Success Stories

The historic village of Frankenmuth is one of the top tourist destinations in Michigan, and one of its most popular stops is Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, enjoyed by millions of people each year.  The Zehnder legacy began when William and Emilie Zehnder sold their 80-acre farm and borrowed money for the $8,000 down payment to purchase the New Exchange Hotel.  After an extensive remodel, taking inspiration from Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington), the hotel re-opened as Zehnder’s on Mother’s Day 1929. 

Chairman and CEO Albert F. Zehnder, as well as many third and fourth generation family members are fulfilling the company’s mission to be the number one destination in Frankenmuth. The company is focused our four core areas of business - dining, lodging, retail and golf , making Zehnder’s a year round attraction.   The company currently has 942 full and part-time employees. 

In 2005, Zehnder’s opened a 30,000 square feet indoor water park, arcade, dining room, and... Read More

Background

Greg Saltzman worked in the meat department at a local grocery store for many years, venturing into entrepreneurship with a part-time deer processing business  based out of his home in Olivet, Michigan.  After noting the lack of stores offering fresh meat and deli products in his hometown, he decided to pursue entrepreneurship full-time, and began work on plans to build his own store to supplement the needs of his community.  

 

SBA Assistance

Saltzman connected with the SBA-funded Small Business Development Center and attended five business seminars in 2011 to prepare for the journey into business ownership.  He worked with SBDC business consultant Kellie Hanford over the next three years to develop a business plan, financial projections, and a commercial loan package. 

 

Success

Hastings City Bank provided a $221,000 SBA-guaranteed loan to finance the new building and refrigeration equipment.  Whitetail Farms Farm Fresh... Read More

Situation

Tiffany Klingensmith, owner of Unconventional Solutions, Inc., is a certified women’s business enterprise operating in [CITY], Michigan, specializing in composite repair and high performance protective coatings. Her business serves customers in the energy, power, natural gas, and oil and gas industries, but Klingensmith also promotes public safety by training pipeline owners and contractors on the correct application of liquid epoxies to pipelines. She has given numerous trainings to ensure the coatings are put on the pipelines correctly, ensuring the safety of local communities.

 

How the SBA Funded Women’s Business Center Helped

Klingensmith met with the SBA-funded Women’s Business Center when she became overwhelmed with running her business and prioritizing her workload.  Center Director Deb Loeser, a former business owner, helped her identify bottlenecks in production and delegate more routine tasks.  Loeser also recommended that... Read More

Situation

Ashley Williams graduated from the University of Southern California armed with a degree in journalism and a desire to put mark on the world.  After working in the industry for a number of years, she couldn’t ignore her desire to strike out on her own any longer.  In 2014, Williams started RIZZARR, a Millennial Marketplace with a mission to gather the largest collection of millennial content creators from around the world and empower them to positively transform their lives.  But she lacked the traction, background, and connections to make the company successful.  

 

How SBA’s Resource Partner SCORE Helped

Williams took an entrepreneurship course at the local community college and got connected with SCORE, SBA’s volunteer mentors.  She was paired with two mentors who helped her gain knowledge on building her tech company.  Williams attended SCORE webinars that offered useful information to help her on her entrepreneurial journey. SCORE mentors... Read More

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