Citizen Potawatomi Nation Fuels Ambitions, Entrepreneurship
Eight months after Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Sherry Foutz bought Advertising Ideas, Inc., a fire shut it down, forcing her to start over. Now this mom of seven is celebrating that business’s 30th anniversary and sharing how Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) programs have helped her along the way to overcome many challenges and continue to grow.
“I give sincere thanks to Bob Crothers [COO of CPCDC], whom I feel has been my rescuer on many occasions as we face the financial demands of a growing business,” said Foutz. In November 2016, Foutz purchased a 30,000 square foot facility. Foutz needed funds to renovate the new building to improve production for her business, which prints and embroiders custom promotional products. “CPN made the funds available to us and we are up and operating,” Foutz explained, describing one of three current loans CPCDC has provided to Foutz. This assistance, and that from the Small Business Association, are crucial to the success of her business, Foutz believes.
Loans are just one of CPCDC’s many investments in both Citizen Potawatomi members and other native-owned businesses. This CPN program also offers financial education, credit counseling, and individual and workshop guidance in areas like business structure and market research. An asset building program for local low-and moderate-income Native Americans matches their savings contributions 2:1 up to $75 a month.
As businesses like Foutz’s succeed and grow, they’re able to give back to the community, honoring the spirit of the CPCDC’s mission by completing the circle. “Advertising Ideas, Inc. has numerous opportunities to supports schools and teams by sponsorships, buying advertising and donating product. We are involved in our local Chamber of Commerce and serve in the community by coaching youth sports and sponsoring student athletes,” said Foutz.
JoAnne Dyer is a freelance writer and editor in Seattle, Washington. She is also a registered CPN tribal member.