Small Business

Bruce R. Frank & Associates LLC: Business, basketball give adviser a leg up International perspective useful for Indianapolis consulting firmRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Della Pacheco
At 6 feet 8 inches, consultant Bruce R. Frank is an imposing figure. But it's the 30 years of business experience the former professional basketball player has accumulated that he says helps him tower over his competition. Frank, 51, is the founder of Bruce R. Frank & Associates, an Indianapolis-based consulting group that helps life-sciences companies develop business strategies. So far, he has found most of his clients outside Indianapolis: Frank spent seven months on the road last year. The...
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Born again: Old churches gain new life as commercial spaceRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Tammy Lieber
God may be eternal, but His houses aren't. Congregations expand, move or fade away. When they leave a house of worship behind, sometimes they find a different congregation to take over the brick-andmortar expression of their faith. Sometimes they don't. In the latter case, finding a new life for churches and temples-often solidly built and packed with unique architectural details-can be something like working a miracle. But a handful of developers have managed to give new life to old churches,...
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Biz groups join forces: Agencies hope to reach more minority-, women-owned firmsRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Tracy Donhardt
Two organizations that aim to increase business opportunities for minorities and women have formed a united front, hoping to foster even greater diversity among companies. Indiana Business Diversity Council and the National Association of Women Business Owners'local chapter aren't only sharing knowledge and resources-they'll also share space when NAWBO moves in with IBDC later this fall. NAWBO hopes the partnership will enhance its networking capabilities. It also will give the all-volunteer organization it first-ever place to call home. For its...
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Are you prepared for DISASTER?: Despite warnings, many businesses fail to plan for the worstRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Scott Olson
Are you prepared for Despite warnings, many businesses fail to plan for the worst Frank Hancock didn't have a disasterrecovery plan when a tornado tore past his east-side printing company two years ago, causing $5 million in damage. Severe wind gusts from the Sept. 20, 2003, storm shredded Sport Graphics Inc.'s 5-month-old warehouse and manufacturing facility and tore 13 1,800-pound air-conditioning units from the roof, dumping them on the parking lot below. One was never recovered. Amid the mayhem that...
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Basic utility vehicle rolling ahead-slowly: Assembly would happen in developing nationsRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A not-for-profit group developing vehicles for use in the Third World plans to open a "micro-factory" next month near 65th Street and Binford Boulevard. But the Institute for Affordable Transportation site won't mass-produce its diminutive vehicles, powered by lawn tractor engines. Rather, the donated space will become a lab for working out methods to help those in developing countries assemble the so-called "basic utility vehicles." The facility "is to basically prepare the way for this technology transfer package so it...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Efficient, tasteful design can help maximize productivityRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Sandi Kramer
Productivity. Comfort. Longevity. While the old saying about location applies to most commercial real estate decisions, the issues of promoting productivity, providing a comfortable working environment and choosing materials that last become preeminent after the lease is signed. current space-is not something you do everyday. If you're part of a mid-sized or small business, then it's highly likely that you're juggling real estate decisions at the same time you're trying to advance your business. As a result of this pressure,...
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Staffing agency seeks bankruptcy protection: Morley Group begins reorganizing $5.3 million debtRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Scott Olson
The 13-year-old staffing agency already owes the bank $1.94 million-a $1.17 million loan used to construct its headquarters and about $768,000 for operating expenses. President Michael Morley blamed poor economic conditions for the filing. He said the company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy quickly. "Our business is just now starting to come back and increase," he said. "We're going to be able to straighten this out. We're not taking this lightly." Other debts listed in the bankruptcy filing include a...
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Indiana Avenue looks for more than history: Cultural district faces redevelopment challengesRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Tammy Lieber
Broad Ripple has clubs and shops. Massachusetts Avenue has galleries and theaters. Indiana Avenue has history. But history alone doesn't necessarily draw visitors and their dollars, something the organizers of the Indiana Avenue Cultural District know well. With the third annual Indiana Avenue Renaissance Festival, scheduled Sept. 9-11 at the Madame Walker Theatre Center, the cultural district hopes to capitalize on that history. Although the jazz and blues festival lasts only a weekend, it's a step toward creating a neighborhood...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: The world might be flat, but construction costs aren'tRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Don Altemeyer
For the most part, construction has been a local story, a story about local workers building buildings in our community. But the story isn't so local anymore. Global economic forces have begun to intersect with local issues at the construction site. The result: a significant and ongoing increase in construction costs across central Indiana and the rest of the United States-an increase that shows no signs of slowing. Through the first quarter of 2004, construction costs increased at a calm...
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Trio use experience to start consultancy: State-government veterans met while at FSSARestricted Content

