Client
Stories

Inspiring Small Business
Owners in West Michigan

Cimone Casson Gets in Front of the Green Rush

February 18, 2021

Cimone Casson Gets in Front of the Green Rush Cimone Casson is a leading player in one of the most quickly growing industries in the state of Michigan: marijuana. Casson is the founder and owner of Cannas Capital, an insurance agency specializing in the cannabis industry and the craft beer industry. This isn’t her first … Read more

Basic Bee Boutique Serves Up Style for a Young Urban Demographic

January 19, 2021

Basic Bee Boutique Serves Up Style for a Young Urban Demographic For Renise Warners, her business is an extension of herself. “All of the pieces of my brand represent me,” she said. “It’s my vision– everything reflects a part of me.” Warners is the owner of Basic Bee Boutique, where she sells a curated collection … Read more

Robert Gillum

From Food Truck to Brick and Mortar: Bobby Q

January 5, 2021

Robert Gillum knows his way around the kitchen — he’s worked in food service since he was 13 years old. “I tried to do other jobs,” he laughed. “But I always came back to cooking.” He developed a special love for barbeque and spent years entering competitions, perfecting his technique and flavors. As Gillum came … Read more

Boom Town Market

December 15, 2020

According to Dana Precious’s son, her downtown Muskegon grocery store is, “like industrial Muskegon had a love child with funky L.A.” The “little hometown grocery store” carries local produce, organic products, craft beer and wine, food to go, fresh meat, deli, and toiletries and hosts special events like wine and beer tastings. Precious is a … Read more

Manning’s Hometown BBQ

December 15, 2020

Manning’s Hometown BBQ is more than mouthwatering food that customers rave about; for owner Derek Manning, it’s a legacy. “I want to leave something for my kids,” the father of three expressed. “That’s important to me.” Manning’s mother passed away when he was just 4-years-old. He is inspired by memories of his father working hard … Read more

“Bling Queen” Ozetta Aaron Keeps a Family Tradition Alive

November 10, 2020

“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 … Read more

CMS Consulting Thriving After Shutdown

September 18, 2020

CMS Consulting Thriving After Shutdown Consuelo Maxim-Sparrow is a problem solver. In 2016, while working as the grant manager for Muskegon County she was in a meeting to address budget constraints when she offered a solution.  “I offered to go off as an independent contractor,” she said. “I did it, and off I went.”  And so became … Read more

Pampered Auto Transportation Stays Up and Running Through Pandemic

September 18, 2020

Pampered Auto Transportation Stays Up and Running Through Pandemic Pampered Auto Transportation was initially a car detailing shop that opened in 2015. As they aged, husband and wife co-owners Vanessa and Tony Davis realized that they would soon no longer be able to meet the physical demands on the detailing work. In January 2020, they transitioned … Read more

GROW Client Cindy’s Chicken Coop Serves Fried Chicken and Side of Kindness

September 14, 2020

GROW Client Cindy’s Chicken Coop Serves Fried Chicken and Side of Kindness Food is Lucinda Waver’s love language. “I love serving people and helping them enjoy food,” she said. “I love being in the kitchen. I love making people happy through food.” Waver learned to cook from her mother, who passed away when Waver was … Read more

GROW Loan Helps El Globo Restaurant Survive COVID-19 Shutdown

September 8, 2020

GROW Loan Helps El Globo Restaurant Survive COVID-19 Shutdown Oswaldo Cordova and his wife Evangelina Abundis opened El Globo Restaurant to fill a gap in the local market and satisfy their cravings for food from home. “We wanted to eat some real Mexican food,” Cordova said. “We couldn’t really find what we were looking for … Read more

Michelle Doetsch, New Yew Healing

September 4, 2020

Michelle is a massage therapist and so much more. Her repertoire includes body work, Reiki Master, spiritual healing, certified aroma therapist with plans to become a registered aroma therapist. Early in her career, she worked as an independent contractor with some of her own clients. Having done mostly in-home care and lugging everything around, Michelle … Read more

Rose Hendershot, Photographic Memory

September 4, 2020

Rose Hendershot’s passion for photography led her to start her own business, Photographic Memory, in 1997. Her work has since gained recognition and awards from organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America, Michigan Triangle Professional Photographers Association, Barry County Fair, and Michigan State Fair, among others. Specializing in event and portrait photography, Hendershot strives … Read more

GROW Loan Allows Urban Apparel to Reopen

August 6, 2020

GROW Loan Allows Urban Apparel to Re-Open As we continue to face the aftereffects of the Coronavirus, businesses and entrepreneurs have taken a specific kind of hit. Although most of us could have never imagined we’d be in the throes of a worldwide pandemic, it has forced many of us to reevaluate our current circumstances. … Read more

Los Amigos Receives GROW Loan, Giving the Restaurant Room to Adjust to New Normal

Los Amigos Receives GROW Loan, Giving the Restaurant Room to Adjust to New Normal

July 22, 2020

Los Amigos Receives GROW Loan, Giving the Restaurant Room to Adjust to New Normal COVID-19 has impacted us all in different ways, and it continues to carry lasting effects. Some of your favorite local businesses have shouldered burdens too heavy to carry alone. At GROW, we’ve been honored to work with the Community Foundation for … Read more

Recovery Loan Story: Christina VanDam, Zeal Aerial Fitness

July 6, 2020

Recovery Loan Story: Christina VanDam, Zeal Aerial Fitness Although no one could’ve predicted a global pandemic when 2020 began, here we are. And unfortunately, several of our favorite local businesses have taken a hit during these difficult times. With closures, loss of revenue, and uncertain reopening timeframes, entrepreneurs across the country have found themselves in … Read more

Kelly Kermode, Pottery Lane

October 24, 2019

“Don’t do it alone. Find people to lean on and get advice from. The world, in general, wants to help, you just have to be willing to ask. The reality of being an independent business owner is that if you’re doing it right, you have support so you can make the best decisions.” Students Became … Read more

Margaret Stoika and Doug Brown, Grand River Office

August 16, 2019

“Plan and learn as much as possible to prepare you for ownership, then develop a key group of support partners to assist with funding, accounting, legal representation, and more.”  – Margaret Stoika “Approach business ownership with purpose and understand your strengths and weaknesses – you can’t be everything for everyone.” – Doug Brown Grand River Office … Read more

Zena Patillo

August 5, 2019

Fall down seven times, stand up eight Zena Patillo is a survivor. She’s also an educator, a serial entrepreneur, and the next best thing to sliced bread. She is a strong woman; six feet tall and bold, “But you’re not gonna find a better employee. Every place I’ve been, I leave it a better place,” … Read more

Jonny Farman & Jon Frantz, Urban Jonny’s Salon

July 17, 2019

“If your gut is telling you to do something counter to what the current culture of your business is doing, do it. Don’t be afraid of being different, because that’s where you can find success.” Urban Jonny’s Salon recently celebrated their one-year anniversary, and in their first year, salon owners Jonny Farman and Jon Frantz … Read more

Chris Woods & William Washington, No Limit Fitness

July 2, 2019

“We truly want people to be healthy. We are family and we work hard to create community.” Chris Woods was at a crossroads. After spending the last twenty years as a personal trainer helping clients achieve their goals, he had yet to achieve his own and time was quickly running out. When the gym Chris … Read more

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