Success Stories

In the fall of 2014, when 7-Eleven announced it was shutting down franchises, Joe and Shannon Orriss made a life changing decision. After six years of operating the franchise, they were given the option to buy their store. “We made this store what it is, and the majority of customers come here because it’s us, not because it’s a 7-Eleven,” Orriss said. “We’ve put so much of ourselves into this place, we couldn’t just walk away. And there are six of us who would be out of a job if we did.” Thus began their venture outside the franchise world and into the world of preparing for and becoming business owners.

7-Eleven indicated they wanted to move quickly so Orriss immediately started researching ways to update and improve the store, and figuring out what the total project would cost. He contacted the Michigan Small Business Development Center regional office in Flint for help in putting together a business plan and in preparing to get financing. SBDC Regional Director Marsha... Read More

World Class Equipment Company is a Macomb, Michigan manufacturer of conveyors, robotic work cells, custom automation, robotic end-of-arm-tooling, automatic and manual assembly stations, fully automated weld cells, fixtures and more. The company was formed in 2012 by co-owners Mark Matheson, President, and Jeffrey Hinsperger, Vice President in order to meet the demands of turnkey automation solutions. With over 20 years of experience, World Class Equipment Company is a one stop shop for fully automated systems in the automotive, oil & gas, transportation and aerospace industries.

In 2014, Matheson and Hinsperger were strategizing how to finance export sales worth $2,500,000 from companies in Brazil, China, and Mexico. That’s when they were approached by Kyle Anne Sasena, an international product specialist and loan officer at Level One Bank. The community-based financial institution was a relatively new player in the world of small business finance, but it had a seasoned... Read More

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