The first business Jenny Feterovich opened, right out of high school with a loan from her mother, was a resale shop in Hamtramck. As a refugee from the former Soviet Union, she found beauty in American entrepreneurship. The shop, however, didn’t fare as well as she had hoped.
“It failed miserably because I did not know a lot about business, specifically location. People kept breaking into it and it would cost me more money to replace the glass than (I was making),” she says.
Since then, she has opened several other small businesses, including a production company called Parliament Studios, which collaborated with Gary Bredow and Big Bang Productions on a television project called “Start Up” in 2013. The show documents the stories of small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country and airs nationally on PBS.
Bredow is the creator, host, and a producer of “Start Up,” while Feterovich is the casting director and a producer. The two merged their companies in 2014 to create Arcadius Productions in Ferndale.
The show is now in pre-production for its 10th season, which is set to air later this year. As the casting director, Feterovich estimates she’s interviewed more than 1,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs. What has she learned?
“It’s really consistent execution and an ability to learn from your mistakes and move on quickly,” she says. “Because we’re all going to make them, right? But you can cry about a mistake or think, How can I do it better? How can I be better than I was yesterday? And (those) are the people I see that are enjoying a lot of success.”
Season 10, as in previous seasons, will feature businesses with an underlying social mission to their operations. The ninth season opened with TRU Colors Brewery in Wilmington, N.C., owned by George Taylor, which has a mission of ending gang violence.
“He started a business that only hires opposing gang members. It’s phenomenal,” Feterovich says. “We’re really seeing a lot of businesses caring about what’s happening in the world and around them.”
U.S. Census Bureau data shows 4.4 million business applications were filed during 2020 — many at the height of pandemic restrictions. A lot of people re-evaluated their situations and decided to follow their dreams, which has Feterovich excited.
“We’re going to find some of the best stories wherever we are, create more inspiration, more education, and be at the backbone of shining a light on the American small business community,” says Feterovich, a member of EO Detroit (Entrepreneurs Organization). “Small business is everything. I love this idea of living in communities, people serving their communities, and really following their dreams. It’s the essence of passion.”