ISHPEMING — “I’ve been an electrical contractor for 25 years, but I never have had any experience in a retail type business.”
Jay Clancey knows electricity. Back in 2013, Clancey wanted to venture into a different kind of business, beer. But, he didn’t know exactly where to start getting his idea for a brewery off of the ground. That’s when he contacted the Lake Superior Community Partnership.
“I had a lot of questions,” said Clancey. “You wonder about financing a big operation like this and just a basic setup of a business of this type.”
“They had the structure they wanted, they knew what they wanted to do,” said Caralee Swanberg, the Vice President of Economic Development at the LSCP. It was a matter of getting from the back of the piece of paper sketch of this is what we want, to an actual business.”
Clancey says the LSCP helped him figured out how to acquire the equipment he needed to start brewing, plus hiring a staff, how to get a loan for the business, and more. The biggest part of the whole project was the development of a business plan.
“We worked with the business plan, which was absolutely vital when it came down to financing the project,” said Swanson. “You’ve got to have that. It’s got to be tight and it has to make sense.”
Clancey worked with the LSCP for two years to get the Cognition Brewing Company at the Mather Inn in Ishpeming, open for business.
“Things have been going real well,” said Clancey. “We’ve had great community supports from the sector of the public that enjoys drinking craft beer.”
After working with the LSCP, Clancey decided to join the partnership. The LSCP has remained in close contact with the new brewing company.
“I still work with Jay,” said Swanberg. “Just because the business opened doesn’t mean Cognition is no longer a client and part of the LSCP. They’re a part of the LSCP family.”
“I knew the LSCP was there, but I really had no idea of the scope of their expertise and the amount of help they were able to give,” said Clancey. “I don’t know if I would’ve gone ahead with it without their assistance.”
On Friday, we will look at another business that the LSCP helped get up and running.