Articles

PROFILE: Silverback Consulting Group: Consultant helps clients navigate tech jungle Silverback looks to diversify health care, bank business

Silverback Consulting Group Consultant helps clients navigate tech jungle Silverback looks to diversify health care, bank business In the jungle that is today’s business world, businesses can’t survive without information systems. And if they need help finding their way through all the technological underbrush, a local consulting firm wants to be the 500-pound gorilla that clears a path for them. Silverback Consulting Group was founded in 1997 to help businesses upgrade their internal computer and phone systems. Its consultants plan…

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Swancy’s Auto Laundry: Car wash does work the hard way Don’t look for automation at 88-year-old Swancy’s

“It’s sort of the last of the old-time car washes,” said longtime customer Turner Woodard, an Indianapolis businessman and antique car collector. “You can just sit there, read the paper and watch your car get washed … and dried by hand.” No question, Swancy’s is one-of-a-kind. It has been operating at 934 N. Senate Ave. since 1942. For 23 years before that, it was located on a long-vanished alley nearby. It has been owned by the same family for 88…

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PROFILE: Electro-Spec: Aerospace niche helped business’ revenue skyrocket Decades later, Franklin electroplating firm working to diversify its customer base

Electro-Spec Aerospace niche helped business’ revenue skyrocket Decades later, Franklin electroplating firm working to diversify its customer base It all started with spoons. These days, Franklin-based Electro-Spec is a $5 million a year electroplating company that produces components for the automotive, telecommunications and medicaldevice industries. That’s quite a change from its origins in 1959, when the company focused on spiffing up antique silverware. “It did silver and gold plating of family heirlooms,” said President Jeff Smith, who bought the company…

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Displaced older workers abandon hopes of landing similar work

A growing percentage of men and women nationwide are reaching a career crossroads at a time when most would hope to have it
made. Almost a quarter of the 3.8 million Americans displaced from their jobs from 2003-2005 were 55 or older, according to
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 21 percent in the prior three years.

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Methodist, Decatur hospitals team up at Honda site: Providers supplying on-site, off-site health care to construction workers on $500 million auto plant project

A major construction project is like a football game-no matter how careful everyone is, sooner or later someone is going to get hurt, at least a little. Indianapolis-based Methodist Occupational Health Centers Inc., which is part of Clarian Health Partners, is partnering with Decatur County Memorial Hospital to provide an answer to this problem at the Honda automobile plant construction site in Greensburg. The two institutions are providing on-site medical services and offsite treatment facilities for workers at the $550…

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Home Helpers: Aging population fuels home care business Service offers household help for elderly, infirm

Service offers household help for elderly, infirm Julie Sullivan’s “a-ha” moment came when she was trying to coordinate home care for her elderly grandfather in Huntington while she was in Indianapolis. Even though, as a supervisor at Visteon, she had significant control over her schedule, Sullivan said she couldn’t visit as often as she needed. “I thought, ‘My word, what does the rest of the world do?'” she said. So Sullivan set out to help, starting a local franchise of…

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LGC Associates: Temps become permanent solution Local firm finds its niche in hospitality, looks to grow

Temporary staffing agencies used to be like big-box discount stores: Customers could find anything and everything under one roof. As temp workers have become an increasingly important part of corporate business models, however, a more boutique approach is taking hold. Take Carmel-based LGC Associates, which specializes in providing temporary staffing for the food service and hospitality industries-and has started providing workers to fill the accounting, financial and administrative needs of its clients. LGC was launched in May 2003 by Carmel…

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PROFILE: Roby’s Plumbing and Heating Co. Inc.: Plumber survived by staying flexible Firm entered new market, shifted business priorities

Roby’s Plumbing and Heating Co. Inc. Plumber survived by staying flexible Firm entered new market, shifted business priorities Those “big box” home-supply stores make the world a scary place for independent companies such as Roby’s Plumbing and Heating Co. Inc. No way can businesses like Roby compete with the big boxes’ prices on pipes and other plumbing materials, owner Brad Roby said, but they can offer something the others don’t-service. “Home centers provide cheap products but poor service,” Roby said….

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Suburban Steel of Indiana: Building a business

Agrowing demand for new homes with basements featuring wide-open recreational spaces has created niche businesses even beyond home-theater specialists-like Suburban Steel of Indiana. Suburban Steel customizes structural steel for building projects, mostly residential, at its 20,000-square-foot workshop on Indianapolis’ far-southwest side. In a way, it might be considered the metalworking equivalent of a fast-food joint, where customers always “have it their way.” “A builder can call at 1 p.m. and we’ll have it for him the next day,” said Mark…

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Williams Creek Consulting Inc.: Consultants engineer ‘green’ solutions After years of taking any work it could find, company specializes in stormwater issues

