“When I left high school, I said I’ll never be back here. Never say never.”
Founder of nation-renowned business Destination Yachts, Sheldon Graber, never thought he’d be back in his hometown region after graduation. Not only did he come back and live here, but he manages the third largest houseboat business in the nation here in southern Indiana.
Graber was the keynote speaker at The Lock & Key’s Begin 2 Biz and talked about the challenges his business faced when it first started, how he overcame the 2008 recession, and gave tips to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Graber said an opportunity came up that he couldn’t refuse.
“He said, ‘I know your noncompetes are about up…what [are you] going to do?’ and I said I’m not sure yet. Then he said, ‘let me send you an idea I have.’ I said sure and…the next day I had an envelope. There was a check for $50,000 in that envelope, made out to me personally. And you know those sticky notes? There was a note that said ‘build me a boat’. Three months later I was back in Indiana building boats.”
The Lock & Key coworking space at WestGate Academy presented the second monthly Begin 2 Biz May 17 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. B2B is a small business open hour session and speaker series. The open hour session from 9:00am to 11:00am features several industry experts for those seeking to start or grow a business.
There are several participating industry experts:
- Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
- Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC)
- Indiana Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program
- IODD’s Technology Commercialization Program
- Radius Indiana
- NSWC Crane Division’s Small Business and Technology Transfer programs
- Bloomington Economic Development Corporation
- Ivy Tech’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship (Bloomington)
- Purdue University’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) Purdue Foundry
- University of Southern Indiana’s Center for Applied Research
- WestGate Academy Conferencing & Training Center
Session two of Begin 2 Biz features keynote speakers that change every day. The speaker session is from 11:00am to 12:00pm.
This event is free and open to the public. These open hours will be held the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Open hours and speaker sessions are free and available to the public.