Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Editor, covers craft beverage industry.
Twitter: @jboomgaard
Email: [email protected]

Michigan’s contribution to a key project aimed at stopping the spread of invasive Asian carp has been put on hold as the state shifted funds last week to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Small business owners with multiple entities affected by the coronavirus may be in for a surprise when they go to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration loans. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Public relations and investor relations firm Lambert & Co. has acquired ad agency Fairly Painless Advertising Inc. of Holland.

GRAND RAPIDS — Amway Corp. affiliate AHC Hospitality has laid off 1,000 workers and closed all but the downtown Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

KALAMAZOO — Medical device maker Stryker Corp. expects the growing push to defer elective surgeries as health care organizations deal with a rush of COVID-19 patients to have “a significant negative impact” on its operations and financial performance. 

The coronavirus that’s affected lives and upended operations across the globe has become the kind of transformational business story that only comes around once every generation.

ZEELAND — As Brad Davis tracked news about the spread of the coronavirus in early March, he cautioned his production team at MedViron LLC that the company might need to shut down to do its part with social distancing.

ROCKFORD — Footwear and apparel retailer Wolverine World Wide Inc. is in the “early stages” of converting one of its manufacturing facilities to produce protective masks for health care workers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Universal Forest Products Inc. warned investors today that the coronavirus pandemic could pose serious challenges to the business. 

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. is continuing to pay its Michigan workers affected by the temporary shutdown of its manufacturing operations in compliance with the state’s stay-home order. 

BENTON HARBOR — Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has joined other publicly traded companies in withdrawing its 2020 earnings guidance, citing “unprecedented uncertainty” and concerns over disruptions related to coronavirus. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. said Tuesday that reduced or halted operations at its global manufacturing and distribution centers because of the coronavirus will “temporarily, but significantly” affect the company’s ability to generate revenue in its current quarter. 

ROCKFORD — Citing “heightened uncertainty and recent volatility” related to the coronavirus, footwear and apparel marketer Wolverine World Wide Inc. says it is withdrawing its previous guidance for the 2020 fiscal year.

HOLLAND —  Coppercraft Distillery is joining a number of distilleries in the state with plans to produce hand sanitizer. 

The federal regulatory body that oversees the alcohol industry has cleared the way for U.S. distilleries to begin producing hand sanitizer. 

West Michigan brewery owners are reeling this morning over news that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will issue an order later today to temporarily close bars, restaurants and other venues over concerns related to coronavirus. 

Stock prices for West Michigan’s publicly traded companies continued to plummet on Monday, a sign of Wall Street’s growing concern about the effect the coronavirus outbreak could have on the U.S. economy and rising tensions over oil production between Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Goodrich Quality Theaters Inc., a Grand Rapids-based chain of 30 movie theaters in five states, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan.

A bill introduced in the state Legislature would change how beer festivals operate in Michigan.

WALKER — A final mile logistics company that lost a contract to deliver packages for e-commerce giant Amazon.com is closing its facility in West Michigan. 

A tooling engineer from Grand Rapids-based Tier-1 supplier ADAC Automotive was traveling in the Wuhan area of China when the Coronavirus public health crisis broke in late January. 

New laws aim to bring parity to the state’s alcoholic beverage sector. 

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has divested its emergency response division to Milwaukee-based REV Group Inc. in a $55 million cash deal, effective Feb. 1. 

Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry of today looks much differently than it did a generation ago. 

Friday, 24 January 2020 05:00

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GRAND RAPIDS — Atwater Brewery, a Detroit-based brewery with a satellite taproom in Grand Rapids, has been acquired by Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co., one of the largest international brewing conglomerates. 

More than a decade ago, Grand Rapids business leaders lobbied hard to block the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, known locally as the Gun Lake Tribe, from opening a casino near Wayland. 

Groups like 23 is Enough and MichGO drove the narrative that any casino development south of Grand Rapids would “siphon off” jobs and investment from the city’s then-rebuilding downtown, limiting growth in entertainment options and economic opportunity alike. They cited a study commissioned by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce in the early 2000s that estimated $880 million of “economic hemorrhaging” in the surrounding counties if Gun Lake Casino were ever allowed to move forward. 

Looking around downtown Grand Rapids today, it’s hard to find evidence that their worst fears were in any way realized. 

Craft brewing industry executives worry that a lack of Pure Michigan advertisements touting the state as a brewery tourism destination could have a chilling effect on attracting out-of-state visitors to their taprooms. 

In his previous role as chairman of Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming economic development and investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Eugene Magnuson was able to help out the tribe of which he and his mother are citizens. In his new position as CEO of Little River Holdings in Manistee, Magnuson gets to leverage that experience in helping advance the economic security of his father’s tribe, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. He spoke with MiBiz about his long-term vision for Little River Holdings and the group’s growth strategy. 

While craft beverage industry insiders expect more deals ahead nationally in 2020, the market in Michigan may be poised to level off.