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Huron Valley Financial

2395 Oak Valley Dr
Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Eric Bradley

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
Over the years I have not participated in many formal business development programs. I have focused more on maintaining personal one-to-one relationships with other entrepreneurs and/or investors and have learned from their successes and failures. I still point to the business education that I received from Eastern Michigan University (BBA with a major in finance) as the cornerstone of my business success to date.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
We closed our first loan in January of 1998 and the client was a personal referral from a local financial advisor.

Where did you find your first employee?
Our first employees were co-workers from a previous employer.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not interns per se, but in the past few years we have hired three individuals on a interim basis as temporary help. Because of their work ethic, we decided to keep on as full-time permanent employees.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
When we needed additional capital to support our growth outside of Washtenaw County, we found Ann Arbor State Bank to be very responsive. We have turned to Ann Arbor State Bank for the majority of our commercial banking needs.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
A savvy entrepreneur would be wise to consider Michigan as a location to start or expand a business. Many of Michigan's challenges like higher than average unemployment, larger declines in real estate values, and higher vacancy rates, represent a collective buying opportunity for business. Our higher unemployment rate translates into a larger pool of available skilled labor and white-collar workers for whom securing stable employment even at lower wage levels would represent a welcome respite from the recession. The stress in our real estate markets has revealed opportunities to either purchase or lease facilities prices at rates that would be impossible to comprehend only a few years ago. Since labor and occupancy costs represent two of the largest cost inputs for many businesses an entrepreneur would do well to buy, while Michigan is still on sale.

What is one thing Michigan does better or has going for it that other more successful regional economies don't?
I honestly don't think I'm in a position to compare what Michigan does better than other states or regions. Michigan fell into recession long before the rest of the country, and our recession has been more severe than what most other states have had to endure. Not to mention suffering through the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler and the additional job losses that followed. Through all of this businesses in the state have had to adjust their operations to be leaner, more nimble, and more efficient than businesses elsewhere were forced to. We've demonstrated as a state that we can take one heck of a punch. Look out when we punch back.

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