Greater Confidence, a New Website, and Increased Sales! It’s a Win-Win-Win For Last Year’s Grant Winner CMS Waterworks

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“We are grateful to Heidi and her team for this past opportunity and encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to apply for this grant and learn from the best.” — Kris Lauritson


They didn’t want to continue the business after their mother and CMS Waterworks founder, Helen Fernandez, passed away…but their mother’s clients wouldn’t stop calling! So sisters Kris, Patty, April and April’s daughter Paige, decided that reviving the family business was worth looking into. That was nearly five years ago. Since then, they’ve expanded their mother’s business online and beyond, “We tweaked the formula, got it on which was a big deal for us, and we were eventually picked up by Whole Foods in the Pacific Southwestern Region,” says co-owner Patty Fernandez.

Although this was a great start, the owners knew that if they were going to maintain their growth, they would need a lot more help.

The Marketing Challenge

Every new business struggles with getting more exposure and with so much “noise” on the internet it can be a challenge to stand out and be heard. Although CMS had some initial success, they were having significant challenges getting more visibility to grow their business. They applied for the grant with the specific intention of using the winnings to learn more about marketing and how to promote their business, “Applying for the grant was a major learning curve for us and winning has pointed us in the right direction for long-term success,” said co-owner Kris Lauritson.

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Since winning, they’ve built a new website and were able to expand their local customer base thanks to the high-quality exposure they received from and media partner, Localista Magazine, “The grant award including additional promotions…boosted our sales in the South Bay by approximately 15%,” said Ms. Lauritson.

But Winning Isn’t Everything

What does it take to run a small business successfully? Community, exposure and confidence, “The number one thing we gained from winning was confidence. When you’re just starting out, you don’t know if anyone knows who you are. Going through the ceremony, being selected, meeting new people, and networking at the South Bay Mavericks event helped boost our confidence in who we are and what we’re doing,” says Patty Fernandez.

Starting a new business takes courage and some extra funds to create a sense of confidence and security is an added bonus, which is why gives away grant money to small locally-owned and independent businesses. Patty Fernandez agrees, “When you’re ‘little’ confidence is important because you feel like you’re ‘out there’ alone.”

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Pictured above: Founder Helen Fernandez

Why Apply for the Grant? is part of a grassroots effort to inspire more people to buy from local businesses in neighborhoods across America to keep our communities healthy, wealthy, and vibrant. To help local businesses achieve greater visibility and profitability, certifies small locally-based and independent businesses.

When asked about and the grant, Ms. Lauritson replied, “We are grateful to Heidi and her team for this past opportunity and encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to apply for this grant and learn from the best.”

Who will be this year’s winners? is hosting its 3rd Annual Small Indie Business Grant Awards program for businesses based in the South Bay. This year’s winners will be revealed at the South Bay Business Mavericks Gala & Grant Awards ceremony taking place on Wednesday, October 21st 2015 at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum. Based on last year’s success, they expect over 100 attendees to attend the gala event, including local entrepreneurs, community leaders and small business owners.

cms waterworksWhen asked why do the grant awards? Founder, Heidi Butzine said, “The Grant Awards program is our way of giving back to the South Bay business community. We know it takes a lot to run your own business. It’s the courage, persistence and passion that drives the small business owners to get out there every day and serve our community. We’re proud to host the Small Indie Business Grant program to honor the tremendous contribution small businesses make to the national and local economy.”

To apply for the Shop Local Small Business Grant Awards please visit:


For tickets or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities please visit: