OCONOMOWOC - Imagine
graduating high school in 2009. The economy is in recession, the
unemployment rate is high and an uncertain economic outlook upon
college graduation looms.
Three Oconomowoc High
School graduates faced that situation five years ago. Despite the
gloomy outlook, the trio decided the way to success exists outside
someone else’s office or inside a corporate cubicle.
Bryce Satterfield and Trevor Marks are part of the so-called
millenials, or 18 to 34-year-olds, and have made a risky decision:
to become small-business owners.
the millennials have a thirst for entrepreneurism. In a 2011 survey
conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit firm that tracks
U.S. entrepreneurship, 54 percent of young people either want to
start a business or have already started one.
That same survey
cites the hurdles that often foil their dreams - lack of credit for
capital, a lousy economy and existing debt.
challenges, the three classmates are charging forward. One just
opened her own apparel and home furnishings boutique another has
been an entrepreneur since he was 12, and the third is cruising to
success with a unique business model.
opened The Barn Owl in Delafield on Friday. Since then, she says
business has been good and that she’ll “be able to pay her rent this
The Barn Owl,
727 Genesee St., features a mix of apparel and home furnishings.
Keppeler’s concept was inspired partly by her love of the store
Anthropologie, but she said it distinguishes itself through her
She feels The
Barn Owl invokes both rustic and fashion-forward themes and
added that the owl is symbolic of her spreading her wings and
taking on the new venture.
Keppeler grew up
mostly in Oconomowoc, but chose Delafield because she felt the
location was perfect for what she wants to accomplish. She doesn’t
rule out other locations if her first store is a success.
from OHS, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout, studying
at first apparel design then transferring to retail and
Amy Keppeler in her new Delafield store The Barn Owl. She
and OHS Class of 2009 classmates Trevor Marks and Bryce
Satterfield are all young small-business owners.
She worked as a
management intern and a corporate intern, and although she
gained valuable experience she always knew she wanted to be her
“I had been job
searching for a couple months after graduation. It was right after
Christmas when I decided I am just going to go for it,” she said.
“Everyone around me was being supportive about the idea.”
Amy Keppeler outside her new Delafield store The Barn Owl.
The shop is open
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, visit
www.thebarnowlboutique.com for more information.
Oconomowoc may have first met Bryce Satterfield as a kid with a
clipboard. When he was 12, he began brainstorming ideas about how to
make money. Soon after, he was tromping around his neighborhood
signing up neighbors for a lawn mowing program.
“Since then, the
business has grown quickly, servicing many communities and
providing full property maintenance and landscape architecture
solutions,” Satterfield said.
In his senior year
of high school, Satterfield applied for and won a $40,000 McKelvey
Entrepreneurial Scholarship for his business and was recognized
through an award as one of the top 60 young entrepreneurs of 2009.
At age 19,
Satterfield launched another business called Bryce Satterfield
Rentals, a real estate investing firm.
“Year after year,
BSR has grown as well by buying and leasing property. BSR also
handles property management solutions,” he said.
businesses have been voted in the top of Intuit’s “most loved
businesses,” and have won other awards. He said these
accomplishments were achieved while attending college full time.
At 21, Satterfield
was recognized by Empact100, a compilation of the top entrepreneurs
and companies in the U.S. age 30 years and under with revenues over
In fall 2012,
Satterfield was recognized by President Barack Obama for meeting
with his administration regarding business insights and youth
In December 2012,
Satterfield graduated from college in six semesters with a
bachelor’s degree in business administration.
property maintenance and landscaping business has grown to 12
employees and hundreds of clients throughout the area.
information on both of Satterfield’s endeavors visit
Trevor Marks began
his entrepreneurism in college running a summer exterior painting
Now, he’s taking
it to another level, involving his brother and father as business
partners and including interior painting services.
He and best friend
Satterfield often marketed together, Marks driving while Satterfield
rode shotgun and distributed leaflets and pamphlets.
Trevor Marks, bottom left, books
and organizes bus trips through his Party by Bus
venture.This crew seen here is headed to a Jimmy Buffet
marketing and sales at both UW-Madison and UW-Whitewater.
He said he’d
consider a sales or marketing job, he’s on LinkedIn and has had
several offers, but right now being his own boss suits him and he’s
Two summers ago he
organized a bus trip to Alpine Valley after a sour experience having
to shell out additional money on a bus trip to a Jimmy Buffett
running it didn’t have enough money to pay for the bus to get back
home,” he said.
He decided to
organize the trip the following year, essentially acting as a
booking agent, and the event was a success. His friends encouraged
him to expand the trips and Party by Bus was born.
Party By Bus books
trips to Brewers games, bachelor and bachelorette parties, 21st
birthdays and much more.
“It provides a
safe environment for people to have fun,” he said.
Marks said he’s
looking to the future and would like to develop an app that would
make the party bus business easier for groups. And now with several
years experience in the house painting business he’s excited for the
“It’s great for
me,” he said. “The harder you work the more you make and the hours
information on his party bus business visit its Facebook page.