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BusINess » Business Owner

Posts Tagged ‘Business Owner’

SBDC honors small-business owners, advocates

Cliff Fleming, center, poses with LeAnn McCrumb, right, as Fleming receives the Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday during the 19th annual E-Day Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. Jim Jorgensen, left, of the E-Day board of directors, presented the awards at the event. Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet. (Photograph by The Times.)

Cliff Fleming, center, poses with LeAnn McCrumb, right, as Fleming receives the Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday during the 19th annual E-Day Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. Jim Jorgensen, left, of the E-Day board of directors, presented the awards at the event. Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet. (Photograph by The Times.)

Rebuilding Northwest Indiana’s economy after the current recession will take creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, two virtues recognized at Tuesday’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon.

Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet at the 19th annual event hosted by the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.

Rick Rondinelli, of In Touch Pharmaceuticals in Valparaiso, was named Small Business Person of the Year during the E-Day ceremonies. He started his company in 2004 to provide patient medication management through premeasured and individual dosage packaging of prescription medications.
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Designing woman—New flower shop opens with a ‘wow’

Marilyne Hamstra is the owner of Dutch Girlz Dezign, a floral and antique shop and interior design center in Crown Point. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marilyne Hamstra is the owner of Dutch Girlz Dezign, a floral and antique shop and interior design center in Crown Point. (Photograph by The Times.)

The name Dutch Girlz Dezign takes a bit of explaining, but the shop’s wares speak for themselves.

Marilyne Hamstra opened Dutch Girlz Dezign to use her talents as a veteran interior and floral designer.

“I’m not typical florist,” she said. “Mine is a unique decorating experience. I’m not just out to sell a product. I have to sell myself so people trust me. I’m here to provide a service by giving people something unique, something unbelievable, something unexpected.”

Hamstra had owned and operated a flower shop in Lowell for 15 years before beginning a freelance home and interior design business, then being employed by the development company.
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Shannon Burhans

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Like anyone who runs a small independent business and has young children, Shannon Burhans stays very busy. Paid vacations are hard to come by. When her young children aren’t in school, they’re probably with her—and need rides to sports or gymnastics practices.

That would be enough for most people, but not Burhans, who for the last seven years has run The eState, a jewelry, memorabilia and antiques shop in Portage, with her husband Dave. Throughout those years, the 38-year-old mother of two also volunteered for a dizzying array of positions in four organizations: the Portage Chamber of Commerce, the Portage Kiwanis club, Safe Sitter and the Portage Parks and Recreation Foundation.

“I really enjoy doing community service,” says Burhans, who’s originally from Schererville and went to Lake Central High School. Last year, she was named “Distinguished Club President” by Kiwanis International, which is dedicated to “changing the world, one child and one community at a time.” Burhans is the immediate past-president of the Portage club. She’s also served as the club’s secretary and vice-president, and is currently chair of its membership committee.

She also coordinates the club’s Dictionary Project, which she created while serving as vice president in 2006. Each year, the club fundraises to purchase dictionaries that are given to all third graders in Portage Township schools. “Most of us have the internet, so you wouldn’t think a dictionary would be such a big deal,” says Burhans, who lives in Portage. But children like having their own dictionary. “Every one of those kids is extremely grateful—they’re using it, they’re interested.”
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Finding his Lottt in life

Nick Delgado shows off some of the custom designed board faces at his Schererville business. Delgado has opened The Lottt, a skateboard and custom design shop that creates custom skateboards and specialty shirts and signage. (Photograph by The Times.)

Nick Delgado shows off some of the custom designed board faces at his Schererville business. Delgado has opened The Lottt, a skateboard and custom design shop that creates custom skateboards and specialty shirts and signage.
(Photograph by The Times.)

For seven years, Nick Delgado played professional baseball for affiliate teams of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After 13 knee surgeries and other medical problems that surfaced, the East Chicago native found himself asking the question, “What now?”

An athlete as well as an artist, Delgado turned to his second love and began to pursue opening an embroidery business that featured custom apparel.

With 13 cents in his pocket, however, he knew it would take a lot of hard work to make his dream become a reality.

“I ended up getting a job with UPS and got a couple other jobs, like doing baseball lessons,” said Delgado, owner of The Lottt in Schererville. “With that, I saved enough money for my embroidery machine. I paid that out cash, something like $17,000.”

From about 1997 to 2001, Delgado built and bought equipment one piece at a time. He also trademarked his work, which cost him another $25,000 because of all his individual and custom pieces he wanted to protect.

“I kept doing the same thing—working, saving, working, saving, and buying new machines,” Delgado said.

Through all this, he never took out a loan.

“I kept believing and taking on clients,” Delgado said. “Finally, things started getting bigger.”

