What’s your 60 second elevator speech?

Flint Local 432 started out in 1985 as a “not for loss” concert operation featuring new music that attracted young people. It was a reaction to the spandex and hair bands that were hot at the time.    As the years went by we decided we could do more as a non-profit organization.

The new Red Ink is a non-profit group whose goal is to connect young people and the arts.  Flint Local 432 is a program of Red Ink, a concert venue that is specifically for kids.  Local 432 is located at the former Genesee Indian Center at 124 W. First Street, in downtown Flint, it’s the 17th venue we have used over the years.  It’s a place where all ages can come together in an alcohol- free environment.  We do 100 concerts a year featuring local bands, some who are just starting out and some who have been around for a while and even touring.

Red Ink is a two-year work in progress; it includes several programs for young people.  We try to have something for everybody.  We want to help kids make good choices, so we put this group together to let them build their own place.  Among the programs is, “No Child Left On Line”, which is basically a day care program for kids who are a bit older. What we are really doing is training kids to volunteers and we’re training our community leaders of the future.”

Red Ink and Local 432 are both operated by a volunteer board of directors, with young people serving on the board, there is no paid staff.  We’re all volunteers who love the music.

Check out our web site at flintlocal432.com to see all we are doing.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Vital and crucial – I use these words over and over when I’m writing grants.  I have to go back and delete a bunch of vitals and crucials every time I write something.

What drew you to this line of business?

It was fall of 1984 and I was going to the UofM-Flint.  At the time I went to a lot of “hall shows”.  That’s a concert that is done at a rented hall.  I was in the student center and saw some guys in a band from Fenton that I liked, called “Gilkey Bystanders.”  I asked them when they were going to do another show.  They told me they didn’t know because it’s hard to do and expensive.  So I said to myself, okay I will!  I did one and said to myself, “never again.”  A week later I thought, maybe I will do it again, and 25 years later, here I am.

What is you most marked characteristic?

Stubbornness, when I closed up Local 432 for five years most would have given it up, but I wouldn’t leave it alone.

What lessons would you share with other entrepreneurs?

Don’t try to hit a home run you first time at bat, don’t limit your ambitions but be aware.  Remember, most have learned from failure.  And, join the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Our membership has been very helpful as we have needed services, and advice.  There is always someone who can give some direction or suggestions.

What are we likely to find you doing on a day off?

There’s no such thing as a day off, but I don’t work 8 hour days either.  Some days are 4-5 and others 12+ hours.  When I really do have time off I love to backpack.  I have "packed" several hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail starting in Vermont and Maine.