(Crystal A. Proxmire, 3/9/2011)
As part of their monthly small Business Development workshops, Ignite will be presenting four entrepreneur success stories. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at Go Comedy! at 261 E. 9 Mile from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
Michelle Lewis, owner of Painting with a Twist, will be one of the presenters. She opened PWAT on September 16, 2010 and has been thriving ever since. PWAT offers a unique experience for their customers – a well-guided painting class with a finished painting they can be proud of. (To read our Ferndale View on the PWAT experience, check out http://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/10/15/paintingwithatwist/).
Lewis is glad she chose to open in Ferndale. “Being away from Metro Detroit for almost 5yrs before I opened, I did not really have a true clue on what would be the best location,” she said. “I won’t tell you my first thoughts for my studio location, I will just give you their initials ‘R.O.’ As I started to research locations I saw that the first place was not a good fit for PWAT. My attention switched to Ferndale because of its eclectic natural and it just seemed to be the new “it” place to be…the hot spot; the place that everyone wants to be or go. I also loved the fact that the DDA, Chamber and the rest of the community was/is so welcoming to our concept at PWAT and loving us as a part of the Ferndale landscape.”
She’ll be talking with Ignite attendees about the challenges she faces as a new entrepreneur. A surprising challenge for Lewis has been keeping track of the number of requests for charity auction items. She said that a more predictable new business problem, of course, is cash flow. On Thursday she’ll explain and answer questions.
Jerome Raska is another of the speakers scheduled for the Ignite meeting. Raska is the co-owner of Blumz and also an active participant in the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, Ferndale Rotary and many other community projects. He has been in the floral industry for 28 years. Twelve years ago he and partner Robbin Yelverton started a Blumz floral shop in Detroit. A year later they opened a second location, which includes a banquet room and a tuxedo rental store along with a beautiful floral showroom.
“I think it’s important for those who own successful businesses to serve as mentors for those who want to become an entrepreneur,” Raska said. “As our business matures it’s the new entrepreneurs that come up and strengthen ours. They bring new technology and new ideas, and we bring experience and the ability to share what we’ve learned. We all can work together for a brighter future.”
Treat Dreams owner Scott Moloney quit his job in the banking industry last year to open up a store where he invents off the wall flavors of ice cream. On Thursday he will share the secrets to his successful business launch. In the meantime, you can read about one of his interesting flavors here – http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/02/20/treat-dreams-announces-115th-flavor/.
Last, but not least, is Paper Street Motors founder Andy Didorisi. Didorisi created a Mecca for other small upstart businesses by providing both industrial work bays and offices for a very low monthly cost. The mood of Paper Street Motors is completed by a comfortable common workspace and a community of people who are good at bouncing ideas around, brainstorming solutions, and making things happen.
It was just about a year ago that The Ferndale 115 News wrote about this unusual new Ferndale business – http://www.ferndale115.com/19p4paperstreet.html. To find out how far they’ve come, come to Ignite on Thursday night.
The last Ignite meeting was on Feb. 12. It covered the importance of having a business plan and featured Jim Muir of SCORE. Read about it here – http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/02/12/dda-gets-ferndale-re-ignited/.
For more information on this and other DDA activities go to www.downtownferndale.com.