Successful business owner/manager Michelle Judd will share her expertise with other Bay County entrepreneurs

The Michigan Small Business Development Center and Bay Future, Inc. have announced the hiring of Michelle Judd as a business consultant to help local families and businesses still experiencing the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Judd, a Bay City resident with deep roots in the community where she co-owns and manages two of her family’s longtime successful businesses, Bay City Antiques Center and Bay City Boat Lines, said she is poised to hit the ground running in her new economy -boosting roles.

“Having worked alongside my family in the operation of several local companies for many years now, I understand both the great joy and the many challenges that small businesses experience,” Judd said. “I look forward to helping others reach their goals.”

Judd speaks from experience. Bay City Boat Lines, a large charter boat operation, just completed its 25th seasons. Bay City Antiques Center, Michigan’s largest antique mall, has been a fixture in downtown for 33 years.

Make no mistake, said Trevor Keyes, President & CEO of Bay Future, Inc., some businesses are still reeling from COVID-19.

“Small business is the lifeblood of our community’s economy,” Keyes said. “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.”

The new position was made possible through a joint effort by Bay Future and Bay County and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. Back in January, the Bay County Board of Commissioners agreed to allocate $2 million of this pandemic relief funding to Bay Future. This small business and entrepreneurial support initiative marks the third American Rescue Plan-funded plan that Bay Future and its partners have implemented.

“It’s a great honor to join Bay Future and the Lake Huron Michigan Small Business Development Center at Saginaw Valley State University as a consultant focusing on small businesses in Bay County,” said Judd, who brings 30 years of marketing and management experience in the publishing , hospitality and retail industries to her new post. “I look forward to harnessing the resources of both organizations to make a difference for business owners who want to create a startup, stay in business or grow their company in the community.”

Over the last few years, Judd has begun sharing her professional experiences with younger generations as a faculty member at Saginaw Valley State University, where she earned her master’s in business administration, and Northwood University, where she teaches courses in marketing, advertising strategy, management and family business.

As part of the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Support program, Judd’s priorities will be to provide consulting, education and outreach to help small businesses in Bay County launch, grow, transition and innovate.

“As a second-generation entrepreneur and small business owner, Michelle knows Bay County and she knows the climate that our entrepreneurs and small businesses operate in every day,” Keyes noted. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve witnessed the ever-increasing need for additional assistance for small businesses. With Michelle providing consulting and support, we’re excited and look forward to her getting out in the community and offering resources to those businesses.”

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