Walsh College

Business Makeover

Business Makeover

Sponsors of the Walsh Institute Leadership Center have joined forces to accelerate growth in Michigan through the Small Business Makeover. 
Past makeover beneficiaries include:

  • Atlas Wholesale Food Co.
  • Sanit-Air
  • Wolverine Carbide Die Co.
  • Achatz Handmade Pie Co.
  • Infra Corporation 

Mini-makeover recipients were:

  • AVE Office Supplies
  • GraphicColor Exhibits
  • Reliance Court Reporting
  • Cityscape Architects
  • E.A. Schensky and Associates

Makeover Update
The Small Business Makeover was introduced to the attendees of the first Small Business Conference on May 10, 2007. The competition was open to Michigan companies attending the conference and all members of the BLI. Sponsors committed to 12 months of consulting, assessments, products, planning, and coaching, all of which is valued at more than $50,000. Winners of the 2007-2008 competition were Detroit-based Atlas Wholesale Food Company; and Troy-based Sanit-Air and Wolverine Carbide Die Co.

Results of the makeover were presented at the second Small Business Conference in May of 2008, and applications were made available for a second year of makeovers. Winners were Achatz Handmade Pie Company of Chesterfield Township and Infra Corporation of Waterford.

Representatives from all but one of the companies were on hand at the third Small Business Conference in May of 2009. The makeover recipients were able to discuss the process and their results with the conference attendees.

As Atlas Wholesale Food Company was one of our first recipients for the Small Business Makeover, we wanted to see how things are going a year after all the changes have taken place.  We spoke with Mike Kotsis, C.O.O. and third generation of the family-owned and operated company. 

“This was a great experience both for me and the company.  We had an opportunity to work with other companies that we otherwise would not have known”.

Mike would like to give thanks and show his appreciation to the following companies:

DKSS & Foster Swift for helping to formulate a succession plan from the 2nd generation family members to the 3rd generation family members in the business.  A new buy-sell agreement was created and approved by all family members.  Foster swift also revamped Atlas’ employee handbook and created new non-compete & non-disclosure agreements. 

UHY for developing tools to track costs: analyzing delivery routes, resulting in one less truck per day on the road.  Instilling more strict customer guidelines, such as minimum order requirements, and time-frame adherence. 

MAP for the survey and re-alignment of both the warehouse and freezers.  Every product in each area now has a re-designed slot location, providing for better ease of use and inventory.  The Alternative Board and the late Mr. Carl Ammaccapane, for his contribution in communication amongst the management.  Carl administered regular management meetings and coached Mike regarding better methodologies of priorities.  He would breakdown ideas and agendas to a specific managerial task and priority.  He succeeded in profiling personalities to open lines of communication between management and owners.

While time consuming, this experience was well worth it!  Each consultant in this project is to be applauded.  They gave each issue thorough consideration and were genuinely willing to assist Atlas Wholesale Food Company and make it a stronger company.

Sanit-Air was the other recipient for the 2008 Small Business Makeover. We checked in with Connie Morbach, founder and CEO of Sanit-Air Inc., to see how things are going a year after all the changes had taken place.  Here’s what she had to say:

“We developed tools to assist in identifying services we offer that were making profits and those that were losing money.  With this information, we have eliminated a division that was labor intensive and very stressful to operate.  The saved energy and resources are being used to develop what we do best -- provide consultation regarding indoor air quality problems and solutions.”

“Through the consultants that were part of the makeover, we are now focusing on the vast knowledge and expertise that we have developed over the last 20 years.  Using this, our marketing focuses on this aspect of our company that differentiates us from other indoor air quality firms.” 
“With the guidance of the makeover consultants, we also have identified our personal and professional goals and are improving our quality of life.  By transitioning into a consulting company, we are extending our customer base from homeowners and business owners to contractors that need our project management skills and knowledge to oversee large remediation projects in schools, industries, and homes.”
“The painful part of the makeover was recognizing that we wasted resources on areas that would not help us achieve our personal goals to have more time to spend with family.”
“What we learned from the makeover is that we need continued guidance from our accountants and assistance in developing a business succession plan.”
The owners decided to sell the company.

Extreme Small Business Makeover Sponsors
Derderian, Kann, Seyferth & Salucci, PC 
Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith PC 
Hennessey Capital 
Mastermind Solutions 
Walsh College 
CORP! Magazine

Past Sponsors Contributing to the Makeover
MAP Business Solutions 
Microsoft Small Business 
UHY Advisors 
Western Creative