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Cadillac Culvert's New Owners Get Business Help From SBTDC

Cadillac Culvert manufactures a full line of corrugated metal products, including various diameters and gauges of underground pipe commonly called culvert. The company also makes single wall and concrete reinforced double wall fire pit rings and does custom metal fabrication. The business was formerly known as the Cadillac Concrete Pipe and Culvert Division of Premarc. But in the fall of 2011 Premarc filed for bankruptcy and the future of the Cadillac operation became uncertain. That's when long-time employees Don Aldrich and Chuck Thomas decided to look into buying the business.

"They were going to close the plant or sell the plant, which meant us and all of our guys would lose our jobs, or Chuck and I could take on being business owners," said Aldrich.

He and Thomas had each been working at the Cadillac plant for 18 years and had already been overseeing the day to day operation of the plant. But in order to buy the business they needed to learn more about the financial side of running a business.

"The questions were what do we do, where do we start, how do we proceed with this whole process," said Aldrich.

He and Thomas got their questions answered by business consultants from the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center.

"They provided us with all kinds of information and documentation from step one through the process starting with the business plan," said Aldrich.

"That was the key, getting that business plan together," said Thomas. "Without the business plan no bank would even talk to us."

With the business plan Aldrich and Thomas were able to secure the financing they needed to buy the business and keep themselves and seven other employees working in Cadillac. They say they couldn't have done it without the help they got from the SBTDC.

"They helped us tremendously," said Aldrich. "Anything we stumbled at all on they had the answers for us."

"Without that guidance Don and I would have been pretty much on a blind mission." said Thomas. "That guidance really provided the framework to get the business operation going."

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