Sun, 9 May 2010
This week’s business conversation focuses on the success of one of American’s best brands, Jiffy Mix. Howdy Holmes, CEO & President of Chelsea Milling, the producer of Jiffy Mix, sits down with Larry Eiler to discuss some of the exciting things happening at the company, including a $6 million Research & Development Center to open in May on the Chelsea Milling campus.
The conversation begins with the current state of Jiffy Mix’s business model. Surprising to some, it hasn’t changed much since the company started in the late 1880’s. Chelsea Milling and Jiffy Mix is a family business at the core and in the eight generations since Howdy’s family has led Jiffy Mix, the company has targeted customers that bake and mix up delicious meals in the kitchen. When families and individuals started eating out more in the 1990’s, fewer meals were produced at home and Jiffy’s business suffered slightly. But as always, Jiffy Mix remained at the forefront of value.
As Howdy explains, “We are able to provide a better price point to our customers by cutting out advertising, couponing and free inserts. Our brand is built on value”.
Jiffy’s creative business and marketing strategy offers lessons for businesses in Michigan looking to build brands and find customers. With more meals occurring in restaurants in the past fifteen years, Howdy has discovered new marketing channels and the move has been positive. They are in the process of starting a new brand focused on retail and institution sales under the name CMC Foods.
The opening of Chelsea Milling’s Research & Development Center is a response to an increase in nutritional studies and regimented diets in today’s health market as well a continuation of Jiffy Mix’s impeccable brand. Howdy points out that the 11,000 square feet facility is part of both the image and scientific advancement of the brand.
The conversation closes with a speculative look at Howdy’s perspective on his varied career and viewpoints on Michigan’s business economy. Future business opportunities might include helping family businesses increase succession rates between generations; an important part of business health.
For more information on the opening of the new R & D facility and Jiffy Mix, please visit: JiffyMix.com.
Fri, 7 May 2010
This week's conversation on Re: New Michigan features Tommy Green, CEO and President of CoolHeadS, Inc. CooLHeadS is an exciting new product and lifestyle Tommy and his team have created in the past few months. Although Tommy and his team are fresh on the business scene, the company's goals are high as they strive to bring a new sense of style and inspiration to Michigan in the summer months.
Larry and Tommy's discussion focuses on the roots of the company. CooLHeadS as a product grew from Tommy's involvement in sports and outdoor activities. After witnessing friends and players draping towels over their heads to keep cool in the summer sun, Tommy designed a product to stay on your head, covering your neck and shoulders from the intense heat.
The conversation then moves to various ways Tommy has dealt with the trepidation of starting a new company in this especially harsh business climate. Tommy and his team, which includes his fiance and a few other Eastern Michigan University graduates believe CooLHeadS can become a rallying point for the local community.
"It's not just a hat, it's a way of life with recycling and helping out in the community," explains Tommy.
As the summer months approach, Tommy has big plans for CooLHeadS. Look for this exciting new product at summer festivals and fairs around Michigan. For more information visit GetCooLHeadS.com.
Sun, 2 May 2010
This edition of Michigan Business Buzz features the story of Jack Bidlack of B-Side of Youth, a program focused on training individuals age 13-20 how to run a business. The B-Side of Youth is housed in the Office of Academic Student Learning at Eastern Michigan University in partnership with the College of Business. This highly instructional and educational program is eight weeks long and meets from 12:30pm-4pm on Saturdays. During these hours, instructors help students in areas of goal setting, marketing, financials, legalities and business planning. Larry and Jack's conversation closes with two examples of students who have implemented the B-Side's lessons into real world businesses.
As Larry points out, the B-Side of Youth is just one example of the growing infrastructure throughout Michigan focused on reaching out to business people both young and old who wish to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs. Jack pulls from his vast business-growing opportunities as he and his team shape big ideas into manageable, tangible business plans.
If you'd like more business on Jack Bidlack or the B-Side of Youth, please visit BsideOfYouth.com.