Sweet-Thunder Exhaust Recognized as SBDC Small Business of the Year
John Crawford worked closely with the Northwest Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to purchase and expand Sweet-Thunder Chambered Exhaust Systems in Cadillac. With help from the SBDC Sweet-Thunder increased sales by 36 percent in Crawford's first year of ownership. The company's success has earned it recognition as the Michigan SBDC's Northwest Region Small Business of the Year. Watch the video to find out more.
If you click on the listen section of the Sweet-Thunder Chambered Exhaust Systems website you can hear the sound Sweet-Thunder owner John Crawford loves to hear…the powerful rumbling of muscle cars whose owners have purchased Sweet-Thunder Exhaust Systems.
“We’re putting the muscle back in that muscle car sound that everybody knows and loves,” said Crawford. “We build those chambered exhausts and there’s nothing that sounds quite like it.”
Crawford says he has always loved muscle cars and the sound they make. So, in 2014 when he heard Sweet-Thunder Exhaust was for sale he decided to buy the Cadillac based company. Crawford did not have any experience running a business, so a local lender told him he should contact Annie Olds at the Northwest Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“It was one of the best moves I’ve ever made,” said Crawford. “When you’re getting into this you can’t even imagine all of the ins and outs and all of the things that it takes to start a business.”
“We dove into the basics of putting a business plan together,” said Olds. “We looked at how we’d approach the marketing, what this company does and how to do it better.”
Along with the business plan, Olds also referred Crawford to a local attorney for help with the legal matters tied to buying and running a business, and she connected him with a local company that helped him update his website. The SBDC assistance helped Crawford have a very successful first year as a business owner. He added three new employees, moved into a new building, and increased sales by 36 percent. His success as a business owner and his ongoing work with the SBDC has earned Crawford and Sweet-Thunder recognition as the Michigan SBDC’s Northwest Region Small Business of the Year.
“You can never plan for everything, but if you at least plan for the basics not everything is a crisis when it comes up,” said Olds. “It’s good to be able to help do that and ready him for long-term success.”
“I think the SBDC is an invaluable resource,” said Crawford. “Everybody has access to use people like Annie and gain from their knowledge and their experience. In my opinion you’d be crazy not to.”