Category: Entrepreneurs

An image of the store Coffee Rescue.

A local entrepreneur thought she couldn’t go on after a decade of building a business and mounting frustration. Then came her fans and patrons to the rescue.

A neon sign in a window that reads "Ed's Shoe Repair"

A third-generation Kalamazoo cobbler is shutting down his shop with no one left to take it over when he retires this summer. It’s a trend in a craft that has devastated local customers and, nationally, underscores an embrace of waste.

Demargeo White and Sydeny Davis hold an oversized $5,000 check.

The entrepreneur support network returns with the first of its new monthly pitch competitions and a series of programs to invigorate local business growth.

Loot Energy founder Jon Elms laughs while holding a can of Loot Energy while sitting on couch with an unnamed woman.

Playing video games was supposed to pass time until the pandemic ended and gyms opened back up. Then Jon Elms, a fitness coach, created an energy drink company for gym rats and gamers alike that is expanding beyond Kalamazoo after some help from another local business owner.

It takes a will, skill, and family for two women running a cafe in the middle of rural Scotts. Yet the community is grateful they’ve taken it on, from the retired couple who offered them the chance, to their meat suppliers who are also regular diners.

the front entrance of the Round About Caffe.

After serving her family and friends for years as a homemaker, Swapna Gorthi takes a chance on her own coffee-making and culinary skills, opening a shop with a unique menu. Coincidentally, it hasn’t been a direct path to establishing the Round About Caffe.

Sherri Brantley stands on the porch of her former restaurant/home in Kalamazoo's Vine Neighborhood

An unconventional chef and restaurateur had a dream of serving meals and her community. When the banks and management company sitting on a vacant property refused to respond to her attempts to buy or lease, she set up shop anyway.

Churu Yun speaks into a microphone to a group of people sitting in chairs

An education-to-employment infrastructure has brought businesses, kept workers, and made Kalamazoo a national hub for industrial design and related jobs.

Store employee and game master Asha Fernanders explains a game to patron Josh Cribbs.

Open for less than a year, the Voss Media Board Game Cafe in Galesburg is close to turning all the fun into a profitable business.

a group of mostly Black men sit at a conference table with laptops

A Kalamazoo city program is using business skills and licensing exam training to address the dearth of building contractors and upend a racial disparity in the trade.