Michelle Judd joins MSBDC and Bay Future to help Bay County small businesses navigate challenges

Having worked alongside her parents, Bill and Elaine Fournier, for much of her life, Michelle Judd understands the joys — and challenges — of running a small business.

Now in her new role as a Michigan Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) Business Consultant, Judd is ready to help small businesses in Bay County launch, grow, and thrive. The part-time contract position, announced last week, is a collaboration between the Lake Huron Region MSBDC and Bay Future, Inc., using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds earmarked for Bay County.

“Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of experience and I thought, ‘What good is that unless you can share that and help other people?’” says Judd, who lives in Bay County.

Michelle Judd comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her family owns and operates two local institutions, Bay City Boat Lines and the Bay City Antiques Center.“I look forward to harnessing the resources of Bay Future and the MSBDC to make a difference for business owners who want to create a startup, stay in business or grow their company in this community.”

Judd joins the team with 30 years of experience in marketing and management in the publishing, hospitality, and retail industries.

After working as a publisher for some time, she returned to her roots and her family’s businesses, Bay City Boat Lines and Bay City Antiques Center, in Bay City where she holds the roles of co-owner, manager and marketer. Bay City Boat Lines, a charter boat operation, just completed its 25th season; the Bay City Antiques Center at 1020 N. Water St. has been a mainstay downtown since 1989.

In recent years, Judd began teaching courses in marketing, advertising strategy and business at Saginaw Valley State University and Northwood University.

In her new role, Judd’s priorities will be to provide consulting, education, and outreach to small businesses in Bay County. The focuses of the program are to:

• Provide confidential one-on-one consulting services to small businesses
• Help businesses initiate, grow, and improve operations
• Facilitate business workshops on topics relevant to Bay County businesses
• Help businesses best utilize federal, state, and regional economic development initiatives and support programs, as well as strategic private sector partners

“That could be anything from assisting someone with a business plan to helping them decide what the next steps are for their business or preparing to speak with a lender,” Judd says.

The services are pre-paid when you register for assistance with the SBDC.

This is the third program executed by Bay Future and its partners as part of a $2 million allocation of ARPA funding by the Bay County Board of Commissioners to support small business and the local economy.

“After the once-in-a-century pandemic, with this funding, our local economy will now be poised for a once-in-a-generation comeback,” says Beth L. Roszatycki, MSBDC Chief Client Services Officer.

As a second-generation entrepreneur and small business owner, Judd knows Bay County and the climate that local entrepreneurs and small businesses operate in every day, says Trevor M. Keyes, President & CEO of Bay Future.

“Small business is the lifeblood of our community’s economy. Bringing Michelle to the team as a small business consultant will provide a huge benefit for businesses in our community that continue to navigate through issues brought on directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Keyes says.

Judd thanked her parents for teaching her about business and supporting her decision to dedicate some time to helping others in addition to working with the family business.

Their ability to take chances, do the work, and bring ideas to life has been inspiring,” Judd says.

To make an appointment with Michelle Judd, email her at michellejudd@gmail.com.

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