BY BRIAN RZEPPA
With a minuscule 4 percent success rate, businesses are simply not expected to ever hit the decade mark. For EmbroidMe on Biddle Avenue in Wyandotte, this year has served as a milestone that an overwhelming majority of businesses are never able to achieve.
The path that has been taken over the past 10 years has had its fair share of twists and turns, but the fact that EmbroidMe has made it this far is a testament to the hard work of their owners, Mark and Jennifer Lyons.
It has turned into a full-fledged career, but the embroidering business was not one that Mark Lyons had pictured himself working in over a decade ago.
“Ten years ago, the job I had went away and I had to do something because I was too old to get hired by someone else. My wife and I found this, so we just decided to run with it,” Lyons said.
While they were excited to get their business up and running, the economic climate was not one that was conducive to any business, new or established. Right out of the gate, they were served with the biggest challenge that they would face.
“The biggest challenge for us was just the fact that we started at the beginning of the economic downtown both in Michigan and nationally. We were starting with basically zero sales and we had a few disconcerting moments, but we managed to make it through.”
They weathered the storm and by the end of their first year the United Franchise Group honored them with the Rookie of the Year Award. This would be the first of many for the couple’s business as over the next decade they would develop relationships with businesses all across the Downriver area.
“The Wyandotte community has been so supportive of us over the years,” Lyons said. “We have the support of all the major businesses in the area like Henry Ford-Wyandotte and BASF. We have dealt with numerous other businesses and teams like the Wyandotte Braves and while they start off as business associates, we’re now proud to call many of them our friends.”
There have been a variety of high points over the course of the past 10 years, but the anniversary itself is a milestone that stands alone at the top of the accomplishments as a business.
“Our biggest moment to this point is just the fact that we hit our 10-year anniversary,” Lyons said. “Being able to make it through the economy at the start and make it this far was very satisfying and just hearing some of the things that are said about us from our customers was phenomenal. We’ve established our customer base and continued to grow each and every year.”
With their continued growth in mind, the couple has been looking into expansion options that could help develop their business exponentially.
“I would like to expand and we’re looking at adding an additional sales office to tap into our expertise in production sales. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we’re looking at opening a sales office in Grand Rapids.”
The idea of expansion is something that may be in the cards, but to even be having those thoughts is something that Lyons never could have predicted when the business was in its infancy.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t really expect to be in the place that we are now. We have managed to do pretty well and I guess to mark our 10th anniversary this year, we had our best July and then followed it up in August with our best month ever.”
It has taken extreme dedication from both owners to reach the point that they have today, but Lyons also notes that it has taken a committed team to accomplish the things that they have.
“You can’t do stuff like this yourself and we have a great crew of employees that are very loyal and dedicated and I’m truly appreciative of them. Without them I’m not sure where we would be.”
Facing the seemingly unbeatable challenge of the mid-late 2000s economy, the Lyonses and EmbroidMe have managed to defy the odds and develop a business that is here to stay.