Expanding Businesses on Main Street

| Monday, May 19 | 9:00 a.m - 10:15 a.m. | Room: LaSalle B | Session Track: BD

Cold calls getting you down? In this economy it may seem unimaginable to look from within to create growth, but that is where you will find the most success. The value in retaining and growing an existing business, not only saves you time and energy, but it also proves that your downtown is a place to be and do business. Learn how one community turned the focus on growing existing businesses while utilizing resources and advocacy through an open and flexible process. Learn what makes a panel of business owners grow their businesses outward and even create new concepts all in the same town within a matter of years.


Cristina Sheppard-Decius, Ferndale DDA
Cristina Sheppard-Decius, CMSM, 14-year veteran Executive Director of the Ferndale DDA, received certification from the National Main Street Center as a CMSM in 2005, and was one of Crain's Detroit Business 40 Under 40 of 2009. She has a B.A. in Public Relations from Western Michigan University and over 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing, volunteer organizations and economic development. Under her leadership, Downtown Ferndale was honored as one of five Great American Main Streets in the nation by the National Main Street Center in 2010 for its transformation into a thriving downtown in the Metro Detroit area over the last decade with over 175 building improvements and $60 million in reinvestment.

Jeff King
With a desire to bring something different to the Midwest, Jeff King, a former bass player/bar owner/head of security and his partners opened Imperial, a "California-style taco bar" in the Spring of 2012 and by the end of the year were planning their next venture, Public House, which opened in September of 2013, to be followed in 2014 by 2 more: another unique restaurant concept and a retail establishment.

Michelle Lewis, Painting with a Twist
Michelle Lewis, a Detroit native, was a temporary disaster relief worker in Louisiana, where she worked at an architectural firm until she was laid off. There she discovered Corks N Canvas and decided to open her own studio, Painting With A Twist, in Downtown Ferndale, followed the next year by a second location in Farmington Hills and finally celebrating her third anniversary with an expansion into a new space in Ferndale in 2013.

Scott Moloney, Treat Dreams
Scott Moloney, Owner and Chief Dreamologist of Treat Dreams left his almost 20-year banking career in 2010 to pursue the bakery and micro-creamery calling, even though he'd had no prior treat-making experience. By March of 2013 he had expanded by tripling his dining space and expanding his kitchen to meet growing demand and become integral in the food truck community in metro-Detroit.

John Murray
After spending its infancy as an online business, John Murray and his wife Emily moved Modern Natural Baby into a small storefront, then another, larger storefront and finally a much larger storefront, all within 4 years. Specializing in organic, earth-friendly cloth diapers and other baby items, their latest expansion allows them to fulfill their goal of having whatever you need for a baby.