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Success Stories

Small Business Person of the Year, Lynn R. Gordon, French Meadow Bakery

French Meadow Bakery was founded in 1985 in the kitchen of Lynn Gordon’s home; it has steadily gown year by year into what is now a $4.8 million wholesale business. The company is committed to baking the most nutritious and best-tasking breads available, while educations customers on the benefits of organic products and support small family farms. As the nation’s first continuously certified organic baker, French Meadow currently produces 26 organic and yeast-free breads, bagels, and pizza crust in its 24,000 square foot bakery in south Minneapolis.

Entrepreneurial Success Award, Kent Johnston, President, Plymouth Plumbing, Inc.

Plymouth Plumbing, Inc. one of the largest contractors in the Twin Cities residential construction market, provides plumbing, heating and air services throughout the eleven-county metro area. The company focuses primarily on new residential construction, a sector that... Read More

Kathleen Meyer, owner of Meyer Contracting, Inc., Minneapolis, has been named Minnesota Minority Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award recognizes Meyer for excellence in her field and for demonstrating leadership.

In 1987, Meyer founded Meyer Contracting, specializing in the installation of water and sewer mains. The company also does excavation, grading, drainage and road construction, and provides general construction.

The SBA through the 8(a) program has been instrumental in providing bidding opportunities. Meyer Contracting, Inc. is certified as a minority & woman-owned business (M/WBE) with a variety of federal, state, city and local agencies. On a federal level, the firm is certified as a Small Disadvantage Business (SDB) which is concurrent with 8(a) BD Certification.

Meyer’s customers include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Corps of Engineers, and the 934th Airlift Wing. Her... Read More

Alexandra Blum, President and CEO of Minnesota Business Finance Corporation, has been named Financial Services Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office as well as the upper Midwest Region.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

The regional award winner is selected from among the state winners. In addition to Minnesota, SBA’s upper Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Blum has served as president and CEO of the Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (MBFC) since 1998. Under her leadership, MBFC has become a thriving $150 million certified development company licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to originate SBA 504 commercial real estate and equipment loans... Read More

Darlene Miller, President and CEO of Permac Industries based in Burnsville, Minn., has been named the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Person of the year is selected annually based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.

Miller was nominated by Steve Saefke of South Metro SCORE and Leanne Baldwin of Associated Bank.

Miller joined Permac Industries in 1992 as a salesperson. Although she really had no background in manufacturing or in running a business, Miller purchased Permac in 1994, a small precision machine parts manufacturing company that, at the time, was in workout condition with the bank. Dave Cleveland of Associated Bank believed in Darlene and helped her get an SBA 7(a) loan and mentored her during those early years.... Read More