Small Business

Development plans percolating in five urban corridors: East 10th Street, Fountain Square lead FOCUS packRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Tammy Lieber
DataSmith Technologies owner James Smith started looking almost two years ago for a building to house his business, his home and possibly a revenue-generating tenant. What he ended up with was a dilapidated former bar on a struggling section of East 10th Street that had become a haven for vagrants. Smith took a chance on the building at 2032 E. 10th St., most recently home to Mustang Sally's tavern, largely because of the involvement of the East 10th Street Civic...
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Firms face choice: Spend or be swallowed: Independent third-party benefits administrators watch consolidation wave sweep through stateRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Tom Murphy
For small companies, "their systems costs are just eating them alive," said Donley, president of Donley & Co. Inc. "If they lose a couple large clients, all of a sudden they go from being in the black to being in the red." Donley and others say the skyrocketing cost of doing business has triggered a wave of consolidation in the Indiana market for benefits administration. Since 2003, larger companies have gobbled or plan to gobble at least seven independently owned...
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Home Room Construction: Remodeler's building plan: Double revenue Company targets homeowners considering do-it-yourself projectsRestricted Content

January 23, 2006
Julie Young
Scott Heinemeyer's business is all about potential. That's why Home Room Construction tackles many kinds of projects-everything from simple handyman services to complex room additions. After all, what's the point in limiting the possibilities? "We are a big company that happens to be small right now," Heinemeyer said of his four-person firm. All told, Home Room finishes anywhere from 200 to 300 projects a year, he said, and revenue is expected to nearly double to $500,000 in 2006. Heinemeyer started...
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Firms face choice: Spend or be swallowed: Independent third-party benefits administrators watch consolidation wave sweep through stateRestricted Content

January 23, 2006
Tom Murphy
For small companies, "their systems costs are just eating them alive," said Donley, president of Donley & Co. Inc. "If they lose a couple large clients, all of a sudden they go from being in the black to being in the red." Donley and others say the skyrocketing cost of doing business has triggered a wave of consolidation in the Indiana market for benefits administration. Since 2003, larger companies have gobbled or plan to gobble at least seven independently owned...
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Bike Line, Broad Ripple firm plan Mass Ave purchases: Two sales would be latest in owner-occupant trendRestricted Content

January 16, 2006
Tammy Lieber
Two buildings on Massachusetts Avenue downtown are slated to change hands in coming weeks as two Broad Ripple businesses stake their claims on the resurging corridor. The first deal scheduled to close is the sale of 409 Massachusetts Ave., owned for the last 15 years by advertising firm Young & Laramore. Elizabeth Dillon, owner of RN Specialties, plans to move her growing 10-year-old company and its 21 employees into the 17,000-square-foot building after minor renovations to the ad agency's former...
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Small biz preparing wish list: Lobbyists hope to repeat past legislative successRestricted Content

December 26, 2005
Matthew Kish
But that doesn't mean the organization and its 16,000 Hoosier members will rest on their laurels for the short legislative session in 2006. The group will bring a full wish list to the Statehouse in January, lobbying against increased property taxes and health insurance mandates. It'll also petition lawmakers to restrict eminent domain seizures. Still, observers don't think the organization will have as much cause for uncorking the bubbly as it did last year. No different than last session, businessfriendly...
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Women inventors pursue their creative dreams: From doggie car seats to valve-less hydraulic systems, these visionaries keep creating practical productsRestricted Content

December 12, 2005
Cynthia A.
Windshield wipers, disposable cell phones, Scotchgardâ„¢, the first automatic dishwasher, disposable diapers, Barbie dolls, nonreflective glass, brassieres, CPR mannequins and "whiteout." These items have one key feature in common-they were all invented by women. Since the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not keep gender statistics, it is impossible to know exactly how many patents women hold. One thing is certain: since 1809 when Mary Dixon Kies became the first woman to receive a patent from the government, many other...
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Health care: big problem for small business: Wyoming lawmaker's proposed legislation could end 10-year Senate impasse on controversial solutionRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Matthew Kish
More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance. And more than half of them are employed or dependent on someone who works for a small business, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. It's a big problem-especially in Indiana. Between 2000 and 2004, 5.6 percent of Hoosier workers lost employer-provided health care, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That's a higher percentage than any state except Wisconsin. Legislation just introduced in Congress by Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi, however, may...
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Fine-tuning a business strategy: Local violinmaker finds success by raising pricesRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Matthew Kish
F ine-tuning a business strategy Local violinmaker finds success by raising prices John Welch made a counterintuitive business decision two years ago. The violin business was in decline. Asian manufacturers were turning out high-quality stringed instruments for a fraction of the price of their American competitors. Welch decided to swim against the current. He raised prices. "We realized the only way to compete with the Chinese was to improve our quality," said Welch, CEO of Indianapolis-based Sofia Violins. "We realized...
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Cable firms call foe a phony: Group touting itself as consumer group funded by biz giantsRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Chris O\'malley
At first glance, Consumers for Cable Choice appears to be one of those grass-roots organizations likely to have a framed picture of Ralph Nader on its wall. You know, the kind of activist group whose religion is social justice, whose bible is Mother Jones, and to whom eternal damnation would be to accept a penny from greedy and manipulative Big Business. Not so with Consumers for Cable Choice. The Indianapolis group that advocates more competition in cable and relaxed regulation...
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Merry Realty Inc.: Big plans for small firm Real estate agency tries to win business by teaching buyers rules of the gameRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Ed Callahan
Real estate agency tries to win business by teaching buyers rules of the game Large agencies may dominate the residential real estate game, but Indianapolis-based Merry Realty is trying to prove a small player still can make a big name for itself. For years, Merry Realty has focused its efforts on properties in Indianapolis, but it is rapidly expanding into a more diverse market, targeting booming areas like Hamilton County while staying loyal to its inner-city roots. Real estate broker...
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Technology proposals get business focus: IEDC requests new 21st Century Fund applicationsRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
It's been 18 months since state government requested new technology proposals from startups or academics. The days of waiting are now finished. "We're in business," said the Indiana Economic Development Corp.'s new director of entrepreneurship, Bruce Kidd. "The open sign is in the window. We want to start accepting applications again." On Nov. 16, the IEDC issued a request for applications to its $75 million 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. Much has changed since March 2004, when the state...
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Startups offered a fast track: Motorsports-themed incubator gets green light in BrownsburgRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Matthew Kish
Hendricks County officials hope a new business incubator there revs the engines of local entrepreneurs. The motorsports-themed facility, to be known as Fast-Start, got the green light after a year-long feasibility study concluded the project was a logical fit for a community that already houses Prudhomme Racing, John Force Racing and Bill Simpson's Impact Racing. "It would help achieve some of our goals in Brownsburg," said Jeanette Baker, town council president and treasurer of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership,...
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Center director ready to score: Ball State's new entrepreneurship chief has big plans for top-rated programRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Scott Olson
The 6-foot-6-inch Cox visited the Indiana University campus on Dec. 24, 1974, as a member of the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball team. The starting center scored 15 points and pulled down five rebounds in a 97-60 loss to the thenmighty Hoosiers. His team took solace in a free meal from a local fast-food joint that gave each ticketholder a burger, fries and shake every time IU won by 30 points or more. After scavenging the stands for discarded stubs, the 'Huskers...
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Kipps Brothers still evolving after 125 years

October 24, 2005
Candace Beaty
Walk through the Kipp Brothers showroom and you’ll find the makings of one heck of a birthday celebration: gag gifts galore, endless sugary treats and headgear that puts the traditional party hat to shame.
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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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