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Success Stories

Danielle and Mychal Stittsworth at the SBA Awards Luncheon

For close to 25 years, Stittsworth Meats has served the Bemidji area quality meats with a side of excellent customer service and dedication to their community for dessert.  During Small Business Week in 2016 its lender, the Minnesota Business Finance Corporation, honored Stittsworth Meats for those things and the business success that has followed from them.

 Started in 1993 by brothers, Corey and Clay Stittsworth, Stittsworth Meats is full-service meat market and butcher shop business that served individual and commercial customers. When brothers Corey and Clay first began they served brats at The Home Sport and Travel Show and shortly after that, the Bemidji Water Carnival, to raise profits and the shop’s profile. The brats turned out to be a huge success and they began swiftly getting many requests to serve at other events.

In 2010, when Corey’s son, Mychal Stittsworth, was ready to buy the business, it was an SBA guaranteed loan that helped make it possible.... Read More

Photo of Benjamin Loehrer

SBA Funding Helps House Thriving Gym

Benjamin Loehrer began weight training on his own at age 12. The strength and fitness lifestyle meshed well with the farm life in South Dakota where he grew up. At 15, he entered his first power lifting competition and loved it. At 17, he competed in his first bodybuilding meet. The competitions fostered his love of training hard and competing. 

After graduating from high school Loehrer moved to Minneapolis to pursue bodybuilding full time. On his first day he walked into Los Campeones Gym and describes it as one of the best days of his life. He went from training alone in a barn to training in a fully equipped gym with like-minded people. From there he became a competitor and personal trainer.

By 2010, Los Campeones Gym had become poorly managed and was on the verge of closing. Loehrer purchased it with partners and became a business owner at age 20. By 2013, the business was doing well and Benjamin bought out his partners... Read More

Photo of Mike Wolbrink

Founded in 2012, Azule Staffing’s primary mission is to put veterans to work in lucrative, rewarding vocations outside of the military. In addition to helping his fellow veterans find jobs, Azule offers job coaching, mentoring, resume refinement and more. 

The owner, Michael Wolbrink, is a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger with a proven commitment to the veteran community. Wolbrink’s “never quit” attitude began as a young man detasseling corn and delivering newspapers in Iowa. It continued at Wheaton College where he earned a ROTC scholarship. His attitude propelled him through Ranger school, serving as a general’s aide, the Army Reserves and more.

To help him help others, Wolbrink has received assistance from SBA’s partner the MN Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), including mentoring, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business certification and more.  In 2012 when he began working with PTAC, Wolbrink’s company had 6 internal employees and placed 485... Read More

Photo of Gloria Freeman

SBA’s Funding and Emerging Leaders Program Helped Her Succeed

Gloria Freeman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Minneapolis-based Olu’s Home, Inc. and Olu’s Center, was chosen as Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year for her personal achievements and contributions to her community.


Gloria's desire to serve those in her community is rooted in her childhood. Her mother was a prominent public speaker and advocate for the mentally ill. In 1999 she founded Olu’s Home, a licensed care organization that provides residential and in-home services to the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Today, the company operates 11 group homes and has over 100 employees in the Minneapolis area.


The company began the intergenerational care center, Olu's Center, in 2015. It provides a day program for children and seniors where they can interact with each other. Olu’s Center is a safe space for the young and... Read More