When you think of a local business, a franchise usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And although they are typically seen for their corporate branding and recognized by their logo, a lot of times they are owned and operated by people right here in our community. This is the case for the Grand Rapids Culver’s, which broke ground last week. Brian Polister wanted to bring the well-known franchise to Grand Rapids. He soon learned that even with a well-established franchise, he had to work towards making his dream a reality. Luckily he had some resources available to get his project across the finish line.
Brian Polister, owner of the Grand Rapids Culver's.
Brian Polister and Craig Culver, founder and CEO of Culver's.
Brian worked with Culver’s to create a business plan, but when financing became a challenge he was referred to the Entrepreneur Fund by a local bank. Stephen Peterson, Loan Officer with the Entrepreneur Fund, guided Brian through the commercial financing process to give specific feedback and guidance to refine his request and loan package that made it financing ready. Ian Carlstrom, Business Advisor with the Entrepreneur Fund, along with the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), worked with Brian to strengthen his business plan and fine-tune financial projections. The project was ultimately fully financed by a bank.
“Working with the Entrepreneur Fund was an amazing experience and a learning tool that was instrumental in the forming of my business,” said Brian. “I am eternally grateful to Stephen Peterson and the Entrepreneur Fund for helping me fulfill my dream.”
Keith Polister (Brian’s dad), Ian Carlstrom (E Fund), Brian Polister (owner), Shannon Benolken (IEDC), and Stephen Peterson (E Fund)
The Entrepreneur Fund works with local community partners and banks to help local businesses get the resources they need to succeed. The bottom line is we are here for small businesses and can help in various capacities. Brian’s story is just one example of how we can pool resources for local businesses. And now that the project has started, it will only be a matter of time before Grand Rapids gets a taste of Culver’s famous cuisine.
Culver’s will be located at 1175 Pokegama Avenue South, in front of the old Kmart.