August 29, 2005
Scott Olson
Three veterans of state government have pooled their years of management experience to launch the women-owned business consultancy Engaging Solutions LLC. Led by Venita Moore and Debra Simmons Wilson, the company set up shop in the Indiana Black Expo building on North Meridian Street this spring to provide fiscal management, strategic planning, outreach, training and economic development services. They and part-time principal Tammy Butler Robinson say the firm's focus on serving government agencies, not-forprofits and faith-based organizations fits their backgrounds....
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Deal giving edge to unions muddies midfield contracts: Non-union contractors question whether bidding on project is worth the troubleRestricted Content

August 15, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A construction agreement that requires union wages, work rules-and union workers-at the midfield terminal project has big and small businesses alike concerned they'll be shut out of all but the tiniest contracts on the $300 million building. Unless Janet South's painting firm Deco Group agrees to accept those terms, she'd only qualify for projects of $75,000 or less-the threshold at which the agreement kicks in. That limitation, contained in the project labor agreement attached to the midfield terminal, contrasts with...
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Special Report: Buying blind: Lack of oversight leaves state in dark on real estate deals The state of Indiana knows how much it's spending to lease property statewide -nearly $40 million a year. But it doesn't know if that's too much.Restricted Content

August 15, 2005
Tammy Lieber
The state of Indiana knows how much it's spending to lease property statewide -nearly $40 million a year. But it doesn't know if that's too much. State contracts for third-party real estate services give government officials few safeguards to ensure they're paying a fair price for office, laboratory and storage space outside of state-owned buildings, those in the industry say. And state administrators have no control over seven-figure commissions paid to two Indianapolis real estate brokers in the past decade,...
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Pottery by You: Firing up the entrepreneurial spirit Pottery shop owner puts love for art to workRestricted Content

August 8, 2005
Susan Raccoli
Pottery shop owner puts love for art to work "Don't sell this place without telling me first," Katie Laux implored Pottery by You founder Liz Welter as they wielded brushes together late one night last fall. As they discussed the fun of owning a small business, Laux shared her enthusiasm for the paint-your-own pottery shop where she'd worked off and on since 2002. She loved the friendly atmosphere and the pleasant surprise when customers discovered their own creativity, and she...
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How well does your firm communicate with clients? MARKETING Kay Millar: Businesses that serve customers effectively offer a welcome reminder of how things ought to be handledRestricted Content

July 25, 2005
How well does your firm communicate with clients? MARKETING Kay Millar Businesses that serve customers effectively offer a welcome reminder of how things ought to be handled Having spent four months with my husband preparing one house to sell and another to move into, I'm sharing our observations on the behaviors of small businesses - using as examples our contractor, carpenter, electrician, painter, roofer and mason. Hopefully, this will help managers of other businesses review their own practices. Communication with...
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Researchers seek fuel-cell answers: Universities, companies see long-term potential in alternative power deviceRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Scott Olson
The figure-eight slot-car track in the basement laboratory at IUPUI looks out of place amid the expensive computer equipment surrounding it. But when research assistant Alan Benedict fumbles with a few wires and the cars come to life, it becomes clear the racetrack is more than just a toy. The miniature cars operate on fuel cells and are part of Purdue University's exploration into the alternative power source. Scientists across the country are studying the clean power alternative, stoked by...
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CIWBC director has worked in both the corporate and small-business worlds:Restricted Content

July 11, 2005
-Kathy Maeglin
If Sharon O'Donoghue isn't the most ideal person to run the Central Indiana Women's Business Center, she has to at least be in the top five. O'Donoghue's varied background, which includes working for a Fortune 500 company, as well as running a small business, is one of her primary assets. But her passion for helping women business owners identify and reach their goals is almost palpable when she talks-enthusiastically and endlessly-about what she's doing as director of the CIWBC. "I...
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Educating entrepreneurs: Women's Business Center offers basics as well as individual counseling servicesRestricted Content

July 11, 2005
Kathy Maeglin
Joann Robinson was unhappy working in corporate America, so she started her own business, Balloons by Design, which delivers balloon bouquets and does on-site balloon decorations. The Indianapolis woman had been in business for about a year when she sought assistance in January from the new Central Indiana Women's Business Center. Since then, with CIWBC help, Robinson has gone from having about 15 customers to about 50. Robinson is one of many women who have benefited from the services offered...
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Growth in big supply at 3-year-old Milor: Entrepreneur taps experience to land big clientsRestricted Content

