64 Pine St., Portland
Aurora Provisions is an upscale prepared food market, cafe?, bakery, caterer and wine shop located in Portland’s West End. Kuzma and her team are committed to using locally grown, seasonal produce and fresh meat and dairy products from Maine farms. In addition to global specialty products, artisan breads and cheeses, fine wines and other gourmet market items, Aurora Provisions offers a wide variety of fresh daily and made-to-order sandwiches, salads, entrees and desserts to eat in or take out. The business was established 1997, and Kuzma took over in 2001.
What were your most important needs in getting started?
Monetary, certainly, trying to find financing and hanging on to my courage.
What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
There was nothing. My parents weren’t in business. My father was an engineer. They never would have taken the risk. But there was encouragement. If you really wanted to do it, you could do it.
What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
An advantage is, if you’ve got a vision, you can certainly carry it out. I realized I could not fully realize my vision working for someone else. A disadvantage is that you’re not taken seriously at banks, although they say that’s changed. It’s better than it used to be, but it’s still out there.
What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
Make sure you really want to do it because it’s very hard. If you’re not cut out for the stress of it – there’s a lot of worry – it can really make you sick. But if you can stick with it, there’s nothing like it.