Making Connections that Grow Business

CMBDC Comes to the Rescue of Star Detective and Security Agency and a Lifelong Relationship is Formed

 

Star Detective and Security Agency Finds a "Star" in CMBOC

Almeda Dunn, president of Star Detective and Security Agency, has always had a passion for security. You could say it's part of her bloodline...literally.

That's because Star Detective and Security Agency traces its roots to 1896 when her grandfather, Luegemus Bratton, laid the groundwork for what has become one of the most successful state-of-the-art security firms in the nation. The firm employs over 400 employees, boasts high-profile Fortune 500 clients and government agencies and generates $14 million annually.

Despite these success heights, Almeda Dunn found herself in a quandary years ago and CMBDC provided valuable counsel that strengthened the frrm's connection to the Council.

According to James E. Huckabee, Vice President Ms. Dunn had just secured a "substantial" city contract that would take her firm to the next level of success. Until funds are released, a firm must absorb the start-up costs, including salaries.

Without any concern, Ms. Dunn sought out the Bank that she'd patronized for years for a line of credit until the monies from the landmark contract were processed and released. That's when she got a surprise.

"The bank she'd been dealin with for years refused to extend a line of credit to her," said Huckabee with amazement.

In a state of despair and perhaps fearing that she'd lose the contract she called Maye Foster-Thompson, then CMBDC executive director.

The call was made right there from the bank. Dunn had always been a member of CMBDC but had never had a need to use the Council's services ... until the fateful moment she called Foster-Thompson.

''Maye told her to get out of there!" said Huckabee.

Foster-Thompson plied her contacts by getting on the phone and setting up an appointment with South Shore Bank (now Shore Bank).

"Within minutes, she drove over to the Bank and they met her at the lobby," continued Huckabee. "They extended the line of credit ...thereby providing Star with the funds to meet payroll until the check was issued by the agency."

Huckabee says CMBDC's assistance was a lifeline for the company and Dunn has been a staunch member of the Council since that fateful day. She also changed banks and is now a loyal patron of South Shore Bank.

"Without CMBDC's intervention, we may have lost that contract and that would have been devastating to our firm," says Huckabee. "Luckily, CMBDC was there for us and continues to be a partner in the company's growth."

Huckabee, who is Vice President for Sales and Quality Control, has been with Star Detective and Security Agency for nearly a year. However, one of the first organizations he connected with was CMBDC. "I met the players at Corporate Bridges who introduced me to Macy's/Federated," he says.

This introduction, coupled with the firm's certification status with CMBDC, helped the firm make inroads that promise to yield growth opportunities.

Among the relationships that has the most promise is the one with Macy's/Federated, which is in the process of changing security providers right now.

"Thanks to CMBDC, we have a strong relationship with Macy's and the loss/prevention people at all of their stores nationwide. That is the kind of connection that CMBDC provides. They've created an opportunity by linking us with companies that would have taken us months or years to meet. In a matter of minutes, and on the strength."

He also gives credit to Rona Fourte of the Chicago Minority Business Opportunity Committee for her role in the company's success. "Rona Fourte created the environment for this connection. She identified the opportunity and was the matchmaker who put all the players together. We appreciate CMBDC and Chicago MBOC for their role in helping our business grow."