On Duty Gear Wins 2012 Best Small Business Award from the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center

PORT HURON, Mich,. – Twelve companies from around the state of Michigan have been selected to receive the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center’s (MI-SBTDC) Best Small Business Award.  These companies were chosen from over 13,000 small businesses that the MI-SBTDC provided with confidential counseling and training in 2012.  The Best Small Business award recipients were identified based on their success in creating jobs, increasing sales, improving their business strategy and their involvement with the MI-SBTDC.  These recipients will be honored at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards ceremony on May 2, 2013.

“The Best Small Business Award provides the MI-SBTDC network with an opportunity to acknowledge exceptional small businesses that we’ve worked with the previous year,” says Carol Lopucki, State Director of the MI-SBTDC.  “We are excited to celebrate their successes.”

For Paul and Cissy Riddell, On Duty Gear was a company born out of complete necessity.  As a member of the Port Huron police force, Paul Riddell and his partners found it incredibly inconvenient to drive all the way to Detroit to receive replacement equipment and uniforms when theirs broke or needed replacing.  Any time spent without proper equipment left the police officers feeling unprepared for duty, so Cissy looked into starting a service that would allow her to be a sub-contractor, selling Michigan-made body armor and other industry goods to police departments in the area.  Soon Paul was selling to his co-workers from the front seat of his police car, bringing home orders written on scraps of paper for Cissy to place.

Demand grew quickly, and On Duty gear easily transitioned from the front seat of Paul’s car to a permanent storefront in downtown Port Huron.  To better serve their customers, the Riddells developed www.ondutygear.com, an e-commerce website that has allowed them to start selling products both nationally and internationally.  The SBTDC provided Paul and Cissy with market research, growth counseling and a thorough review of their e-commerce site.  This review allowed them to improve in areas that were costing them web traffic and the potential for lost revenue.  Since working with the SBTDC On Duty Gear has seen an increase in both traffic and sales and expect to see a steady 10-15% growth in their business over the next several years.


The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, business education, information based planning and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties.

The MI-SBTDC is located at the Grand Valley State University, Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As host of the MI-SBTDC State Headquarters, the Seidman College of Business oversees the eleven-region MI-SBTDC network. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MI-SBTDC by calling 616.331.7480 or visiting www.misbtdc.org.

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