Our Small Business and The American Dream

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Having grown up in a family that had a longstanding history in manufacturing and innovation, I admit that as a young girl I knew very little of the details it took to run a business. The reality of hard work and the sacrifices of those before me was not yet understood. Today I have a tremendous appreciation for the effort and team work it took to build a company with a cohesive team, quality products and impactful innovations that contributed to a variety of industries.
Wikipedia defines the American Dream as such: a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.

As a child, little did I know the opportunities ahead of me would be to not only fulfill but to carry on my own version of the “American Dream” one day for my family and community.  Today, I am a grateful and frankly undeserving CEO and President for Shirley K’s Storage Trays.  We are a company that specializes in plastic thermoforming and sell our products to a variety of industries across the United States and Canada.

It is assumed that everyone’s version of the American Dream is a little different but collectively Americans have a desire for prosperity and success through various careers and paths of their choice.  I believe that the common requirement for all participants is hard work, equality, and opportunity.  Each can speak to how expansive their goals are and how much they want to accomplish.  Some want to accomplish more for money, some for legacy and positive impact and then of course some want to succeed at all of those things.

I cannot speak for others, but at Shirley K’s Storage Trays we take great responsibility in providing opportunity and equality for our employees and customers.  As a small, growing business we feel passionate about providing our employees with the best culture, support, and benefits that we can.  We believe that by supplying local jobs and purchasing from US vendors we are contributing to the American Dream.  The Shirley K’s team often reflects on our mission, targets, and business plan.  We have strategies and goals to meet and wear many hats as we truly are a “small” business with the objective to expand into a bigger one.  I often consider the wide range of company successes across our nation.  The possibilities and impact is important whether a business is providing work for 1, 10 or 10,000 employees.

So I write this article to acknowledge my own beliefs and responsibility for contributing to the American Dream.  We all have different paths and callings that we are lead to do, as for this stage in my life I wholeheartedly believe in this position I am in and that I  have a responsibility to uphold.   I commend hard working employers and employees who get up and go to work every day with a positive outlook, seeking prosperity and success not only for themselves but for the overall betterment and future for our children, families, and country.

I would love to hear about your thoughts and vision for your American Dream.

Carrie Matheney

Please share if you so desire.

  1. Duane

    Carrie, I also had the American Dream to build a business not so much for myself but for the future generation in our family. With 5 children and 15 grandchildren I am in hope for one of them to take off with what has been started. There is a need for a lot of improvements and a younger mind is what I have in mind to succeed on with this business. At the time this business was started both my wife and I had lost our jobs due to the closing of both factories in the town of Galesburg, Illinois. At that time my wife had 5 years of service while I had almost 32 years of service. I guess the biggest problem I have had is the revenue to support all the expenses to market the website (www.dcprocessingequipment.com) so that we could be placed closer to the top of the search engines. Profits have been low since the very beginning and a person surely could not make a living at this but I am hopeful that some day that will change. This business was started in 2005 and just because of the person I am (not a quitter) I still work at it. I wish you the best at what you are doing as I have first hand experience at the struggles that you are being faced with.