SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – The US Small Business Administration has named two South Kingstown-based companies as Rhode Island Small Business Week 2022 honorees.
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 will be honored along with 13 other honorees from across the state at the Rhode Island Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon on May 3rd at the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.
“This year’s honorees truly embody the entrepreneurial excellence that the Ocean State has to offer,” said SBA District Director Mark Hayward. “These incredible business owners and advocates are all showing what hard work perseverance can lead to, not only surviving the pandemic, but finding ways to adapt, grow and thrive. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”
CakeSafe is one of two winners who also received an SBA regional award.
“CakeSafe is honored to receive this award from the SBA,” said Scott Chapin. “The years of support from the Small Business Administration and the Westerly Credit Union have been instrumental in enabling our success.”
The company manufactures tools and equipment for the baking, chocolate and sugar industries. Customers include home bakers, hobby bakers, chocolatiers, professional cake designers and famous cake artists.
Scott said he was inspired by his wife Juli, a professional baker, to create products that solve problems bakers face every day.
The four main product lines include the CakeSafe box for cake transport, acrylic discs for icing cakes, the Sugar Shack for working with pulled sugar and spray booths for the convenient elimination of overspray for chocolatiers, cake decorators and bread bakers.
It is the quintessential small business success story.
Scott Chapin founded the company in his basement in 2009 after his engineering firm laid off senior employees. With a wife and three children to support, he decided to sell the inventions he had made for his wife’s baking business.
In 2018, the company moved to a commercial space that contained production and shipping rooms and offices. The company doubled the size of its headquarters in 2020, further expanding into the commercial building it occupies and adding a wholesale and Amazon section.
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 manufacture products from local or Rhode Island-based manufacturers whenever possible.
Chapins and CakeSafe employees are also environmentally conscious. The company pays for typically non-recyclable materials that are recycled by specialized recyclers. It has eliminated styrofoam from its packaging materials. The company is also a drop-off point for locals who bring their packing supplies.
Despite experiencing difficulties like many companies in 2020, the company donated a portion of its sales to COVID relief.
Not far from CakeSafe, Anchor Physical Therapy turns five on May 1st.
Owner Mark Torok opened a 700-square-foot facility at 46 Holley St. and expanded it during the COVID-19 shutdown.
The suite features special equipment to help physical therapy patients recover and get back on track.
Torok has had challenges during COVID when he has been unable to meet patients while lockdown restrictions are in place.
“We did telemedicine at first, which is a learning curve when you’re trying to rate someone on Zoom,” he said. “We have adapted, overcome, like others. But we are definitely lucky.”
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Torok came to Newport in the 1990s while serving in the US 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 on the GI Bill to attend the University of Rhode Island. He chose physical therapy as a field, in part due to a shoulder injury he sustained playing college baseball before joining the Navy.
An orthopedic physical therapist he worked with inspired Torok to recover and play again when others said he was done.
He met his wife at URI and has two children from South Kingstown, “Swamp Yankees,” he said.
“We fell in love with South Kingstown. It’s really great to work in the same place you live,” he said. “You see patients in the grocery store, in restaurants, it’s great.”
Anchor PT employs two therapists and three administrative staff and is looking to grow, 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 blessed to be able to serve this community.”