Success Stories

Robert Mock knows how to turn lemons into lemonade. He suddenly found himself out of work as the service manager for Palmer Motor Sales, a business that had been operation since 1912, making it the oldest Ford dealership. When the full impact of the recession hit Chelsea, a bedroom community of Ann Arbor in October of 2009, Palmer Motor Sales closed its doors due to poor auto sales.

What seemed like another closed business on Main Street, USA actually became a dream come true for Mock. He decided to buy the building and start his own company, and entered into an agreement with the owner of the building to lease the property. Thus began Palmer Auto Service, LLC. Mock knew the business would be successful because during difficult economic times, people are more likely to repair their existing vehicle rather than purchase a new one. The company is a car and light truck service center which offers maintenance and repair of both foreign and domestic vehicles. The shop is equipped... Read More

Mothers play a vital role in the life of their children, but what is a mother to do when she can’t take away her own child’s pain and discomfort caused by wearing a back brace?  For one Mid-Michigan mother, nothing short than developing an undergarment bodysuit for her child who was born with scoliosis! 

In early 2008, Tina Beauvais’ then six-year old daughter was diagnosed with a 25 degree curvature of her spine from the effects of scoliosis and in just a few short months her daughter’s curve increased to 45 degrees and required the full-time use of a Spinecor brace.  The brace was bulky, uncomfortable, and chaffed her daughter’s delicate skin.  It also made it impossible for the young girl to go the restroom without assistance.

“I knew with my engineering/manufacturing background there must be something I can do for her and others who have to wear similar braces,” said Beauvais.  Shortly after, she developed her first undergarment bodysuit for protect girls.   When... Read More

When Tony Carusso walked into a Camp Bow Wow franchise in 2007, he knew his life was about to change.  The leasing company he worked for was closing and Tony was contemplating his next move.  “When I saw happy dogs playing side by side, I just felt that I belonged in this business,” said Carusso.  Only 29 when he started, Carusso says, “It was the best move of my life.” 

Armed with a cash bonus, retirement funds, and the determination to succeed, Carusso went looking for a bank loan to help him purchase his own franchise.  As the recession deepened and credit tightened in 2007, Carusso worried whether he’d be able to get a loan.  But the self-proclaimed numbers geek put together a thorough business plan with financial projections that impressed the bank.  

The company received an SBA 504 loan for $413,000 and an SBA guaranteed loan for $183,200.  “The process was easy and the SBA did a great job,” said Carusso. 

The Colorado-based franchise was the perfect... Read More

During the Senior PGA (SPGA) Championship presented by KitchenAid at Harbor Shores local small business owner Dan Harbison of Rover Security Guard Agency, was contracted as the security contractor for the SPGA. Rover Security is a licensed and bonded security firm located in Benton Harbor and has been providing security services since 1986.

Due to this tremendous opportunity Dan found himself facing a temporary expansion of his normal staffing of 10 to 15 security guards to an additional 100 people for the two week engagement. Not only was Dan faced with quickly screening, hiring, and training staff he also needed to make sure a mechanism was in place to cover the additional payroll cost. Dan knew he needed some assistance and sought it through area organizations.

To facilitate the hiring of as many local residents as possible, Dan turned to the Consortium for Community Development. Thanks to the assistance received, over 95% of his temporary staff were Benton Harbor... Read More