July 4, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
Michelle Taylor's first customer was a north-side hotel that ordered 3,000 janitorial gloves a month. She got up at 3 a.m., processed the order out of her garage, and delivered the gloves in her car. Less than three years later, Indianapolisbased Milor Supply Inc. delivers 36,000 gloves a month, plus janitorial equipment and supplies and safety equipment, to universities, city and state governments, hospitals and a host of other industries across the country. The 35-year-old black female entrepreneur has moved...
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Director leaves small-biz agency: Disagreement over host sponsor helped sway decisionRestricted Content

June 27, 2005
Scott Olson
The head of the Central Indiana Small Business Development Center resigned this month following a rift over who might host the agency. Mary Jane Gonzalez, who came on board as executive director of the Central Indiana SBDC in July 2003, left to become director of business development at Mezzetta Construction Inc. Gonzalez's departure leaves the Central Indiana SBDC, where budding entrepreneurs can seek advice without paying high consulting fees, without a leader for the third time in roughly three years....
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Taking the pulse of life sciences: Experts weigh in on whether Indiana is keeping up in the economic development raceRestricted Content

June 27, 2005
IBJ: Is Indiana gaining ground against other states in the race to grow as a life sciences hub? What are some specific benchmarks that underscore your opinion? JOHNSON: Indiana is gaining ground, but Indiana already starts on really very substantial ground. There are a lot of outside validations of that and I think it's important for this audience to hear a couple of them because there is nothing like having people on the outside pay attention to what we're doing...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Until Indiana diversifies, economy will struggleRestricted Content

June 20, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Sure, General Motors Corp. is in trouble, and quite a few Indiana communities are directly in harm's way. The headlines say it all. Plant closings-above and beyond those already planned-are on the way. GM bonds are rated as junk. Its market share is at an historic low. And it's discounting just about everything on the lot. For a company that has been the No. 1 automaker in the world for four generations, its recent stumbles have to be humbling. Pressed...
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Jester Promotions LLC: Keeping promotions on the cutting edge Advertising specialty firm also always on the lookout for inexpensive merchandiseRestricted Content

June 20, 2005
Jo Ellen
Advertising specialty firm also always on the lookout for inexpensive merchandise Back in days of old, jesters were the eyes and ears of the power brokers. "They knew everything the king knew," said Rick Atkins, co-founder of Jester Promotions LLC, a specialty advertising company. That's the know-how Atkins said he brings to the table: up-to-the-minute knowledge about the latest trends in promotional activities and where his clients can get the best price for their items. He toyed with naming the...
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Long commute for former Lt. Gov.: Kathy Davis to lead South Bend tech firmRestricted Content

June 6, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Her days as lieutenant governor are finished, but it didn't take Kathy Davis long to find a new management role. She's accepted a job leading South Bend-based telecommunications connectivity provider Global Access Point. "After we lost [the election] and I knew I'd be looking for a job, I thought it would be ideal if I could find some entrepreneur who was very technical and needed some help on the management side," Davis said. "Then I was fortunate that opportunity came...
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HSAs picking up steam: Enrollment tops 1 million; biz tax breaks proposedRestricted Content

May 30, 2005
Scott Olson
Earlier this year, employees of Indianapolis-based N.K. Hurst Co. became part of the growing fraternity of workers in the United States who are eligible for health savings accounts as part of their benefits package. As of March, the membership in HSAs numbered more than 1 million people, twice as many as the estimated 438,000 in September, according to a study by America's Health Insurance Plans. The Washington, D.C.-based trade association for insurers said enrollment numbers are growing because more companies...
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Busy session for insurance forces: Compact passage highlights plethora of industry-related legislation considered by the General AssemblyRestricted Content

May 30, 2005
Tom Murphy
State lawmakers also killed a bill that offers "mandate lite" health coverage and kept the topic of vicious dogs at bay during the 2005 legislative session. Insurance lobbyists and regulators say they just wrapped up one of the busiest sessions in recent memory. Topics ran a wide gamut and crowded committee calendars. Last year, five industry-supported bills made it through the General Assembly, according to Dan Tollefson, corporate counsel for the state Department of Insurance. This year, 15 did, and...
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