Small businesses now have nearby resource

Published 5:54 am Thursday, April 13, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Support for small business has arrived.
The Biz Resource Center (BRC), located in the Niles Main Street offices at 210 E. Main Street in downtown Niles, held an official grand opening Wednesday morning.
The center has opened to provide potential and current small business owners with many of the tools and resources necessary for starting and maintaining a small business.
A business library, computers, a printer and a scanner have all been made available at the center.
Two full walls of the BRC are packed with business resource books, including a series of ‘how to' texts. Each manual is a step-by-step explanation of the process of starting a business in a variety of areas such as coin-operated laundry, a business on e-Bay or lawn care.
The books are an attempt to provide prospective small business owners with every possible scenario and decision they may confront while starting on the road to entrepreneurship.
Each text begins with start-up basics and also details some of the problems other owners have witnessed in the early stages of business.
Some of the success stories also involve people researching a new business and realizing they are not ready to be an entrepreneur, said Lisa Croteau, Director of Niles Main Street.
Visitors to the BRC can also do research on any of the three new computers. Each PC has a wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, connection to the internet and is directly hooked up to the center's printer and scanner.
Software available on the computers include Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office XP Professional and What If? Financial Forecasting.
The resources were funded by $10,000 made available through the second year of services of Michigan Main Street, Croteau said.
The Main Street program directed Croteau to MI-SBTDC, who in turn presented a list of recommending what supplies to order.
Though the MI-SBTDC prefers the BRC to be in a downtown location, Croteau said the center is not exclusively for businesses on Main Street.
The BRC is not strictly for first-time entrepreneurs, either.
Dobbs said there are more than 20 BRC locations spread throughout Michigan. The only resource center in the tri-county area is located right in Niles, though. Dobbs also said he hopes to make business counselors available to the Niles location in the near future.
The Niles Biz Resource Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when Lisa Croteau is available in the Niles Main Street Office. Appointments can be made by calling Niles Main Street at (269) 687-4332.