U.S. Small Business Administration visits Bangor business for 70th anniversary

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The U.S. Small Business Administration is turning 70!

To celebrate, they paid a visit to Courtney Bed Wednesday, a Bangor business aimed at providing safe and accessible comfort. Folks from SBA’s Maine District Office got the chance to tour the production facility to see how the beds are made.

“Small businesses in Maine are spectacular. More than 99% of businesses in Maine qualify as small and can use our services,” says Diane Sturgeon, the District Director for the SBA’s Maine District Office.

These services include advising, loan guarantees, disaster programs, and facilitation for government contracting.

Like many small businesses, Courtney Bed was born from the creators identifying a need their family had but failed to find elsewhere: a suitable and safe bed for their daughter Courtney, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and had trouble sleeping.

“My father developed the first bed for my sister,” describes current Courtney Bed CEO and President Erin MacArthur. “Years ago, Courtney needed a safer sleeping environment. So, my dad created this bed for her. He wanted something that was similar to my sister’s and I’s bed but also had that enclosure to keep her safe.”

The Courtney Bed is designed for those with cognitive disabilities to be safe while sleeping or in bed. The design features high-sided fabric enclosures with a zipper sheath to reduce the risks of falling or getting up in the middle of the night.

Due to customer feedback, the bed can come with waterproof panels, in different sizes, and more to fit the individual needs of all who use one.

“It’s a perfect example of somebody who has a problem that isn’t being solved by the market. They figured out a way to solve that problem and they’ve modified their product based on customer feedback,” comments Sturgeon.

After buying Courtney Bed from her father, MacArthur utilized the SBA’s resources to prepare herself for undertaking the family business.

“The THRIVE program for me was amazing. It gave me the ability to take a step back and see what type of leader I am, what type of business owner I am. It provided me all kinds of tools, information, it gave me access to all kinds of professionals that can provide guidance,” explains MacArthur.

The challenges Courtney Bed has faced in the past even culminated into passing state legislature.

“Insurances sometimes consider it a restraint, they say it’s not medically necessary for that individual,” says MacArthur. “My dad worked with a local, Herbie Clark, and tried to put this law in effect and so that’s where the Courtney Bed Bill derived from, is that the state of Maine would provide funding for these families to obtain a product like ours.”

Ultimately, MacArthur is glad to help families similar to hers by continuing the family business.

“Knowing that we’re making a difference in a family’s life and an individual’s life is huge,” she says.