"Bling Queen" Ozetta Aaron Keeps a Family Tradition Alive
For Ozetta Aaron, her business is a family affair. A fourth-generation seamstress, Aaron inherited Bessie's Alterations from her mother, who started the business in 1985.
"Sewing has always been in my family," Aaron expressed. "I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I love seeing people happy with the fit of their clothing."
In addition to running Bessie's Alterations, she worked full-time at Muskegon Public Schools when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown businesses and schools overnight. She pivoted from doing alterations as usual to making facemasks, but her lease on her space had run up, and she had nowhere to move the business.
Aaron applied for the Muskegon County Recovery Loan, a loan product created through a partnership with GROW and the Community Foundation of Muskegon County to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. She used the funds to relocate the business to a larger space in Norton Shores. Today, she is fully operational, offering clients alterations and repairs, clothing made to order and sewing classes.
"I am known as the bling queen, the miracle worker. I do custom work, arts and crafts," she laughed. "I do it all."
Aaron was just one of the dozens of small business owners to receive a Muskegon County Recovery Loan from GROW. The loans have proven to be vital in sustaining borrowers, many who were unable to access federal funds or traditional capital.
When she came to GROW for help, Aaron had long been familiar with the organization; in fact, she was part of the first graduating class of Mind Your Own Business, GROW's former 16-week long business development program. Currently a SCORE mentor, she often refers clients to GROW.
"If you are struggling with your credit...if you have blemishes on your credit, they will give you an opportunity," she said.
Aaron adds that she also encourages business owners to tap into GROW's program offerings.
"Take the courses. They have a lot to offer that will help you."