New England Woman Small Business Owner of the Year

Carol Dancer and Absorbent Specialty Products continues to transform barriers into opportunity


Adversity is a fact of life for small business owners, never has a business opened its doors without obstacles immediately baring their teeth; Carol Dancer’s small business journey is no exception. Prior to Absorbent Specialty Products becoming a reality, Carol and her father, Perry, were in business as manufacturers of industrial absorbent materials made from paper mill sludge and landfill waste. In 2001, they lost the business to a devastating fire.

Hurt but determined, Carol and her father began again by seeking out financial partners for a new venture. They soon founded the new company and before long realized their partners had other than honorable motivations. Over the next three years the partners drove the business into disarray, causing Carol and Perry to leave the company.

Undeterred, Carol branched off on her own, taking the knowledge she had gained over years of entrepreneurship and opened the doors to Absorbent Specialty Products. Dancer began Absorbent Specialty Products modestly, focusing on the niche of mortuary reconstruction products. Before long they began receiving requests from customers of the business Carol had left. They were looking for someone who could supply acid and base neutralizers now that the supplier had closed. Carol began manufacturing these neutralizer products for liquid chemical spills immediately, building her customer base.

As Absorbent Specialty Products began to grow so did the scope of what the business produced. Dancer began focusing on her next offering, working on the early stages of what would become the Quick Dam product line. Quick Dam products offer homeowners, hospitals, and hotels the opportunity to stop flooding before it happens. Too often water damage is a reactive issue, demanding hefty restoration prices that may or may not be covered by insurance. Quick Dam offers multiple protective
options from potential disastrous damage.

Dancer’s new line had a dramatic effect on Absorbent Specialty Products, skyrocketing sales over 500% from 2012 to 2017. Carol continues to focus on her three most successful areas of mortuary reconstruction, neutralizers, and Quick Dam products. It is fitting that Dancer’s success comes from the creation of barriers; while she has created barriers to protect homes from disaster, she has faced so many barriers and adversity in her professional life and continued to come out the other side even
stronger. “It gives you a drive; I’m going to do it with or without you,” said Dancer, “When people are thinking you can’t do it, or they’re taking the opportunities away from you, you kind of turn it around and say I can do it, I know we can make it fly,” she added.


For her demonstrated success and potential for future growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Carol Dancer, President of Absorbent Specialty Products, as the 2018 New England Woman Small Business Owner of the Year.

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