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Supervisor helps out small businesses



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August 01, 2012 - y Trevor Keiser

Review Co-Editor

In the current economy when small businesses want to start or even grow, business owners are finding it difficult to get financing from the big banks, but Orion Township Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel offered a solution.

Van Tassel held a "Show Me the Money" buffet luncheon at Palazzo di Bocce on July 11. The luncheon included presentations by Oakland County Business Finance Corporation and Level One Bank of Farmington Hills to talk about lending opportunities for small business owners.

"There are businesses that say 'I'm ready to grow, I'm ready to move forward. I've talked to the big banks and we're not getting anywhere,'" Van Tassel said. "Level One has been in business for about five years now and it was started by people from one or two the large banks."

Rich Bondar of MPD Welding called the luncheon "real good and informative."

"I set up with somebody from the bank to take a look at finance some of the stuff we're looking to do here," he said. "I got to meet a lot of different people and people in the community who I normally wouldn't have met. I thought it was a nice deal."

Alana Campbell of the Orion Township Chamber of Commerce said the luncheon "went a long way to let businesses know that there is financing available."

"I think there is still that perception out there among small business they can't get a loan. We still hear about it in the national news, so I thought it was great to get the word out that there are banks lending money to small businesses," she said. "I thought it was fascinating how much they actually help you develop a really solid plan, so you can get the financing you need they really have a lot to offer to get the financing."

Campbell also liked how business owners were able to talk with the ones who were making the decision instead talking to one person at a branch and passing the decision to headquarters out of state.

"I learned a lot," she said. "I went so I could help our members and direct them of some where to go."

Suzanne Perreault of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) agreed.

"I thought it was excellent. I thought it was great information as far as financial tools to help small businesses, start up businesses, and businesses looking to expand," she said. "I'm glad the DDA has this information so we are able to pass it along to any businesses that might be looking for contacts."

Van Tassel said more than anything else, she wanted businesses to know there were financing options out there.

"It's the supervisor seeing a need and bringing awareness of resources to the business community," she said.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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