Ask The Business Librarian 4-19

By Liz Kudwa

A:    Yes!  The library does have a variety of resources to help find this information.  We have several print resources in the Business Reference section at the Main location of the Capital Area District Library.

Michigan Business Directory, 2003-2004, American Business Directories

         This 2-volume set contains 6 directories in one:  Businesses by City, Businesses by Yellow Page Category, Major Employers, Movers and Shakers in the Business Community, Manufacturers by City and Product and Indexes and Counts for Cities, Yellow Page Categories & Manufacturers SIC Codes.
    In short, the Michigan Business Directory lists any type of business in Michigan and provides a mailing address, phone number, number of employees and names of top executives.  This directory is perfect for locating suppliers and as a specific answer to your question it does contain a list of Coffee Break Service & Supplies suppliers, as well as Coffee Brewing Device suppliers.

Small Business Sourcebook, 2003, Thomson Gale

     This also is a 2-volume set.  Volume 1 contains Small Business Profiles that provide all types of market specific resources to help you get your business started.  For instance, if you look under ‘Coffee Service’ you will find a list of coffee associations, trade magazines like Tea and Coffee Trade Journal and sources of supply just to name a few.  Volume 2 contains General Small Business Topics such as employee benefits, electronic commerce, business loans, and much more.  Under each topic you will find a list of resources to help you with that particular aspect of your business.

American Wholesalers And Distributors Directory, 2006, Thomson Gale

     This directory is a comprehensive guide offering industry details on approximately 31,000 wholesalers and distributors in the United States.  Entries are categorized and arranged by industry.  To continue with the coffee supplies example, look up coffee in the Product Line Category Thesaurus, which is at the beginning of the book.  It will tell you to look under ‘Food’ or ‘Soft Drinks’ to find wholesalers & distributors.  Look for those respective categories in the book and you will find lists of companies that supply coffee and/or coffee related supplies.
     Additionally, the library subscribes to an electronic directory called ReferenceUSA.  This directory provides listings for approximately 13 million U.S. businesses and 120 million U.S. households.  In the business directory, you can construct searches to locate certain types of businesses in a certain geographic area.  You could locate local coffee suppliers or find a list of suppliers in a different county or even state.
   ReferenceUSA is not only available at any of the 13 Capital Area District Libraries, it also is available at your home or office if you have a library card.  You have the flexibility to use this tool wherever it is most convenient for you!

Q:    I would really like to start my own business and it was recently suggested to me that I explore getting a franchise.  I don’t know much about franchises.  Where can I get information on this topic?

A:    Franchises can be a great way to get into small business ownership.  However, there are many considerations and your local public library should have some tools to help you research purchasing a franchise.  Below are few recommended resources.

Franchise Opportunities Guide, Spring/ Summer 2005, International Franchise Association

     This resource can be found in the Business Reference section at the Main Library.  It contains a wealth of information including information about the International Franchise Association, introductory information on what a franchise is & how to determine if its right for you, and a list of franchising opportunities by category. 

Bond’s Franchise Guide, 2004, Source Book Publications

     Also found in the Business Reference section, this book provides basic background information on what a franchise is and an extensive directory of franchises in the United States.  These are arranged by industry.  Additionally, there is a listing of franchise attorneys and consultants in the back of the book.
      Certain websites also provide good introductory information on franchising.
 Entrepreneur.com has a ‘Franchise Zone’ on their website listing the top 10 home based franchises for 2005.  A profile of each of the top 10 candidates is provided including the costs & fees associated with the franchise.


¸    The Franchise Handbook has their own website with a comprehensive database of franchises in the U.S.  Articles, franchise associations and other resources also are available at this site.


To learn more about franchises first hand, visit the Capital Area District Library on Wednesday, October 26 to hear Mary Ellen Sheets, CEO of Two Men & A Truck, speak about her experiences as she started her business.  Two Men & A Truck has grown from being a local company to having franchises in 25 states!  Please call 517-334-1522 to register for this exciting program!
     For additional help on getting your business started, the Capital Area District Library is offering a Small Business series of classes during the month of October.  All classes are FREE and will be held at the Main Library.  To inquire or register, please call 517-334-1522.

Thursday, October 20, Marketing Your Business, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25, Funding Your Business, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Elizabeth (Liz) Kudwa is the Business Reference Librarian at the Capital Area District Library located at 401 S. Capitol Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933.  Contact her at 517-334-1522 or by e-mail at kudwae@cadl.org.