Success Stories

"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

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