Upcoming Brighton eatery latest in entrepreneurial successes

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Steve Pilon

Steve Pilon is the latest of my fellow graduates of the recent FastTrac entrepreneur class moving forward with plans to open a business in Livingston County.

Pilon, executive chef at Oak Pointe Country Club and winner of the Gleaners Iron Chef fund-raising competition the past two years, is working to open his dream — a European-style bistro called “The Wooden Spoon” — in the former Mexican Jones restaurant location in Brighton.

The former Mexican Jones building is being purchased by Steve Pilon for a European-style bistro.

Pilon is creating a one-of-a-kind place for local food enthusiasts, and its offerings will run the gamut, from cooking classes to sales of gourmet and local artisan food items to sit-down dining.

Pilon’s got a lot of work to do before he opens, but this first step — entering into a purchase agreement on a building — is monumental. I am so pleased to see him moving forward.

His passion for his business was evident throughout the FastTrac training, which moves local entrepreneurial hopefuls through the basics of deciding whether their business ideas are feasible, and, if they are, the tools they need to get up and running.

Some in the class — like me — already had businesses and were interested in growing them. Others — like Steve — were working toward putting their plans into motion.

It’s great to see Steve’s dream becoming reality.

Another graduate, Kathleen McKay, opened Kathleen’s Cookies in Brighton in December. Her beautifully packaged, gourmet cookies are a feast for eyes and stomach, and her storefront in the Kroger shopping plaza, which also includes beautiful entertaining and serving pieces for sale, is a sight to behold.

Steve Brancheau is busy with his Urban Legend Bloody Mary mix, so tasty that even tomato-juice-hating people like me love it.

What struck me most about the Fast Trac training was the breadth of business ideas, from those above to Kurt Zimmerman’s HarmonyStone Memorials, which creates beautiful cremation memorials for indoors or out, to Lee Snider’s Discrete Decluttering organizing service to Tom Coates’ amazing custom-built wood-burning grills and Rob Kamal’s high-tech Ko-Horts mobile phone management company.

There were lots of other people in the class and I am looking forward to seeing every one of them move forward with their businesses.

For me, the most valuable thing about the Fast Trac program wasn’t the class work (though I did learn a couple things). What helped me most was the amazing energy I drew from the sessions, which brought together an incredibly creative, motivated group of successful small business owners as presenters and coaches to work with a group of creative, motivated people with entrepreneurial aspirations. The energy, passion and camaraderie of my fellow FastTrac participants buoyed me along my way. Now, I’m enjoying seeing each of us move forward.

For more information about the FastTrac program, contact Nancy Johnson at (810) 227-5086 or nancyj@livingstonsbtdc.org or go to Livingston County Small Business & Technology Development Center.

About Maria Stuart 211 Articles

Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse. You can check out her website by clicking here.