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Fenton small business owner honored with SBAM’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship award

October 20, 2021

For Immediate Release
Oct. 20, 2021
Contact:  Sarah Miller, 800-362-5461, ext. 212

Kevin Begola honored at SBAM Leadership Council Summit

LANSING, MI – The Small Business Association of Michigan recently honored Fenton small business owner Kevin Begola with its 2021 Spirit of Entrepreneurship award.

Begola owns Bridge Street Exchange, a retail store catering to men’s apparel, grooming, gift items and more. In 2020, Begola came up with a creative idea to drum up buzz during the slower season. He launched the Michigan Mudflaps mullet competition to get Michigan men tell a story with their hair. When the pandemic hit, the contest actually became more popular since people weren’t able to get haircuts.

“The buzz that Kevin Begola created with the Michigan Mudflaps competition shows that creativity and ingenuity go a long way in ensuring the success of a small business, especially during times like these,” said SBAM President Brian Calley. “Kevin’s idea helped his business while giving people a fun and unique event to participate in during the 2020 shutdown. This is a prime example of the spirit of entrepreneurship and we can’t wait to see what Kevin comes up with next.”

The competition drew in more than 135 participants trying to be named Michigan’s best mullet. The contest drew interest from ESPN, CNN, Fox News, The New York Post and more. The creativity of the contest has increased visibility for Bridge Street Exchange and increased traffic in the store, which has been critical during these difficult times for small businesses.

The Rick Snyder Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award is named in honor of former Governor Rick Snyder in recognition of his work reinventing Michigan. The award-winning small business must have fewer than 500 employees, be headquartered in Michigan, and have a turnaround story that allowed it to achieve substantial growth.

The award was presented at SBAM’s recent annual Leadership Council Summit on Mackinac Island. The award was presented by former Governor Rick Snyder and SBAM President Brian Calley.  

The Small Business Association of Michigan focuses solely on serving the needs of Michigan’s small business community through advocacy, collaboration and buying power. Today they serve over 28,000 members in all 83 counties of Michigan. SBAM is located in Lansing, just one block from the Capitol.


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