Van Buren County: As a young entrepreneur with a strong desire to start a business in South Haven, Jeremiah Smith considered three different business ideas. After meeting with the Michigan SBDC, they helped narrow down his vision to focus on one business idea. When his initial idea was determined to not be viable, he pivoted to focusing on business concepts that were recession proof.
After having the opportunity to hear local entrepreneur Dana Getman, CEO of Getman Corporations, speak at the South Haven Chamber of Commerce Annual Economic Summit, Jeremiah approached Mr. Getman requesting a meeting to learn the keys to business success. The two agreed to meet for lunch. After a series of lunch meetings, Mr. Getman agreed to set up a partnership that included his help in guiding Jeremiah both through business and personal development.
Jeremiah looked at the marketplace in Southwest Michigan and felt there could be an opportunity for a coin operated laundromat and he found an inexpensive piece of property in Hartford. Working with the Michigan SBDC, he developed a business plan with a complete set of projections and presented the plan to his business partner. Coin Express broke ground in March of 2011 with the official opening occurring on June 11, 2011.
Jeremiah wasn’t done with his business journey. In December of 2013, he purchased an existing commercial laundry, thus establishing Allegiant Laundry Services, which included a contract with Bronson Hospital to wash a portion of their environmental service product. Since this humble beginning, Jeremiah has grown this contract to include all of Bronson Hospital’s environmental service products and laboratory coats. In addition, Jeremiah grew his clientele to include independent restaurants and other healthcare businesses throughout Southwest Michigan.
Through the years, Jeremiah Smith has become an expert in the field of laundering medical textiles and hospitality products. He is currently exploring developing a combination laundromat/apartment complex with the City of Kalamazoo, MEDC and LISC all while working to expand the scope of his commercial laundry services.
Jeremiah Smith is being recognized as the 2023 U.S. SBA Minority-Owned Small Business Awardee to be honored on May 2, 2023 at Michigan Celebrates Small Business (MCSB). This annual event is held in Lansing.
The Michigan SBDC provides no-cost consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Michiganders looking to start or grow a business can connect to free export services, market research, cybersecurity resources and business education through the Michigan SBDC. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan SBDC office by visiting michigansbdc.org.
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About the Michigan Small Business Development Center
Michigan SBDC services are available through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The Michigan SBDC is committed to fostering and sustaining a culture of inclusion through equitable outreach and service to Michigan’s diverse business community.
The Michigan SBDC is hosted on a state level by Grand Valley State University. Regional hosts include Western Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, Grand Valley State University, Mid Michigan College, Michigan Technological University, Kettering University, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College and Lansing Community College.