According to the Census Bureau, there are more than 20,000 businesses that call St. Joseph County home. Last week the Chamber had an opportunity to call special attention to the work of three of those businesses at our annual Salute to business luncheon.
The Big Idea Company was presented with the Small Business of the Year Award. The award is presented to a small business that demonstrates leadership, innovation, economic growth and capital investment.
Big Idea is a marketing and public relations firm, which began as a boutique agency when broadcast executive Lou Pierce, who spent a career at the University of Notre Dame-owned television and radio properties, headed out on his own in August of 2001.
Since then, Big Idea has helped their clients tell their stories and stand out amongst their peers. Today, Big Idea Company serves clients as diverse as The Howard Buffett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, agencies that serve public employees across the state of Indiana, school systems, a national not-for-profit retirement company, regional medical specialty groups and foundations, and the South Bend Cubs.
In doing this work, the company has traveled as far as war-torn Afghanistan as part of a delegation inspecting and reporting on American economic investment in rural communities across the country.
The firm has earned 18 Emmy nominations and six Emmy awards for executing big ideas on behalf of its clients over the past eight years, experiencing an average of 14% year to-
year growth since being founded in 2001. Back then, the firm had one fulltime employee. Today, it employs eight communications professionals and hires additional staff during peak seasons for particular client needs.
Great Lakes Capital/ Bradley Company were presented with the Economic Impact Award, recognizing the company’s strategic vision and its sustainable capital investment in the St. Joseph County economy.
Look around the many new developments across St. Joseph County, and it’s a good bet that Great Lakes Capital (GLC) and the Bradley Company are somehow involved in the project. Ignition Park Catalyst I & II, including the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility, the JMS Building renovation, GrandView Flats and Townhomes, the South Bend Distribution Center I, and the Residences at Toscana Park are examples of commercial and residential projects adding to the quality of place in the county.
GLC is a real estate private equity firm opportunistically investing across the real estate spectrum and throughout the capital structure. The company concentrates on several core asset classes including office, industrial, retail, medical office, multifamily and other similar product types as well as mixed-use projects. Since 2005, their experience, long-term perspective and discipline have allowed GLC to grow to an asset footprint covering the expanded Midwest.
GLC has 11 employees supported by just over 250 Bradley Company employees. GLC focuses its real estate ownership on the expanded Midwest and was formed with the vision of a continued partnership with Bradley Company.
The Bradley Company manages over 10 million commercial square feet, nearly 2,500 multi-housing units and lists over 1,000 commercial properties for sale or lease at any given time. GLC has developed $50 million of projects in St. Joseph County over the last two years with an additional $35 million committed thus far in 2016 for improvements in the county alone. In totality, GLC has made investments in projects of more than $200 million in the last two years throughout the expanded Midwest.
These three businesses have great success stories. All have been great role models for other entrepreneurs and business leaders in our region. Congratulations on your awards.