Success Stories

"At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington”

Belinda and Walter Jefferson are part of prestigious group of 242,900 women owned businesses in Michigan.  Impressively, Walter is the Chief Financial Officer and Belinda serves as President of Hercules & Hercules, one of the Great Lakes Region’s major janitorial and sanitation suppliers.  Even more impressive is the fact that the company was established as a custodial services business by African Americans Hercules Jefferson Sr. and Hercules Jefferson Jr. in 1964.  Before the March on Washington, before the Civil Rights Amendment, and before African Americans were fully accepted into the mainstream of the American economy, this father and son team created their own opportunity and their own legacy. 

With hard work, dedication to quality, superior service, and investing in technology, Hercules & Hercules is a successful minority owned business with a 60,000... Read More

"At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington”

When Don Lofton of Adrian, MI first started in a business training program conducted by the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, he was the sole owner of Adrian Taxi, a ten year old business in a small town near the Ohio border.  The FastTrac curriculum helped Lofton create a strategic plan for the next five years of business, and his business consultants at the SBA funded SBTDC are helping him put together a loan package to expand the business. 

Lofton has faced many obstacles on his road to business success.  He raised four hard working, family oriented sons as a single dad. He faced many challenges as a successful African American business owner in a community that is 94% Caucasian.  And just this past December, Don and his partner Kara, had a baby boy who was born prematurely, barely weighing three pounds.  The baby has had several severe... Read More

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

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