Client Story - Muddy Boots Maple

Client Name: Gary and Sara Peters
Business Name: Muddy Boots Maple
Business Website:
Maple Sugaring
Location: Berlin, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Rita Toth

Muddy Boots Maple

Gary Peters caught the bug…the maple sugaring bug that is.  It all started in 2012 when his buddy shared that he was thinking he might try tapping a few maple trees and Gary, who’s always up for something new, figured he’d join in. “We tapped some trees, got some turkey fryers and a bunch of beer, and just decided to make maple syrup,” says Gary.

They had a lot of fun but it was a lot of work, so for Gary’s buddy, maple sugaring was short-lived.  But for Gary, he had officially caught the maple sugaring bug. So, he and his wife Sara started Muddy Boots Maple in Berlin, NH where they make and sell pure NH maple syrup, as well as other maple products like maple candy, maple cream, maple taffy, maple coated popcorn / peanuts, and more.

Gary explains, “What I love about it is being able to take a product that you get out of a tree, and you boil it down, and people love it. And I just I love people's reactions to all the different products we make.”  

They’ve moved on from scrambling for propane and running back and forth between turkey fryers in 2012. Today, they have a beautiful timber frame sugarhouse perfect for their operation.  In 2022, they processed sap from 850 trees and in 2023, they took their business to a whole new level when they leased a sugarbush, allowing them to add another 3,000 taps. 

It’s some exciting momentum, especially considering both Gary and Sara have full time jobs and two children. Gary is a full-time firefighter and Sara works for a bank. Nonetheless, they make it work (and still seem to like each other). “She is an amazing wife and partner,” says Gary. She keeps me in line.”  

maple syrup

As they looked to expand their operation though, Gary and Sara knew they needed some support to bring their business to the next level.  Taking on an additional 3,000 taps meant they had to make some changes. “We needed some structure in our world,” says Gary.

They were connected to NH SBDC through the UNH Cooperative Extension and began working with SBDC and  North & Central Regional Director Rita Toth, who helped them get some things together to prepare for this expansion. She helped them change from a DBA to an LLC and create a business plan and advised them on how to research what they needed for insurance. She also connected them to apply for a technology and marketing grant that allowed them to build the new website they have today and assisted them with applying for a loan to help them purchase the equipment they needed to expand.

Sara explained that they had applied at a regular bank and were denied. Rita explained to the Peters that they might have a more difficult time with banks because banks aren’t as familiar with farms and essentially, they are only making their product once a year. Instead, Rita connected them to a Farm Credit East Loan where they were approved for the funds they needed.

I would have been struggling because I had no direction on how to make it a business. Rita is super helpful…a lot of knowledge. She really got us going to where we needed to be. I will contact her again when I need something, ” Sara says.

Although Sara believes she would have eventually figured it out, she recognizes that with the SBDC’s help, she was able to get what she needed much more quickly.

For Muddy Boots Maple, business is sweet. Their products can be found in several local stores and recently the Mount Washington Auto Road signed on to carry their products as well. Folks can also reach out to them online to ask about product availability.

To other businesses who may need some support, Gary says, “Look up the SBDC. They could help steer you in the right direction. It’s great! We’re just starting out, and we’re behind the 8 ball to begin with, so it’s nice to have that free help.”