Success Stories

Recently, the SBA Michigan District Office conducted a pilot program called Getting to 
Yes. The initiative was a result of SBA Michigan District Director Gerald Moore’s travel 
to Michigan’s 83 counties where he heard countless times that small business could not 
access financing. He challenged the SBA staff to develop a program that addressed the 
issues faced by small business owners who were seeking financing. Getting to Yes met
that challenge by combining education, consultation, pitch practicing, and access to 
lenders in a four stage process. 

Nora Contacting is an 8(a) construction contracting company owned by Audie Brinker. 
Together with his Chief Financial Officer, Domenic Maiuri, they applied to be part of the 
Getting to yes program. Domenic was diligent about attending each training session and 
meeting with his consultant Julie Oldham from the Small Business Development Center. 
Oldham, a CPA, specializes in... Read More

Monte Nagler of Monte Nagler Photography is among the top landscape photographers in America. A student of Ansel Adams, he is a member of the esteemed Camera Craftsmen of America. Nagler’s photographs, which have won numerous awards is included in many public and private collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Dayton Art Institute, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, The Brooklyn Museum, The State of Michigan, General Electric Corporation, BASF Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, and General Motors. Galleries and agents throughout the country also represent his photography.

The company is run by Monte’s partner in life and business, Michelle “Mickey” Nagler, President of Monte Nagler Photography. She handles the day to day operations and is the driving force for the marketing and maintenance of the company’s websites.
Monte Nagler PhotosforHealing™ products provide a unique... Read More

After seeing one too many blouses and shirts having been ruined by spills, Kathy Steck was driven to create the Cravaat™. Steck, a former production and plant manager, incorporated her love of scarves into the design of an “adult bib”. Soon she created her company called DinerWear ™ and began marketing the Cravaat™ to seniors.

The fabric is microfiber but feels like ultra-suede with more body. Most stains wash out and will even wipe clean. And it comes out of the dryer relatively wrinkle free. It also looks good and can be worn just as one would wear a scarf.

Steck quickly discovered that Cravaats™ weren’t just for seniors. Whether you’re physically challenged or just want some insurance that you will come away from the table, (or car, or plane) with clean clothes, the Cravaat™ will help. The company’s mantra is, “An ounce of protection is worth a pound of laundry.”

... Read More

There's something about Retro-a-go-go! that makes you smile the moment you enter the company's new headquarters in downtown Howell, MI. Maybe it's the fun & functional jewelry, accessories, and home décor that owner Kirsten Pagacz and her product designer husband sell. Perhaps it's the little bit naughty but oh so nice vintage parasols on display, or her stellar team. Whatever the reason, Kirsten and Doug Pagacz have created a successful, predominantly on-line business based on nostalgia and fun.

It's hard to believe that Kirsten started the business at her kitchen table with only $100! But she had the background and the commitment to make the company a success. She had spent her entire career in product development and marketing, and her husband Doug is a brilliant illustrator and artist with over 20 years of experience as a product developer. Plus, the two have been collecting art for years, so the creation of Retro-a-go-go! was a natural melding of work and love.... Read More