Small Business Profiles
Karin McKie’s extensive resume reads writer, actor, publicist, educator and arts administrator—a true renaissance woman. But one of her proudest titles is small business owner. Karin’s business, Tree Falls Productions, based in Chicago, has been open since the early 1990s and provides a variety of services related to Karin’s creative expertise, primarily for non-profit art organizations and theatres.
Fifteen years ago, Andrea Deutsch decided to leave her position at a Philadelphia law practice to pursue her dreams of become a small business owner. She opened up a shop in the small town of Narberth, PA called Spot’s—The Place for Paws, where she sells healthy food, treats, toys, and accessories for dogs and cats. Despite starting a new life, this former attorney could not completely sever her ties from the Philadelphia Bar Association. That’s because before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they provided her only health insurance option because of her Type 1 diabetes.
Keith Crawford knows the construction business inside and out. He began his career as a construction contractor, but stood apart for his business capabilities. He was often asked by competitors to close shop and work for them. After spending years as an admired authority on construction, Crawford finally launched his own consulting firm.
During National Small Business Week, Small Business Majority is recognizing small business owners who strive to give back to their communities. Bryce Smith, owner of the Adel Family Fun Center in Adel, Iowa, is certainly one of them.
Fresh Kutz opened its doors in North Hollywood in 2008 with the goal of offering all customers premium services by top-level barbers in a modern barbershop. Since its inception, owner Brian Portillo knew he would face several challenges as the community has a crime rate above the national average. Not only did he want to open his business in the community in which he grew up, but he wanted to create positive social impact while running his business.
Steve Katsaros has always been an innovator. He began inventing products for the ski industry in his late teens, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Purdue University so he could follow his dream of creating new technologies to improve the world. In the early 2000s, Katsaros came up with his first big invention: the RevoPower, an efficient motorized wheel designed to travel up to 20 miles per hour at over 100 miles per gallon.
For many small businesses, addressing HR, legal and compliance needs can be a challenge. Many lack the resources to hire a full-time HR professional who can draft employee policies and handbooks, design HR strategies that help move the company forward or secure legal services for HR-related necessities – like employment contracts or separation agreements.
While working towards an engineering degree in college, Matthew Hollis quickly realized his real interest wasn’t in memorizing equations or the laws of thermodynamics, but rather in entrepreneurship and how to turn problem solving into a business. He connected with Alan Dillman, who ran a business incubator on Hollis’ college campus. The two quickly realized there was room for innovation and sustainability in the waste collection business, which inspired them to launch Elytus, a waste management company based in Columbus, Ohio.
For Adam Rochon, supplying benefits and insurance is a family business. Rochon followed his mother, Belinda Roberts, into the insurance and benefits industry and today they have a collective 28 years of insurance experience. After the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, businesses began to require a more in-depth broker relationship and a knowledgeable source of information for coverage.
Missy Williams spent the first 20 years of her career in the mental health field as a direct care provider, program manager, counselor and executive manager. As a mental health provider, she learned how stressful it could be to take care of patients and run a successful business – and she wanted to share her experiences with others in her field to help them tackle these problems. A few years after obtaining her M.A.