Michelin helps four startup businesses

June 27, 2011

With nearly $2 million invested in small businesses since 2009, Michelin North America Inc.’s Michelin Development Upstate has approved four additional low-interest loans to small businesses.

This latest round of loans totals $172,000. The four socially or economically disadvantaged businesses are benefiting from the Michelin Development funding and business expertise. They are Bobo Transportation, Goin’ Postal, Helping Hands ATM Services and Pedal Chic.

“Believing in these startup and small businesses goes a long way to ensuring their success,” says John Tully, president of Michelin Development. “Michelin Development not only believes in them but puts capital toward their dreams. We are focused on seeing the local economy rebuild one small business at a time.”

Each of these four emerging businesses was selected for the most recent Michelin Development Upstate loans:

Bobo Transportation, LLC – Union, S.C.

Stepping away from the security of a company paycheck is a hard decision. But with nine years of trucking experience, Morris Bobo knew he could fulfill his dream of building his own company and becoming an independent contractor. Five months after securing his Michelin Development loan, Bobo has a successful business hauling freight long-distances.

“I am so grateful for the Michelin Development program. Michelin provided business advice after reviewing my business plan, as well as a loan to cover my startup costs. After receiving this loan, I was able to buy my own truck. In two more years, I’ll be able to buy a second truck and expand my business,” said Bobo.

Goin’ Postal – Piedmont, S.C.

Opening its doors in July 2011, the Goin’ Postal shop will provide shipping and copying services. Options in shipping and freight services will include FedEx, UPS, DHL and postal services, as well as mailboxes and copy machines. Owner David Jackson ensures that the shipping options will meet customers’ needs in both pricing and on-time delivery.

“With the Michelin Development loan, I am able to launch a postal service I feel the community has needed for a long time. We have purchased the necessary equipment and are getting set up for a soft opening July 14. None of this would’ve been possible without Michelin Development,” said Jackson.

Helping Hands ATM Services – Spartanburg, S.C.

Antonio Johnson started his small grass-roots company in 2007, offering cash-card services to the public. Laboring through his first years in a lagging economy, Johnson persistently delivered timely and efficient customer service. In 2010, when Helping Hands ATM experienced growth and needed new machines and extra cash to operate, he applied for a Michelin Development loan.

“My first two proposals were declined. After helping me refocus my business goals and observing my dedication, the loan committee offered me the loan. Without these funds, I would still be a small business hoping to succeed. Thanks to Michelin Development, we just celebrated the opening of a new machine on Main Street in Downtown Greenville, and I’ve expanded my workforce,” said Johnson.

Pedal Chic – Greenville, S.C.

Roadways literally become runways as you step into Pedal Chic’s boutique in downtown Greenville’s West End. The storefront offers bike gear, a full-service bike mechanic, as well as clothing lines for cycling, yoga, tennis and running. Owner Robin Bylenga loves supporting active women and outfitting them with modern clothing and chic equipment.

“We received the Michelin Development loan in November, which enabled us to acquire our own Main Street location, to purchase additional inventory and, most importantly, to create jobs. As a single mother of three children, obtaining a loan in this economic environment was next to impossible. Without the loan, the dream of Pedal Chic could not have reached the level we are today,” said Bylenga.

Michelin continues to accept applications for additional low-interest loans. Applications can be submitted online at www.michelindevelopment.us. Once a business owner registers and receives a unique user login, they will be asked to outline business plans and strategies.

Michelin Development Upstate opened its Greenville office in September 2009. TD Bank makes and administers loans for the program and works with the Michelin Development Upstate steering committee — a group of local business and civic leaders — to review loan applications. Once an application has been approved by the steering committee, it undergoes normal financial due diligence by the bank. Loans are available from $10,000 to $100,000 and are funded in partnership with Michelin Development Co. and TD Bank.

For more information about Michelin, visit www.michelin-us.com.