Plenty of Help for Small Business
Times can be tough these days for more than a few small businesses as they fight a pandemic, a worker shortage, the big boxers, and now, locally, road construction. Strap that on.
From general appearances, it’s hard to tell who’s weathering the storm relatively comfortably and who’s ready to go every man for himself.
A long-time business, like Sayklly’s, suddenly closes up shop… for any number of reasons, and it makes one wonder, who’s next?
And as hard as it is to keep an established business profitable, who in their right mind would try to start a new business under these conditions?
Fortunately, for small businesses in Marquette County that need a shot in the arm (sorry) or for entrepreneurs looking to start a business, there is help available, from a variety of sources.
One enterprise you may not be all that familiar with is Accelerate UP. With a board of qualified and experienced business professionals serving as business coaches, Accelerate UP has quietly been providing startup guidance and sustainability support since 2013.
Accelerate UP Facilitator Alex Kofsky thinks the team they’ve assembled is ideal for their mission.
“Many of the individuals involved with Accelerate UP are business owners themselves and have had the same struggles as our clients. They’re in a position now to mentor entrepreneurs, provide encouragement, and give back.”
Kofsky credits Eagle Mine for the creation of Accelerate UP. “Eagle Mine’s support honors their commitment to the community to alleviate the “bust” cycle from mining by helping to create a sustainable, diversified local economy.”
There’s nothing wrong with giving credit where credit is due. So we’ll give Accelerate UP credit too. Due to the confidential nature of what they do, they fly a little under the radar. But they fly nonetheless.
If you’re struggling, don’t underestimate the value of what Accelerate UP has to offer. Someone looking at your business from afar will see things you don’t. And often times the ideas that come out of these interactions are things that will cost very little, if anything at all.
Their services are free, but they’re also in high demand. Go to accelerateup.com for details and contact info.
Another non-profit offering business assistance is the newly formed Food Start UP.
According to board president Teresa Mauldin, Food Start UP’s primary mission is to foster food entrepreneurship, with a focus on food processing, which is generally defined as packaged goods to retail or food ingredients to manufacturing.
“This will be done through a food business incubator and food production space that will provide the expertise, tools and resources necessary to starting-up and scaling-up a successful food business.”
An impressive board boasting varied skills and experience should help Food Start UP gain early credibility in the marketplace.
“We’re a new and growing organization.” Mauldin says.
With the expansion of local farms and the push to use more local product, Food Start UP sounds like a valuable tool for anyone thinking they’ve got something to sell. That spaghetti sauce your family raves about? Bottle it, and put some money where their mouth is. Or something like that.
The people behind this believe it’s an emerging market, one where a lot of entrepreneurs and folks working from home are making their bread. (Sorry again.) You can find Food Start UP on Facebook.
Loose knit but not to be overlooked is the Marquette Area Local Business Owners group. Topics shared on this Facebook page range from pest control to mask policies to summer hours and a lot of things you won’t find in the manual.
Sometimes peer advice can be the best advice. Been there, done that. And again, it’s free.
In other Words…
O’Reilly Auto Parts is now open in Harvey. Do we need another auto parts store? Whether we do or not… more power to the people investing in Marquette County.
Besides, while Marquette Township gets most of the buzz, it’s nice to see new business in Chocolay Township too.
Which brings us to the Dry Dock, tonight featuring a couple of the Ogea boys, Pierre and son Luke, along with buddy Warren Hantz. Son Ian Ogea will be playing at the same time with Danny Collins at the Venice in Ishpeming.
If you’re looking for an example of a talented musical family, the Ogea clan is it.
You probably saw the news that the Marquette Food Co-op has acquired the recently closed Marquette Baking Company. According to Co-op manager Matt Gougeon, the acquisition makes sense on a number of levels. Not the least of which is the fact that MBC’s products are some of the co-op shoppers’ favorites. “They were our single biggest local vendor, so it’ll be nice to have those products back on our shelves.”
The timeline for reopening the Baraga Street location depends largely on how fast they can train staff and get through the maze of state regulations. Gougeon hopes they’ll be ready sometime soon to take advantage of summer traffic. And it’ll still be the Marquette Baking Company. Same name… same game. Just new ownership.
Work is going on now at the old Border Grill location on the corner of N. Third and Prospect in preparation for the return of Jimmy John’s to Third Street. We were told some time ago to expect this but confirmation of details has been hard to come by. Regardless, it looks like this is definitely happening. It’ll be nice to see that building occupied again.
The Fourth of July fireworks and festival are set in Marquette, but what about the parade? It looks like it’s a no-go for this year. The Marquette Noon Kiwanis has run the parade for quite a few years, so it’s possible they’re ready to hand it off to a worthy successor. Pandemic uncertainties and cancellations have provided the impetus for a lot of changes. Wanna run a parade?
Next Friday, June 4th, is the third edition of the Marquette County Community Resource Fair.
Like last year, this year’s event is “Express Style.” That means drive-thru only, which makes it pretty easy to navigate without missing anything.
Though it’s probably what it has to be, the title of the event doesn’t do it justice. There’s a carload of info and other goodies available to attendees, including a lot of stuff you might not even know you need.
Is your event returning to the calendar or are you starting something new? Let us know and we can share it on Word on the Street.