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  • SBA Program Helps Grow Family-Owned Tourism Business

    Jan 28, 2013 by

    BriefcaseJobs Created:

    2 new positions were created

    Nestled on 60 acres of pristine forest land, with nearby access to spectacular Lake Superior and the beautiful Porcupine Mountains State Park, sits Sunshine Motel. This family-owned and operated business found its way into the hearts of Bruce and Kay Perkins in 2010. Exceptional customer service and outdoor adventure have been part of their lives for decades. The couple has been involved with hospitality and service to others, in one way or another, since they began dating in college and led scout groups on outdoor adventures. Their passion for serving others and embracing the outdoors has made their second career a successful one.

    Shortly after purchasing the Sunshine Motel, Bruce was attending a local tourism association meeting when he began to overhear others discussing Northern Initiatives and the work they were doing with regional tourism in the area. At that time Bruce and Kay had been seeking lending help for the land contract as well as operating costs for their new business. When traditional financing opportunities appeared limited Bruce contacted NI and learned that through categorized SBA loans, NI could help Sunshine with both funding for the land contract and operational costs. He was delighted to learn complimentary business development services were also available as part of the loan offering.

    Since the beginning of the relationship Sunshine has taken full advantage of the services available to them with NI. Bruce completed a Profit Mastery course that has helped him understand the complex financial aspects that are involved in running a small business. NI’s Business Advancement Center also has aided Sunshine Motel by developing and creating a website that highlights the business and all of the offerings at Sunshine and in the surrounding area. The website expands Sunshine’s market reach and elevates its profile among visitors. Today, Sunshine Motel has seen a complete turnaround in their 2 ½ years of ownership. Customers are highly satisfied and community members have complimented them on the impact their business is having on the local economy. In less than three short years, they have taken this once struggling business and turned a significant profit.

    How SBA 7A made a difference
    There are many small family owned motels in rural communities, many of which saw their hey day, in decades past. The Perkins brought the enthusiasm of new owners and the temperament to create good business practices. They had the earnest desire to bring value to their customers through offering a modernized , quality experience. The initial microloan was a vehicle to witness the Perkins ability to build their business. The offered technical assistance showed NI that they were willing to take advice, learn and improve their business practices. The microloan experience led to the offering of the SBA 7A Community Advantage loan that helped the business to reduce the expense that had been associated with their short term land sale contract. The Community Advantage program enabled them to receive a longer term fixed rate loan. The loan improved their cash flow and gave them working capital to address the seasonality that is part of their business.

    northern init


    Northern Initiatives Marquette, Michigan Dennis West (906)226-1671


    • Microloan to a small tourism and hospitality business
    • Total Project Cost: $153,000
    • Program used:SBA Microloan and Technical Assistance and the SBA 7A Community Advantage Program
    • Partners: Sunshine Motel & Cabins


    • Ontonagon County, Michigan
    • Unemployment rate of 13.4% in December of 2012
    • Ontonagon County was the home of the last active Copper Mine in the UP, which ceased operations in 1997. The mine which once employed thousands was declining in workforce for three decades prior to its close. This has contributed to a loss of population for the past 4 decades. The county lost its major employer in the last decade when Smurfit Stone closed its box making plant.

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