Small Business Profiles
Tracy duCharme does not fit the traditional profile an entrepreneur. Tracy’s background is in the arts, and her experience with illustration and graphic design inspired her to open a branch of Color Me Mine, the world's leading paint-it-yourself ceramics franchise studio chain, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
After finding little success with traditional medical treatments for her struggle with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the colon, Michelle Retik of Short Hills, New Jersey, discovered that adjusting her nutrition was the key to a happier and healthier life. However, Michelle had trouble finding snack foods that accommodated her dietary restrictions. As a professional pastry chef, Michelle took it upon herself to fill this void, and her passion project quickly became a successful business venture.
Alfredo Zendejas co-owns Accesorios Zendejas along with his wife, Leticia Sanchez, in Los Angeles, California. A true mom-and-pop enterprise, Alfredo and Leticia work together to design, create and deliver custom decorative pieces for quinceñeras, baptisms, weddings and other special occasions.
To say that Columbus entrepreneur Victoria Calderon wears many hats is an understatement. In addition to co-owning two successful businesses with her sister, Virginia Nunes Gutierrez, Victoria is a marketing expert, policy advocate and published author with more than 10 years of experience in the media, corporate, non-profit and small business sectors. Victoria is also a first-generation immigrant from Venezuela who is fluent in Spanish, English and Brazilian Portuguese.
As a small business that specializes in healthcare benefits, Benefit Management, Inc. (BMI), a third party insurance payer located in Joplin, Missouri, is quick to recognize the importance of employee wellness. That’s why they were so excited to participate in our Healthy Business, Healthy Community Workplace Wellness Challenge this summer.
Around the country, small business owners are struggling to find qualified employees. In fact, some 40% of American employers cite lack of skills as the No. 1 reason for entry-level job vacancies, especially among young job candidates. Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate in our country remains considerably high after the aftermath of the Great Recession. Though some small businesses may want to help address this problem while identifying potential talent, they often don’t have the resources to sponsor an internship or mentoring program.
Alex Code, founder and co-owner of Line 45, a mapping and software solutions company in Gaylord, Michigan, says that becoming an entrepreneur has been his dream since he was fourteen years old. But when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disorder, as a college student, Alex was sure his dream would never become a reality.
Michelle Mauricci, a true entrepreneur, has owned not one, not two, but three small businesses. Her current business, Think Possible, located in Reno, Nevada, is a personal business-consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs navigate their health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), among other services. Michelle also receives her own coverage through the ACA’s individual marketplace, and credits the healthcare law with allowing her to follow her entrepreneurial dreams.
While Senate Republicans have been working behind closed doors this month on their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the increasing instability of the healthcare marketplace has been making headlines in Ohio.
Shaun Young is the co-founder of Millenefits, a digital staffing agency in Columbus, Ohio. For a monthly fee, small businesses can outsource their online marketing to an expert and in turn, provide healthcare benefits to that self-employed professional. Shaun’s business philosophy has always been that everyone should have access to healthcare, which is very much in line with the goals of the Affordable Care Act, and that’s why he’s concerned about the Senate’s upcoming vote to repeal the law.