Women in business: Blazing forward with an eye toward the future
Co-Writers Mark Constance and Denise Fletcher
WEST BRANCH – “You’ve come a long way baby.”
That advertising slogan from the 1970s seemed like a reach when it first came out. Just four decades ago, women were still required to have a male cosigner on a loan. They couldn’t get a credit card without permission of their husband.
Women business owners still face barriers and challenges, but tremendous strides have been made in the struggle for equal rights and access to opportunity.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2019 there were 9.9 million women-owned businesses in the United States that employ 9.4 million workers with $1.5 trillion in annual revenues.
On some of the most important metrics for business startups, revenue growth, job creation, and the number of years in business – women entrepreneurs have either achieved parity or surpassed businesses owned by men.
SBA is highlighting women business owners who have benefited from SBA mentorship and financial resources.
The quest for gender equality is ongoing, and has much support across Northeast Michigan including:
Wise Heating and Cooling Inc.
Owned by Deborah and Ron Vitttitow, Deborah is the majority owner in the company, which was started 35 years ago.
At the time of the launch, Ron worked full time for the State of Michigan and part-time in the businesses. They grew the business together.
That is what I call a dedicated wife and business owner. Together they grew their business. Deborah is the majority owner. Which is why she is one of our favorite women business owners.
DebRon Real Estate company was born 25 years ago through the Vittitow’s dedication by working together. Ron told me they found out women were better renters. Women are better at organization, detail, appearance is more important (women take better care), and usually successful in the long run. Not to say men cannot have the same qualities it’s just that women usually are better at maintaining.
Wise Heating and Cooling is located at 2268 S. M-76 in West Branch. Ron and Deborah can be reached at 989-345-0680. Visit their website at wiseheating.com.
Gail Curtis Is the Associate Broker at 31 Realty in West Branch.
Ms. Curtis has always liked real estate from her 20’s. She was discouraged from getting into real estate because of the challenging times of the economy. Her family encouraged her to go to college and take up anything other than her dream.
With life’s evolving changes she opened her Real Estate office in 2018 after working years for other real estate brokers. Gail Curtis wanted to be her own boss.
Her team, Penni Marsa agent and Agent Cori Courtemanche have doubled their sales every year since she opened the 31 Realty office in West Branch.
Curtis wants to help people to have success in owning a home or business, moral philosophy is important to her. It is one of the corner stones of her business foundation for being successful.
When Ms. Curtis opened her Real Estate office it had been 31 years since her desire of selling real estate. So hence the name 31 Realty came from her waiting 31 years to do her dream of selling Real Estate. And she is doing a great job.
31 Realty is located at 2268 S. M-76 in West Branch. She can be reached at 989-387-3807.
Stefanie’s Tax & Accounting Services –
Kernstock started her business in her home 5 years ago. In Jan. 2020 she moved into her present location. She went to ITT for accounting. She was a nurse before becoming a numbers cruncher.
Kernstock covers most of your financial needs either personal or business, call her and setup an interview.
• Setup books for nonprofits
• Yearly taxes for personal and business
• Unemployment and social security
• This is just a few things Stefanie can do for you
She is heavily involved in many local organizations as a broad member.
• Volunteer firefighter
• Bikers for kids
• Fishin 4 Vets.
• Wild card outdoors
• Algers park and recreation
Her experience covers everything from personal to business accounting.
Stefanie’s Tax & Accounting Services is located at 2268 S. M-76 in West Branch. Stefanie can be reached at 989-701-2177 or email@example.com
Rural Diva is the brainchild of Mandi Chasey of West Branch.
Chasey was working for Michigan works when she decided it was time to become her own boss. She left Michigan works! To open her own business.
Mandi’s desire to make a difference in the community by being a store that offers unusual, quality items.
Her store is a nice place to buy that gift for someone who has everything. Beautiful items, woodworking for home, fur items, unique art creations, tee shirts, and vests. Chasey wants to expand her inventory by helping local artist to sell their creations on commission. So local artisans stop in or call, email, or go to her website.
Rural Diva is located at 2266 M-76 in West Branch. Contact Mandi at 616-560-9670, check out her inventory at miruraldiva.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org