Published: December 16, 2015



Donald Snider 2015

Donald Snider has been named interim executive director of the Detroit Micro-Enterprise Fund, a company that provides microloans to new and established small businesses in cities throughout southeast Michigan.

Snider, of Canton, is an executive board member and former senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and former president and CEO of Metro Business Connect LLC, a consulting firm that provides access to capital and comprehensive services for growing small businesses and start-ups.

Throughout his extensive career, Snider has been a consultant for organizations such as the Michigan Department of Transportation, Detroit Renewable Energy LLC, and Main Street Bank in Bingham Farms. Snider was also owner and CEO for Ann Arbor-based Walden Foods, Papa John’s Pizzas, and Detroit-based Paper-Plas Converting Inc.


Donald Snider

President and CEO – Paper-Plas Converting Inc.

By Gerda D. Gallop. November 1999

Donald Snider is quite familiar with the term “going out on a limb.”

During his lifetime, the 47-year-old has been a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee, a science teacher, a gas station attendant and an account manager for Randolph-General Medical, a medical supply company in Livonia, Michigan. In 1992, he was introduced to the paper conversion business as a consultant for Midwest Paper in Detroit, and was soon on the road to owning his own business.

Snider became interested in manufacturing, and learned that Midwest Paper had gone into bankruptcy in 1994. He attempted to purchase the converting division of the firm, but the selling price was too high. One year later, Snider made a successful bid but he didn’t have the capital to purchase the company. Undaunted, he changed his strategy; if he could convince one of the Big Three automakers that he could produce packaging paper (used to protect auto glass during shipping), one of them would finance his new business. As it turned out, Midwest had supplied most of its paper to Chrysler, which was looking for another minority firm to take over the contract.

“You have to sell yourself to those automotive companies you want to do business with,” Snider says. “If you fail, they don’t want it to come back on them. It prevents them from giving other opportunities to other minorities.”

After many months of wooing, Snider landed a five-year contract worth $750,000. But one problem still remained. He didn’t have a facility or the equipment to fulfill Chrysler’s contract. Through loans and borrowing against his credit cards, Snider was able to finance a building himself and equip it with the machines he needed to produce automotive packaging materials. Paper-Plas Converting Inc. was born in 1995.

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Oct. 10, 2011
Steve Hood interview at Metro Foodland Market where Donald Snider of the MEDC lays out the Governor’s plan for building small businesses and creating jobs.

Jan 18, 2012
Attracted thousands of people including Donald Snider from the MEDC.

By KATHY BLAKE | Posted:

It took Chantae Fowler years of test-marketing to perfect her product and according to her market, it is perfection.

Fowler loved to bake and create treats and would take her creations to where she worked as a manager for AT&T. In 2003, she started thinking about someday starting a business. Her coworkers were more than willing to test the products she took in and provide feedback. “It was just an idea, it was getting the flavors right,” Fowler said.

She had a dream, and set about slowly and deliberately to bring it to fruition.

She started marketing at trade shows, expos and fundraisers, but had trouble with displaying ice cream because it needs to be kept frozen. So she started offering cookies. “I came up with the idea to sell the cookies to get people to start eating the ice cream,” she said.

She met Donald Snider, senior vice president, Urban Economic Development, Michigan Economic Development Center, (MEDC). He told her to find distribution points, to increase sales and connected her with Metro Foodland. “We got her to the distribution spot,” Snider said.

“I could make things look pretty but didn’t know any of the other aspects of the business. I was driving as far as Flint to deliver ice cream,” she said.

“Donald Snider took me under his wing and helped. I needed to be in a commercial kitchen, he found a kitchen for me in Ferndale.”

He also helped her get into the Commercial Kitchen Pilot Program through the MEDC. He showed her that distributing the ice cream is better than a standalone store. He also helped her get a loan from the Detroit Micro-Enterprise Fund.

Snider added, “We took care of the inspector, liability insurance, so all they had to was focus on their product.”

Fowler first started distributing to Metro Foodland in August 2010. They’re the only location that sells quarts as well as pints. Quarts sells for $7.99 and pints sell for $4.99.

Vince and Joe’s Gourmet Market in Shelby Twp. sells her ice cream. Papa Joe’s in Birmingham and Rochester sell special flavors: Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip; Chocolate peanut butter; Halle Tripleberry and Morris Chestnutty. Other Oakland County stores that sell her ice cream are: 8 Mile Foodland in Southfield; Holiday Market in Royal Oak and Westborn Market in Berkley

Ice Cream Place is available for catered parties. A per person fee is charged and includes the customers’ choice of desserts and toppings which allows a variety of choices for patrons to enjoy and combine.