This blog was originally published in early 2020. It has been updated, edited and reposted.
Mark your calendars! July 30 is the final day for submitting your business, or a business you are familiar with, for consideration in the Macomb Business Awards. The annual event recognizes local companies in a variety of categories – from workplace culture to corporate citizen. In 2019, a new category was unveiled: the Hidden Gem. Organizers sought a unique made-in-Macomb product or place that more people should know about, and they were inundated with nominations. Ultimately, Great Lakes Pickling Company was named the winner, and for owner Beverly Patterson, life hasn’t been the same since.
Beverly answered several questions for the Macomb Business blog and shared the impact of her Macomb Business Award.
Q: Describe your product and business.
A: We are an artisan, handcrafted pickle company. We produce specialty pickles and pickling pouches. I developed recipes using less sodium and sugar to offer a healthier version of pickles for people who are on low sodium diets.
Q: Where can we buy your product?
A: You can find our products all through Macomb, Oakland and now Wayne County. Our best-selling stores are the Randazzo Markets in Macomb, Clinton Twp. and also Warren. We have picked up two distributors since the Macomb Business Awards last year (2019), so we have been able to reach farther areas.
Q: Why do you do business in Macomb County?
A: My husband and I, along with our two daughters, live in Macomb County…so it made perfect sense to stay here and open our very own facility, which we did in June of 2019. Being centrally located in the heart of Michigan business also helps. It is easy for my orders to come in and go out without too much distance between me and the customers we have.
Q: When your name was announced as the winner of the Hidden Gem category at the Macomb Business Awards breakfast, how did you feel? Did you have any idea you might win?
A: When Mark Hackel started to announce the winner, he mentioned the waters of the Great Lakes.....and I started to lose it right then! Fighting back tears was hard, I was so happy! Shocked to say the least, as we were up against some pretty stiff competition. I felt so honored and appreciated for all the blood sweat and tears I put into this since 2014, when we first started the process of obtaining our licensing. At times, I have felt like throwing in the towel and giving up, but I have stayed the course and it is starting to pay off now. Being recognized for such a prestigious award certainly put some wind in my sails. I said I would open my own facility and I did just that. I am so glad I didn't give up, it makes me happy to come to work every day and make pickles!
Q: Tell me about your new facility.
A: Our new facility was a dream come true! After months of searching, we found a space in Fraser that was once a food manufacturing facility, so it had all the bones I needed. I knew that in order to grow, we needed to move out of the basement shared kitchen I was using, so when this came along in June, we immediately said yes! Had we not won the award, I don't think we would have felt we were ready yet, but we took the leap of faith and it was the best thing we could have done. I now have 3,000-square-feet of pickle heaven, with a fork truck and a lift door so we can now ship out pallets instead of just cases. Our production capabilities have more than tripled. We can now produce four times more in a day than we ever could before. I have a warehouse on site as well, so storage is no longer an issue. Even though we are still very small as far as employees, we now have the equipment we need to produce larger batches at a time.
Q: Do you think winning the award helped your business?
A: Winning the award has certainly brought recognition to our company. I have other companies reaching out to me now looking to help me continue our path - distributors, PR firms, marketing agencies, etc. I display my award proudly in my office and it certainly is a conversation starter. When I look at the award, it fills me with pride that I am appreciated for what I do.
Q: Why should others consider submitting their company or a business they are familiar with for the Macomb Business Awards?
A: Anyone who is truly a "Hidden Gem" in Macomb County should certainly apply to be nominated for the award. The recognition they will receive is priceless. Along with everything I know it did for us, it encourages continued growth. It opens avenues you don't even know existed when you can proudly say, "Hey, we won the Hidden Gem of Macomb County award!" I don’t know of any other county who supports small businesses like this. It truly is a wonderful event!
As you can see, the benefits of winning a Macomb Business Award are broad and very positive. So if you’re interested in submitting a nomination for the Hidden Gem category, or any of the other five categories, click here to get started.
For more information on the Macomb Business Awards, visit www.macombbusiness.org.
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.