Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Detroit e-commerce company tops list of best companies to work for

A major part of starting and maintaining a successful business is effectively structuring the workplace to get the most out of employees' talents. This involves anything from employment agreements to the physical design of the work environment.

With so much competition for talent, Michigan business owners undoubtedly want to create an appealing workplace. Consider the story of two Michigan brothers who left their jobs at Google and IBM to start up a business in their hometown.

The brothers, 27 and 24, started Chalkfly, a school supply and e-commerce business with offices in Detroit's [email protected] Building. One of Chalkfly's investors happens to be Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert.

Chalkfly, 5 percent of whose total sales are given directly to teachers, recently topped the inaugural "Best Young Companies to Work for" list. The list was made up of 15 companies from across the country that have been in operation for less than 10 years and that employ fewer than 100 people.

The types of businesses on the list ranged from staffing agencies to social media startups, and each company was nominated either by customers or industry peers or partners. The judges were assembled in part by Steelcase's turnstone, and in particular, Chalkfly was singled out for its emphasis on employees and the company's willingness to boost business in Detroit.

In addition to recognition and publicity, the 15 companies that made the list will enjoy a new workplace design by turnstone.

Establishing a profitable, creative and fulfilling workplace culture is one of the foundational aspects of starting a new business. Employers who want to help employees and associates get the most out of their talents would do well to begin cultivating those skills even in the stages of drafting employment agreements.

Source:, "Why this Detroit business made turnstone's inaugural list of Best Young Companies to Work for," Shandra Martinez, Oct. 2, 2013

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