Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro Bar is a landmark. Founded in Detroit in 1954 but now nestled in Novi, the iconic independent restaurant features casual, trendy food and speakeasy libations. But its story is more than the eclectic decor and checkerboard floor – it’s a story of successful succession planning.
Chef Sharon Juergens grew up around the love of food, working in restaurants since she was 16 and then attending Schoolcraft College of Culinary Arts Institute. She had been on board at Diamond Jim Brady’s for several years, and in November 2022 was able to purchase the business from the long-time family owners.
Sharon felt confident in her ability to run a kitchen and a restaurant, but was not so sure of her ability to run all the facets of a small business. She reached out to the Michigan SBDC where she was connected with Business Consultant Meri Dembrow, who helped Sharon prepare her business plan and apply for SBA loans. Sharon takes great pride in her self-sufficiency as a female entrepreneur, which can be rare in the hospitality industry, and her plans for the future include health care insurance and a 401(k) for her employees.
According to Sharon, “The Michigan SBDC helped me realize my dream. I was a simple chef and cook, and they helped me understand that I could be a restaurateur. They made me look like a professional and helped me secure the loan that allowed me to keep this business from 1954 going strong.”