Marna and Susan’s Story

CapeAble Sensory Products, based in Fort Wayne, produces weighted blankets, weighted wearables, and sensory-enrichment tools. Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok, co-owners of CapeAble, started the business because they were trying to fill a need. According to their product brochure, “Both of our families adopted children who had suffered early childhood trauma resulting from their time in orphanages and US foster care.”

Marna and Susan are passionate about their business and grateful for all the help they have received from the community to get them to where they are now. “We feel fortunate that our business is located in northeast Indiana,” said Susan. “The variety of available resources and the willingness of the local business community to come alongside us have been invaluable in developing and growing our business.”

The Brightpoint Development Fund partnered with Marna and Susan to provide technical support and financing for their business. As Susan put it: “Small businesses can’t be just for the rich. Go to a bank and they turn you down because you don’t have the money. There has to be someplace for people to go who don’t have the means, and that’s what Brightpoint does. You came along when no one else would.”

CapeAble Sensory Products had quite a year in 2017. Marna and Susan were finalists in the national InnovateHER competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration. Out of over 3,000 women-owned businesses across the country, CapeAble Sensory Products was one of 10 selected to travel to Washington D.C. to participate in the final competition. “It was an honor to represent the northeast Indiana small-business community in our nation’s capital,” Marna said. “It was inspiring to hear the pitches of the nine other finalist.”

In addition to being an InnovateHER finalist, CapeAble was named the Outstanding Innovative Business in 2017 at the national SCORE Awards in September, in McLean, Virginia. CapeAble also won an award in May from the Indiana Small Business Development Center for Economic Development and Growth through Entrepreneurship (EDGE), in recognition of the company’s initial success as a Hoosier business.

For 2018, CapeAble is shifting away from targeting the special-needs community, because the owners have discovered that heir primary customers are those struggling with anxiety, stress, and sleep difficulties. “We are so excited as we enter 2018,” Marna said. “Parkview Health is conducting a formal IRB [institutional review board] study with our patent-pending SmartWeight products. Coinciding with the publication of the formal study, we will be launching our medical antimicrobial line, CapeAbleCare, with our SmartWeight Technology.”

CapeAble Sensory Products is a good example of how the Brightpoint Development Fund is able to help small businesses succeed. In addition to our help, Marna and Susan have taken full advantage of the resources available in the community for small businesses.

To learn more about CapeAble and see their products, visit CapeAble.com or call (260) 494-7460.