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Photo: Bryce Mata

I’ve been interviewing a lot of business owners, and talking with friends about what’s going on given the gloomy current state of affairs. I’ve fortunately had time to process so I wanted to share my thoughts:

1. ALL businesses should develop a pandemic/financial crisis plan in case anything like this happens again. Of course, there’s no foolproof version for some businesses, but considering COVID-19 and the 2008 housing crisis happened within 12 years of each other, it means we’ll probably see something like this in the not-so-distant future, regardless of the cause.

2. Businesses should focus on the importance of…


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Photo: Jonathan Diener

When Ameer Rutherford isn’t spreading joy around the bars of Flint, he’s running a tight ship as head of security for rap all-stars Run The Jewels. It wasn’t an easy or conventional path by any means, and somehow it all started with a tennis match in 1993.

“So in the beginning when I joined the army I wanted to learn how to do high-end security. I saw a need back then — people were running into social issues,” says Rutherford. “Monica Seles got attacked while she was playing tennis on a tennis court and why was there no security there…


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Photo: Jonathan Diener

When you walk through the doors of SHIFT, you’ll most likely be greeted by Jamie Stebbins, a charismatic and passionate employee of the all-women owned and operated boutique located next to The Capitol Theatre.

“SHIFT is Flint’s premiere lifestyle boutique. People think it’s only women’s clothing, but it’s not just that,” says Stebbins. “We have things for your house, great gifts, and we have fun. I love sending someone out of here with a story and there’s a story behind a lot of the stuff in here. …


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KUHMUTE co-founders Scott Spitler (left) and Peter Deppe (right). Photo: Jonathan Diener

Two recent Kettering University graduates, Petter Deppe and Scott Spitler were tired of studying for exams and were ready to start their own business in Downtown Flint. In November 2018, KUHMUTE officially became a company, and by finding a gap in the rideshare industry, they shifted their focus from e-scooters to their own universal charging hubs that are now getting international attention.

“We were meeting with some mentors and trying to figure out what kind of business we wanted to start,” says Deppe, KUHMUTE co-founder, and CEO. “One of the things that came up was — we wanted to take…


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Photo: Jonathan Diener

Michele Pendleton is a huge fan of the television series Parks and Recreation. Aside from admiring actor Amy Poehler, her real role model is the fictional character she portrays, Leslie Knope. The lovable go-getter was just one of the inspirations to do more for the women of Flint. The 4th annual Galentine’s Day (named after an episode of the series) held on Sunday, February 15th, 2020, was her biggest success to date.

“I went to the Women’s March on Washington in 2016 and when I was there I stayed with a woman named Stephanie who worked at a shelter,” says…


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Photo: Jonathan Diener

Marcia Faye McGee has been breaking barriers and providing what she calls, “gateway yoga” to Flint residents since 2010. She’s a certified Kripalu style yoga instructor and does her best to make the experience seem like a party rather than a chore with her donation-based classes at The Ferris Wheel.

“In the early 2000s my friends were like, ‘You look stressed, you should try yoga.’ So I called three different yoga studios about doing it and the one that called me back is where I started taking classes,” says McGee. “I was very lucky I practiced at the Samadhi Yoga…


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Tony Vu at Mamang in the Flint Farmer’s Market (Photo: Jonathan Diener)

In the company of Elon Musk and the “Sharks” from Shark Tank, Flint entrepreneur Tony Vu was recently listed as one of Inc. Magazine’s The Most Important Entrepreneurs of the Past Decade, and for good reason. First he launched Flint’s Vietnamese cuisine powerhouse MaMang as a food truck which later became a hotspot in the Flint Farmers’ Market. Then he opened The Good Bowl in Traverse City, with a more expansive menu and charitable donation model, but still utilizing the quick serve format. …


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Owners Jerry Crago and Brandon Trammell with Scott Carlson (center) of grindcore legends, Repulsion. Photo: Todd Grigar

Co-owners Jerry Crago and Brandon Trammell left their careers to pursue their dreams of owning a record shop as Jack’s Record Stache opened its doors in late 2019. The shop is located next to the all-ages rock club, Flint Local 432 and despite what they have displayed on the shelves, their collection contains a whopping 150,000 records.

“The shop is named after Jack Cusenza. He was my friend Josh’s father who passed away. We’re coming up on the 2 year anniversary of that now and when he passed he left over 150,000 records,” says Jerry Crago. “It was just a…


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The Kadies with Michigan Lieutenant Governor, Garlin Gilchrist II

Natalie Kadie, a licensed nail tech for nearly twenty years, and her husband Alex opened Eight Ten Nail Bar in the heart of Downtown Flint in 2018. Providing creative and custom beauty services as a nail salon, complementary wine and an appointment-based system to ensure clients can get in before major events, their foundation is rooted in customer service. Natalie was laser focused on the detailed manicure she was providing while somehow splitting her brain and doing the interview with complete clarity — a true talent.

“I was already hanging out downtown when it was only one club, The Metropolis…


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Photo: Bryce Mata

Flint, Michigan songwriter, Fernando Silverio Solis, was chasing a feeling. Whenever he’d get close enough he only crashed into another roadblock. He was perpetually stuck. Years of partying, jumping from band to band, relationships both good and bad, and parenthood were all thrown into the mix, forcing him to make abrupt lifestyle changes and figure out his life as an adult. So if music kept letting him down, what feeling was making him go back time and time again?

“I was trying to remember why I even liked playing music, because what I was doing at the time wasn’t making…

Jonathan Diener

Freelance writer/musician. Flint, Michigan superfan. Very hireable. Contact info, comics, music and more at jonodiener.com

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