In development circles, the color green is often associated with money. But it has a different connotation for Indianapolis-based Williams Creek Consulting-an environmental one. Launched in 2002, the firm aims to help developers minimize disruptions to the natural features of a construction site, co-founder Neil Myers said. It specializes in strategies to manage stormwater runoff. “We improve a project by integrating the building into the natural environment,” Myers said. That means doing more than digging a series of retention ponds…

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My Favorite Cigar Bar: Bar offers stogies with its scotch Liquor license helped cigar store attract customers who may linger

“Cheers” in Brownsburg? Regulars at My Favorite Cigar Bar say it’s just like that fictional Boston watering hole “where everybody knows your name”-or like it would have been if Cheers had sold cigars as well as drinks. Hendricks County’s version of the popular pub occupies an old-fashioned brick storefront at 36 E. Main St. The brainchild of Brownsburg couple Bruce and Lisa Freestone, it is-as the name suggests-both a bar and cigar shop. “We’re the only such cigar store in…

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Financial Strategies Mortgage Inc.: Training firm meeting national demand More states require continuing education for mortgage lenders

Launched in 1998 by consultant Aaron Wilson, the training firm is cashing in on the national demand for continuing education programs. Revenue topped $5 million last year, a significant jump from the $200,000 the company collected the first year it offered classes. Financial Strategies found its focus in 2000, when the state began requiring loan officers in Indiana to take continuing education classes-even though there weren’t any classes here for them to take. Wilson jumped on the opportunity. “In one…

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Single women opt for owning homes: Marriage and home ownership aren’t always synonymous

Apparently, Dorothy’s still right. There is no place like home, particularly if you are a single woman with good credit. Single women now are significant players in the real estate market. In fact, one out of every five homebuyers nationwide in 2004 was a single woman-and locally the percentage is even higher. According to a 2004 study by the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors, almost 25 percent of homebuyers in the area were single women. The national figure, compiled by…

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Duke’s Earth Services Inc.: Environmental services firm cleaning up on spills Haz-mat niche paying off; business expected to double

When a truck carrying a load of frozen chicken crashed on Interstate 74 near Batesville last month-mixing the meat with less-than-appetizing ingredients like diesel fuel and coolant-Duke’s Earth Services was high on the invite list for the impromptu barbecue. The Mooresville-based environmental services company specializes in such unpleasant jobs: cleaning hazardous materials spills, removing underground storage tanks, and checking construction sites for contaminated soil. And business is good. Duke’s posted revenue of $3.5 million in 2005, and leaders expect to…

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Brand Appliance Servicecenter Inc.: Repair business may not be fixable Despite decades of tinkering, shop owner suspects his time is running out

Despite decades of tinkering, shop owner suspects his time is running out Don Daniels knows his days are numbered, even if he isn’t calling it quits yet. That’s a tough spot to be in when you’re used to fixing things. His Brand Appliance Servicecenter has been fixing stuff, in one form or another, since 1963. For decades, he’s tinkered with everything from electric shavers to microwave ovens. But as gadgets have evolved, Daniels has discovered one thing he just can’t…

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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 game

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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Givers should be smart as well as generous, experts say: Do your homework before donating to any cause

Charitable giving often is a spur-of-themoment thing, particularly if it’s a response to a disaster. Still, charitable groups, relief agencies and financial advisers say a little thought before making a donation is a good idea. Giant disasters such as Hurricane Katrina jolt many people into trying to help, often with no particular idea beyond simply doing something. However, some types of help are more helpful than others. Properly following the rules of charitable giving can provide a tax benefit. It…

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City planners seek ways to replace PRI convention: Annual event was big money maker each December

Indianapolis hospitality leaders have launched a campaign to make up for the loss of a huge racing industry convention that is taking a hiatus from the city for the next half-decade. The Performance Racing Industry, or PRI, trade show has been a major event for the Indianapolis’ convention business for seven years, annually bringing up to 40,000 visitors to the city who spend more than $26.7 million. This event was especially valued because it typically took place in early December,…

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Planner sinks his teeth into dentists’ finances: Four Quadrant builds business around one industry

Dentists know a lot about operating a dental drill, but sometimes not so much about operating a business. That’s where Four Quadrant Wealth Advisors likes to comes in. Indianapolis-based Four Quadrant provides its dental clients with financial advice on everything from running the money side of their practices to building their retirement funds. As one of a fairly small number of financial advice firms that focus on a single type of client, Four Quadrants limits its clients to dentists or…

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Universities reach out to improve diversity: Purdue, IU use local offices to lure minority suppliers

Purdue University’s most recent step includes opening an office in Indianapolis that will serve as a contact point for minority-owned companies that are interested in doing business with the school. Purdue also is becoming one of the major sponsors of the annual Indiana Black Expo. These two projects are being headed by Jesse Moore, who became Purdue’s manager for supplier diversity development in February. Moore previously led the Indianapolis Black Chamber of Commerce for nine years. Officials say it’s important…

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