#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Baby Express
November's ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Baby Express
This month WWBIC surprised Nicole Urquhart, owner of Baby Express in Racine, WI. Nicole developed Baby Express to help reduce Racine’s infant mortality rate, which had skyrockected to 4th in the nation. Baby Express provides reliable, on-demand transportation for women covered by Medicaid that need prenatal care and wellness check-ups. Nicole credits WWBIC’s Small Biz class with helping her launch the business with a solid business plan. In addition to her own full-time job as owner, she has two employees. “I was skeptical about the class,” she said. “I thought I knew how to write a business plan because I had written grants and had purchased business plan software. I found out I had more to learn.”
In 2017, Nicole launched the Baby Express Wellness Center in Racine and has expanded to a larger fleet of vehicles including a new bus for transport.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Memories Tour & Travel
October's ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Memories Tour & Travel
This month WWBIC surprised Lori Velte, owner of Memories Tour & Travel in Platteville, WI. Growing up, Lori fell in love with travel. With dreams of becoming ‘Cruise Director, Julie’ from the infamous sitcom, ‘The Loveboat,’ travel was never far from her mind. Lori would grow up to develop a 20 year career traveling the globe while working in the travel and tourism industry. In the summer of 2015, Lori was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to purchase the travel agency she worked for and become her own boss! After struggling to find financing for the purchase, Lori discovered WWBIC.
WWBIC assisted Lori with a small business loan. Today Lori continues to receive mentoring from her own 'Cruise Director' - Julie Emslie, a WWBIC Small Business Consultant in southwest Wisconsin!
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Savanna Beauty Supply
September's ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Savanna Beauty Supply
This month WWBIC surprised Stephanie & Beran Sarr, owners of Savanna Beauty in Madison. Stephanie and Beran always knew they wanted to have a business of their own - even before they were married. "We knew we wanted to be partners - in a business we both had passion for and both agreed upon." They found that mutual passion after visiting a friend with a business in the beauty supply industry. After that meeting, the vision "clicked" and Savanna Beauty was born. Savanna Beauty is one of the 3% of beauty supply boutiques in the country that is black-owned.
WWBIC assisted Stephanie and Beran with a small business loan and mentoring from a small business consultant.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: MKE Rag
July’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: In-Style Hair Studio
This month WWBIC surprised Francisco & Miguel Aguilar, owners of Milwaukee Rag. Brothers Francisco and Miguel launched their screen printing and embroidery business 'Milwaukee Rag' in 2014. Milwaukee Rag originated as an online retail shop, selling intricate custom designed Milwaukee centric apparel. With educational support from WWBIC, Francisco & Miguel were able to grow into a building on Milwaukee's south side to house their retail and expand offerings.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: In-Style Hair Studio
July’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: In-Style Hair Studio
This month WWBIC surprised April LaPoint, owner of In-Style Hair Studio in Kenosha. April's passion for hair design began at at an early age. By seven, she knew that she wanted to become a stylist. In 2015, with educational & financial support from WWBIC, April was able to move from dream to reality when she opened the doors to In-Style Hair Studio.
Since opening her retail location, April has faced success … and hardship. In spring of this year, tragedy struck. In-Style was forced to close due to a fire in the building. April's determination and entrepreneurial spirit helped her to re-open on June 1st! April’s can-do attitude is a model for other entrepreneurs, and she remains a vocal supporter of WWBIC's work.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Voluptuous Secrets
June’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Voluptuous Secrets
This month WWBIC surprised Theresa Gazdik, owner of Voluptuous Secrets in Milwaukee. Voluptuous Secrets offers undergarments & lingerie for full-f-gured women. This little shop has been tucked away on MLK Drive for nearly 15 years - WWBIC was there at the start. With educational and financial support from WWBIC, Theresa has sustained and grown her retail store for over a decade during some of the most challenging economic times in our country. Theresa's passion for small business is infectious. She is a steadfast WWBIC advocate, and loves to share her words of wisdom with fledgling WWBIC business owners as a guest speaker during WWBIC events.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Glitter to Gore
This month WWBIC surprised Michelle Soltis, owner of Glitter to Gore. Glitter to Gore is located on main street in Mt. Horeb. Michelle originally founded the business with make-up artist Dawn Marie Svanoe (featured on Skin Wars) in 2005. Their shared love of specialty make-up made the decision to open a no-brainer. Looking to expand, Michelle turned to WWBIC for assistance with financing. Since opening their retail location and expanding online sales, Glitter to Gore has seen tremendous growth. Michelle is an active community member taking part in many community and local chamber of commerce events. WWBIC continues to support Michelle and Glitter to Gore with Small Business Consulting Assistance and other educational opportunities.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: ProTrade Job Development
April’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: ProTrade Job Development
This month WWBIC surprised Rashaad Washington, owner of Pro Trade Job Development of Milwaukee is a locally owned and operated minority skills training program building personal and professional development for men and women who are at a disadvantage in the workforce. Rashaad was inspired to create Pro Trade Job Development after seeing positive results in hiring troubled young men out of prison to work at 1-800-PRO PAINTER. With the success of his painting business, Rashaad decided he could give back to the community and founded ProTrade. Rashaad originally financed his business with help from WWBIC. WWBIC continues to support the Rashaad and ProTrade with Small Business Consulting Assistance, and partnership.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Furniture Renaissance
March’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Furniture Renaissance
This month WWBIC surprised Debi & David Rengers, owners of Furniture Renaissance in Racine. Furniture Renaissance is a furniture restoration, restoration, and furniture shop. Owners Debi & David Rengers financed the purchase of the business in 2014 with help from WWBIC. WWBIC continues to support the Rengers with Small Business Consulting Assistance. The Rengers passion for preservation and conservation of furniture is revealed through the beautiful antiquefurniture they sell.
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: La Taguara
February’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: La Taguara
This month WWBIC surprised Jeykell Badell, owner of La Taguara in Madison. Jeykell came to WWBIC through SBDC/WWBIC join collaborative 'Comienzos' program in Madison. After working with a small business consultant, Jeykell secured a small business loan to help grow his business. Jeykell's passion for entrepreneurship and Venezuelan cuisine is evident - La Taguara was named to Madison Magazine's Best of 2017 list for Best Latin American Food!
#WWBIC30th SURPRISE: Mari's Statement Collective
January’s ‘Investment in Impact’ is: Mari's Statement Collective
Mari’s Statement Collective is a local shop offering scarves, wraps, matching handbags, clutches, and jewelry for the complete accessorized look. Shawntay is a graduate of the WWBIC/Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee’s collaborative ‘Make Your Money Talk’ program and an active participant in WWBIC’s business education programs.