Helping small businesses grow.


“My passion is to make our product in the U.S. and help secure local, Michigan jobs.”
– Karen Smoots

One winter day several years ago, when Karen Smoots’ son took off his wet winter gloves after school, she smelled a horrible stench. After some quick investigating she realized that the odor was coming from his gloves, which were wet from playing outside in the snow. It was in that moment that she knew she needed to come up with a lasting solution to this problem.

When gloves do not thoroughly dry, the bacteria thrive inside, often resulting in that awful smell. Her invention, the TheEcoDryer® by greenglovedryer®, allows users to easily dry wet gloves, boots, and other gear. The EcoDryer attaches to an existing floor or wall vent, and allows users to easily place items on the dryer. The hot air from the vent dries and warms gloves, mittens, hats, slippers, and more.

With the idea for a solution firmly in mind, in 2014, Smoots began working with the Southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center, hosted at Western Michigan University in the Haworth College of Business, to receive guidance on the future of her company. The SBDC assisted her in writing a business plan, which is a foundational component of her business’s success. She also received an International Search Engine Optimization analysis to examine the effectiveness of her website and identify areas where she could improve her online marketing, website strategy and sales.

“The assistance and guidance I received from the SBDC has been unbelievable. I have used and implemented so much of what they have helped me with,” commented Smoots.

TheEcoDryer® has been drawing attention throughout the country and especially from school districts and can now be found on shelves throughout the Midwest, and online. Smoots debuted her product on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in November 2016 and continues to gain momentum. She was named a 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year by SCORE Kalamazoo/Southwest Michigan in May 2021.

“Every household who deals with snow should have this product in their home. It’s a no brainer,” says Smoots who is a graduate of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. She is a lifelong resident of Michigan and actively involved in her community both personally and professionally. She created/invented her product, The EcoDryer in Michigan and manufactures all components local as well. Fabrication, manufacturing and packaging are all completed in Michigan.

A personal mission to provide every K-5 Elementary school with TheEcoDryers® blossomed into an partnership with Consumer’s Energy which has spread throughout Michigan and allows a zero increase in energy costs to schools all over the state.

TheEcoDryer® has received positive publicity nationwide with awards and recognitions from Family Choice Awards, Mothering magazine (Top 10 Must-Haves to Get Your Family Through Winter), Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda (2018 Winter Must Haves), ABC World News Tonight’s Made in America Christmas 2017.

More information on TheEcoDryer®

Thank you so much for the help. This wouldn’t have been possible without you. Am very grateful for your help and support and all the encouragement and positive vibes. God bless you!

—Isa Clark

I appreciate all that you do to support small businesses in the region. You are knocking it out of the park!

—Sonja A. Dean, Senior Program Officer, LISC

Thank you so much for your help and direction! Thank you so much for always being here for me to help, motivate, direct, and encourage me. Underground Hu$tle would really be nonexistent if it weren’t for you!  Thank you so much for being you and everything you continue to do.

—Jäquil Short

We look forward to seeing more programing and resources from the South Haven Region Business Hub.

—Josh Musinski, Water and Wheat, Vegan Chef Crafted Creations

WE GOT APPROVED FOR OUR NEW RESTAURANT!!! I can’t thank you enough for your guidance, mentorship, expertise, and motivation. We greatly appreciate your efforts towards the growth of Fruit Street Kitchen!

—Mo’Nique Crowley, Fruit Street Kitchen

Thank you for all your help as always I can’t sing your praises enough.

—Brent Wedding, Business Banking Relationship Manager, PNC Bank

I do appreciate your help with all my heart and am not particularly sure how to express the gratitude that dwells in my heart right now. Thank you and may you be blessed always!

—Isa Clark, Clark Special Kitchen

Can’t thank you enough for being at my presentation this morning. I’m so thankful for absolutely everything you have done for me and The Donut Cart thus far. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

—Amber Gille, Realtor, The Donut Cart

Thank you so much; I knew when I met you, you were like an angel. I appreciate you so much and I won’t let you down. Your hard work in what you are doing in the community is appreciated.

—Jamie Bigby, Entrepreneur

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing so much information. I look forward to being able to be involved in this great networking experience. I really will call on your assistance for help with this Business Plan.

—Joanna Partee, Silver Fox Assistant, LLC


South Haven Region Business Hub - A partnership between the City of South Haven, the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College. Powered by the South Haven Community Foundation.