you can re-use your supplies.”
As her two sons grew into toddlers, Wittenborn found herself creating themed parties. Soon friends and family were saying she should take her creativity to the next level. In April, Wittenborn made her online business, A-Manda Creation, official, following a trend for online home-based businesses.
Wittenborn attributes her quick growth to the immediate gratification customers get while still being hands-on.
“Customers download it instantly, either print it themselves or go to an office supply store, and then just fold and glue,” Wittenborn explains.
All items on the A-Manda Creation website, at amandacreation.com, were created by Wittenborn.
“I’ve got about 10 to 15 complete party sets, each with about 20 to 30 individual items ranging from candy wrappers to banners to juice box wraps,” says Wittenborn.
The site includes more than 500 items with endless customization possibilities.
“I have so many ideas, hundreds, just not enough time,” says Wittenborn, who often gets inspired by her customers’ ideas. “I even have a customer from Australia.”
Wittenborn spends about 30 to 40 hours weekly on the growing business, but as demand grows, she might look at opening a shop to add to the diversity to her business model.
“It’s still too early to think about it, but I’d love to offer coordinating supplies like straws and plates.”
B. Happy Café opens
A frozen yogurt self-serve café with a twist opened earlier this summer in downtown Naperville at 206 S. Washington St.
Wanting to introduce not just a new product but a more family-friendly pricing method, B. Happy Café offers self-serve yogurt in three cup sizes or waffle cones, all at a fixed price.
“We call it the no-scale zone,” says Michael Prince, founder and owner of B. Happy Café. “People love to come in to create their own master piece without worrying about price. We took away the unknown.”
The product is just as innovative as its pricing.
“I wanted a frozen yogurt that is lactose and diabetic safe — and is gluten free,” says Prince, who was inspired by friends with those health concerns.
B. Happy Café also introduces self-serve smoothies.
“It’s make your own smoothie. Fill one-third of your cup with toppings, and the rest with frozen yogurt of choice, and we blend it for you.”
At $3.49 for a 12-ounce smoothie, customers can choose from more than eight frozen yogurt flavors that are frequently switched out. And they don’t have to worry too much about calories — “6.5 ounces are just one weight watcher point,” Prince says.
Next to a variety of hot drinks, B. Happy Café also offers gourmet cupcakes baked fresh daily.
Closing after 23 years
Café Buonaro’s has been a staple at Naperville’s 5th Avenue Station for more than two decades, but as of July 17, the family business is slated to close by the end of September.
“It is a bitter sweet decision,” says Michelle Hedl, daughter of owner Regina Buonaro. “We always worked to offer a great meal at an affordable price.”
In a letter to their patrons, the family writes “We’ve spent the last two decades building a business we are proud of by doing what we love most,” as posted on its website at www.cafebuonaros.com.
“It is a great location,” says Hedl, referring interested buyers to her sister Tina McConnaughey. They hope to sell the business.
Know of a business coming to or leaving Naperville? Contact Daina Saleh at email@example.com.