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Metro Detroit millennials talk about the challenges as business owners

Metro Detroit millennials talk about the challenges as business owners

Contrary to some popular culture references, millennials aren't just some mysterious demographic made up by marketers. They're looking for the same things many baby boomers and other generations have and seek. The same is true in business.

Those business angles were the subject of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce's  Emerging Entrepreneurs luncheon at Schoolcraft College. The luncheon, which featured several entrepreneurs classified as part of the millennial generation, highlighted the challenges and opportunities business owners can have when dealing with the fastest-growing generation.

When it came to challenges in the workplace, all four panelists responded to moderator Ashley Williams, who launched her own company, RIZZARR, after time in television reporting.

"You're going to think that all is lost, but at the end, there is a way out of the tunnel," said Brandon Bahoura, who owns nine Pita Way restaurants in communities including Livonia, New Hudson and White Lake. "Just never give up. And learning from my mistakes is what really helped me carry on my business.

"It's all about how you carry yourself."

Courtney Morales Hofmann, who runs MCM Staffing, said it can be lonely being on the top of a company, especially knowing what risks a company can face.

Those challenges are compounded even more for a company like hers, which operates in Livonia, Madison Heights and elsewhere.

"In our case, I have 26 employees. I have 26 families on the line," she said. "I'm responsible for that paycheck that pays for that family to eat dinner, to go to the park, to pay for school."

The panel was the third by the chamber, all happening in the fall. The first one in 2017 focused on issues surrounding diversity and the second one in 2018 did as well, though it featured an all-female panel.

Joe Legato, who runs the family business Bill and Rod's Appliance on Middlebelt in Livonia, said there's plenty of times where doubt creeps in and you'll wonder what you've gotten yourself into, even in a family-owned business. 

Those doubts, he said, have to be pushed away and continue moving forward to keeping the business running efficiently.

"You're going to have times when you're lying awake in bed, wondering why the heck did I put myself in this place," he said. "The key is getting up that next day, doing what you always do, doing to what is the best of your ability."

Amanda Saad, owner of Butter Bear Shop that opened last year on Five Mile in Livonia, said she's had to teach herself patience when it comes to working with customers that may not think her baking is the best they've ever had.

"It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint," she said. "Things just happen. Some people are just not happy and are not going to like the world's best cookie, and that's OK."

Contact David Veselenak at or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.

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