In 2003, he and his wife decided to make the move to open a storefront in Chicago. The business took off as more started to notice Delgado’s work, which consists of four lines of clothing and customized silk-screening.
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Seize the opportunity to ‘pop-up,’ boost your business

A recent retail phenomenon is the “pop-up”—using temporary space for a relatively short, specific period of time in a space that was formally rented on a long-term lease. The temporary store “pops up” and then goes away—”pops down,” I guess.

This has come about because of increased vacancy rates in this business climate that causes property managers and landlords to become more creative in their quest to increase cash flow, figuring that something that will help them pay the mortgage is better than nothing.

A pop-up gives a company the opportunity to test a new concept or different location without committing to a long-term lease and, if the experiment is successful, they may be able to convert the arrangement into a long-term lease.
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Barber shop preserves small-town appeal, patriotic flavor

For years, men gathered at the Tenth Street Barber Shop to smoke cigars and socialize.

It was a place to get a haircut, but it was more than that to the barbers and their regulars.

Although the cigar smoke has dissipated and stories have changed, the white storefront with a blue and red barber shop pole still sits on 10th Street.

It’s a staple of the Hobart community, and one Shelly Gilliana would often pass by and admire its quaintness.
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Workshops help prospective business owners

The Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center’s two-hour Launch Your Own Business Workshop helps would-be entrepreneurs examine their ability to launch a business by considering the opportunities and challenges involved in business ownership.

The next workshop is set from 6 to 8 p.m. September 14 at the Hammond INnovation Center (5209 Hohman Avenue, Hammond). Cost is $25.

The NWI SBDC also is offering a business plan writing workshop from 9 a.m. to noon beginning October 2 for four consecutive Saturdays at room 293 at the Purdue University Calumet Academic Learning Center (9900 Connecticut Drive, Merrillville). Cost is $125.

Registration and payment are required in advance for both workshops. Contact the NWI SBDC at 219.644.3513 or visit nwisbdc.org for more information.


Recruit, hire, train then ‘re-recruit’

If there is one thing the current business environment has taught us it is that jobs are no longer secure. This move away from the concept of “lifetime employment” is often spoken of as hard on employees. The lack of security is difficult and often traumatic. But maybe there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

This more fluid business structure is also difficult for the employer. Employees are more willing or eager to move to a new, better position. This causes disruption in workflow and adds expense for hiring and training tasks as new hires are rarely productive until they learn their position. Is there a silver lining here also?

Linda Heasley, President and CEO of woman’s fashion apparel retailer, The Limited, was quoted as saying, “I believe that my associates can work anywhere then want and my job is to re-recruit them every day and give them a reason to choose to work for us and for me as opposed to anybody else.” Wow!
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Fed looks for ways to aid small business lending

Business owner James Fouts, of Whiting, asks questions to a panel of speakers regarding the current lending situation during a small business lending forum at Calumet College of St. Joseph in October. (Photograph by The Times.)

Business owner James Fouts, of Whiting, asks questions to a panel of speakers regarding the current lending situation during a small business lending forum at Calumet College of St. Joseph in October. (Photograph by The Times.)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped up pressure on Monday to get banks to boost lending to the nation’s small businesses, a critical element to spurring the economic recovery and reducing unemployment.

Bernanke and other regulators have urged banks since February to increase their lending to smaller companies. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have complained that small businesses that want to take out loans are having trouble getting them. Banks have countered by saying demand is weak.

Bernanke’s latest comments come as legislative efforts to jump-start small business lending have languished and the recovery has been losing momentum. He made them at a Fed conference exploring ways to help boost lending to small companies.
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Few requirements needed to open fireworks stores

Pedestrians cross Main Street in Crown Point on Friday. Fiesta Mexico, a restaurant on the Crown Point square, was damaged by fire a few months ago and has reopened as a fireworks shop. Once a retailer has a state permit, there's a little a municipality can do to control where a fireworks store can locate. (Photograph by The Times.)

Pedestrians cross Main Street in Crown Point on Friday. Fiesta Mexico, a restaurant on the Crown Point square, was damaged by fire a few months ago and has reopened as a fireworks shop. Once a retailer has a state permit, there's a little a municipality can do to control where a fireworks store can locate. (Photograph by The Times.)

It isn’t tough to find a fireworks store in Northwest Indiana.

Opening one may not be too difficult either. And that’s sparking concern in one Northwest Indiana town.

Greg Kaplan, owner of eight Krazy Kaplans fireworks outlets in Hammond, Dyer, Merrillville, LaPorte and Whiting, said there aren’t many requirements that must be met to sell fireworks in Indiana. He said a potential business must obtain a retail license from the state and a certificate of compliance from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security before a fireworks store can open.
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