Mno-Bmadsen and Chi Ishobak have teamed up to support Pokagon and other Native American owned small businesses in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. To encourage the Pokagon community to “Buy Native, Support Local,” a different Native American owned small business will be featured in this column every month. This month we are happy to introduce you to The Front Porch!
Irma Carney and her husband Michael opened The Front Porch in May of 2016. She has always wanted to open a business, but after working five years in a hospital with thousands of employees, it was clear to her that she needed to be her own boss. The idea for the Front Porch came from her great grandparents. They raised her in their seventies, which gave her the opportunity to grow up surrounded by antique and vintage things. As someone who was well-versed on the subject, it seemed like the perfect fit for her to open an antique shop.
Her favorite part about working at The Front Porch is hearing all of the customer’s stories after they’ve purchased a piece of furniture or items to decorate their house. She enjoys looking at pictures and hearing how they’ve used the items. Their excitement creates a sense of happiness in Irma and makes her feel like she’s making a difference in the lives of her customers.
Irma did utilize some of Chi Ishobak’s tribal business resources to open The Front Porch. She wrote a business plan, did a cash flow analysis and came up with figures she’d need to borrow before approaching Chi Ishobak. Chi Ishobak was able to accommodate her plans and Irma later received a line of credit so she could add a cargo trailer for deliveries and become an official Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan stockist.
As a business owner, Irma has a few tips for those who wish to start a business. She says that starting the business was the hardest thing she’d ever done in her life, and although she loves what she does and it’s extremely rewarding, she recognized that sacrifices she had to make. Her best advice to someone interested in owning a business is to consider what priorities they are willing to give up in order to be successful.
The Front Porch sells a variety of antique, vintage and revived goods with a peppering of artistry from thirty different merchants. Their inventory ranges in home décor and furniture. If you’re interested in The Front Porch, you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/frontporchgoods/. They are open Monday thru Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-2. You can find The Front Porch in downtown Muskegon, Michigan.