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WBC News


DOWAGIAC, Mich., (May 27, 2021) – Driftwood Summer Shop, located in Dowagiac, Mich., celebrated it's reopening with a ribbon cutting ceremony this evening at 5:00 PM. Driftwood Summer Shop is an old fashioned ice cream parlor with a full coffee menu, arcade, clothing, jewelry, beach supplies, and souvenirs.

Previously owned by Steve and Lorie VanAntwerp, Alli and Dan LaFond took ownership of Driftwood Summer Shop in 2019. The couple saw success in their future through expansion after two years in business. This expansion includes the addition of a full craft coffee menu with locally roasted coffee beans supplied by Forte Coffee, new arcade machines, and more.

"Cornerstone Alliance has been tremendous throughout this process," said Dan LaFond, owner of Driftwood Summer Shop. "Rob Cleveland was our initial contact and did a great job explaining how Cornerstone could help us expand our business. Cornerstone has a capable team of professionals who guided us through the microloan process, which was essential to our coffee and arcade expansion. We have spent most of our time with Giovana Tovar, who has been a critical asset in securing the microloan and helping us through the grand reopening planning."

The microloan program is a program of the Renaissance Development Fund at Cornerstone Alliance and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

As Alli and Dan turn the page in Driftwood's long history, they are sincerely grateful for the support received from the Sister Lakes community for the past 73 years. This investment is a direct result of community support.



BENTON HARBOR, Mich., (July 1, 2021) – The Women's Business Center (WBC) at Cornerstone Alliance will join Holt Bosse to host a Southwest Michigan business pitch competition, Small Fish, Big Pitch, on September 29, 2021.

Small business owners will compete before local celebrity judges for the opportunity to receive in-kind marketing services from Holt Bosse to be used within two years. Services include but are not limited to website creation, digital marketing and advertising, photography, and more. The application process is open as of today, July 1, 2021 and will close on August 1, 2021.

Three businesses will be awarded one of the following packages to use toward its individual marketing needs:

Big Fish Award - $50,000
Small Fish Award - $30,000
People's Choice Award - $20,000

Stephanie Scott-Sims, Vice President of Finance and Entrepreneurship at Cornerstone Alliance noted the value of this competition. "Marketing is one of the most important aspects of a business. A successful marketing campaign requires an in-depth understanding of the marketplace, customers, and the various marketing channels that exist today. Some entrepreneurs may not have the resources to hire a company like Holt Bosse as a consultant, which makes this an opportunity businesses will not want to miss."

The WBC focuses on entrepreneurs who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources. The WBC provides tools, counseling, and assistance that enhances economic well-being of its clients, particularly women, people of color, veterans, and low-income individuals. As such, the WBC promotes and assists in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency opportunities.

The WBC will provide one-on-one support for applicants who request assistance with the application process. Applications are available on the WBC website and printed forms can be picked up at Cornerstone Alliance.

Holt Bosse is a full service marketing agency with over 100 years of combined marketing experience. The three winners of Small Fish, Big Pitch will not receive a cash prize, but can add Holt Bosse's marketing services to their resources for two years. Dave Holt, co-president of Holt Bosse said, "the downside is that we can only choose three of them."

"Our clients are scattered throughout the Midwest, but our company roots are in Southwest Michigan," said Patrick Bosse, Holt Bosse co-president. "We're looking forward to meeting local business owners, hearing their plans for moving their businesses forward and helping to make that a reality while making a difference in our community."

Small Fish, Big Pitch is open to existing small businesses in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties. Those pre-selected will earn the chance to pitch their businesses on September 29, 2021. The application process for this event is open today, July 1, 2021 and will close on August 1, 2021.


STEVENSVILLE, Mich., (July 15, 2021) – Village Vet, located in Stevensville, Mich., celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday at 10:00 AM. Village Vet is a veterinarian clinic that offers acupuncture, spinal manipulation (chiropractic), cold laser therapy, food therapy, herbal therapy, and by-appointment urgent care.

A unique feature of Village Vet is that in an emergency situation, pet owners have the ability to admit their furry friends for urgent care within the same day and have their records sent to their regular vet to follow up.

Dawn Tulson, owner of Village Vet, is one of many successful clients to receive business assistance through the Women's Business Center (WBC) at Cornerstone Alliance. Village Vet is the 10th local small business to be opened with WBC assistance thus far in 2021.

The WBC assists small business clients throughout every step of their entrepreneurial journey.

Business assistance includes registering your business through the State of Michigan, where to find tax information, gaining access to capital, and scheduled follow ups to keep entrepreneurs on the path to a successful future.

Previously employed at Mattawan Veterinary Hospital and Nickerson Animal Health Center, Tulson and her staff of employees have a bright future ahead of them in the Village of Stevensville.

This new addition to Berrien County will be a major resource for pet owners and surrounding veterinarians alike.

Visit VillageVetMi.com or Village Vet Stevensville on Facebook for more information about Village Vet and the services provided.


BENTON HARBOR, Mich., (July 1, 2021) – The Women's Business Center (WBC) at Cornerstone Alliance is requesting submissions of Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Quote (RFQ) from local subject matter experts to instruct/facilitate classes in business related topics. Submissions will be accepted through July 23, 2021.

The WBC provides one-on-one business counseling, technical assistance and trainings for women, men, minorities, veterans and low-income individuals in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. As such, the WBC promotes and assists in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency opportunities.

Each year, the WBC hires Independent Contractors (individuals and/or organizations) from the community to provide unique programming that supports and educates entrepreneurs on such topics as marketing, business finance, taxation and law, human resources, etc..

"The WBC's mission is to help provide access to opportunity for small businesses, with an emphasis on firms owned by diverse groups in Southwest Michigan," said Brandon Campbell, the WBC Director. "Accepting RFPs and RFQs is a new initiative that shows just how committed the WBC is to being inclusive and helping local business. This will give area entrepreneurs a chance to be considered for contract work and can lead to business growth."

WBC session expert benefits include:
• Establish brand awareness within the small business community in Southwest Michigan
• Name and logo listed as the expert on all event advertising
• Opportunity to share promotional items
• Opportunity to connect with potential new clients
• Receive a list of attendee contacts immediately following the session

If you are interested in working as an Independent Contractor for the WBC, please complete the application and submit the required supplemental materials to Brandon Campbell, Director of the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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