New Economy Initiative (NEI) has named J & G Pallets and Trucking in Detroit and Sherwood Prototype in Highland Park as $100,000 winners of the inaugural NEIdeas competition. NEIdeas is a program designed to celebrate existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park and reward those with the best ideas for growth. In total, NEI awarded more than $500,000 to 36 small businesses through NEIdeas.
Of the nearly 600 NEIdeas applicants, the two $100,000 winners were selected based upon growth opportunity, business history and mission, neighborhood impact and good financial standing.
Family-owned and founded in 1994, J & G is now one of the largest pallet manufacturers in the region, producing hundreds of thousands of units annually. The company, headquartered on the eastside and owned by Geraldine Wooten, offers to build customized pallets that meet specific customer size, handling and storage requirements. With a growing customer base throughout the Midwest, J & G will use its NEIdeas grant to further accelerate the renovation of a newly purchased location, hire eight local employees and buy a new automated wood pallet maker to increase manufacturing capacity.
Founded in 1991 by Peter Paxton, Sherwood Prototype is now owned and operated by five siblings of the Paxton Family. The company specializes in sheet metal parts, stampings and assemblies for a variety of industries, but manufacturing limitations have prevented them from accommodating full-scale production. Sherwood has worked diligently to expand throughout the last year, and plans to use the NEIdeas grant to continue its growth. The funds will go towards welding equipment, professional certifications, marketing and renovations to its expanded facility.
Since 2009, NEI has awarded $85.3 million in grants, which has helped create more than 1,200 new companies and 10,300 new jobs in the Southeastern Michigan.
Director of Communications