Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce expects to receive up to 1,000 applications by the end of the week from across Kent County from small businesses seeking assistance from a $25 million grant fund set up to ease the economic crush of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today ordered bars across much of the Lower Peninsula to close indoor service by late tonight to “protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19.”

Spectrum Health’s Zeeland Community Hospital has again been named among the top 100 hospitals in the U.S., according to an annual ranking by Fortune/IBM Watson Health.

Citing recent daily increases in new COVID-19 cases, including more than 100 tied to an East Lansing bar, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today urged people to “keep up our guard,” wear a face mask in public and avoid crowded areas.

Michigan retail sales remained in the “tank” during May as many stores remained closed, although a monthly survey and activity index suggest a rebound this summer after reopening.

GRAND RAPIDS — New capital investments involving existing investors will bring two health care startups backed by Genesis Innovation Group LLC closer to the market.

The premium credits Priority Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are providing small employers this summer stem from lower medical claims after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Two Michigan congressmen behind legislation that would create a $50.5 billion relief fund for small businesses nationwide hope to get it included in the next federal aid package that may come before Congress this summer.

NEW BUFFALO — The largest credit union in Indiana looks to further expand in the Michigan market after acquiring the parent company of New Buffalo Savings Bank.

Forming a relief fund to aid small businesses hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic was an early idea Kent County commissioners pursued when they began considering two months ago what to do with $114.6 million in federal aid funding. 

  GRAND RAPIDS — In partnering on a $25 million small business relief fund, Kent County and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce want to tap a number of community and entrepreneurial support organizations to get the word out to companies and provide volunteers to vet grant applicants. 

Rodger Price formed Leading by Design LLC in Holland in January 2014 to develop business leaders with a sense that West Michigan was “already this hotbed of great leaders.” He believes that by cultivating that culture, the region can become a leader in leadership development, similar to what Silicon Valley is to technology. A one-time engineer who led leadership development and training at the former Prince Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc., Price pivoted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He condensed a flagship year-long program down to four months, and then a four-week course focusing on immediate challenges. He also now offers free “acute” coaching for leading in crisis. Price spoke with MiBiz about leadership, particularly in a time of crisis.

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County have teamed up for a new aid fund for small businesses directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPARTA — The planned $21.9 million merger of Community Shores Bank Corp. into ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. heads to a close after earning shareholder approval.

Perrigo Co. plc plans to enter the CBD market through a strategic investment and a long-term agreement with a Colorado supplier.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to form a $25 million relief fund for small businesses.

The Lansing trade association for hospitals across Michigan urges vehicle owners to opt for the highest level of medical coverage under a revised no-fault auto insurance law that takes effect July 1.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health, the largest care provider in Western Michigan, has committed at least $100 million over the next decade to address racial and ethnic disparities and improve equity in health care.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has awarded $4.3 million in low-interest relief loans to 74 small businesses statewide affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — Forest View Hospital named a long-time behavioral health care executive as its new CEO.

Changes by the Federal Reserve Board should draw greater interest to the new $600 billion Main Street Lending Program for small and mid-sized businesses hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes to a federal loan program that has helped small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic could generate a “huge uptick” in loan demand that has waned in the last few weeks, according to U.S. Small Business Administration officials.

Comerica Inc. economists now expect a stronger rebound than previously forecast for the U.S. economy in the latter half of 2020.

KALAMAZOO — The founding dean at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo plans to retire early next year.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care physicians and specialists at Metro Health-University of Michigan Health typically saw about 2,250 patients each day.

The Federal Reserve Bank’s $600 billion Main Street Lending Program promises to offer small and mid-sized businesses hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic with another option to access credit and operating capital. 

Bankers across the region have been focused on working with small business clients to secure loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, as well providing payment deferrals and adjusting loans for business borrowers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tetra Therapeutics Inc.’s sale to a Japanese pharmaceutical company provides a final pathway toward bringing to market potential new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and a form of autism, as well as generates a handsome return for financial backers.

The FDIC intends to keep providing regulatory flexibility to banks as they navigate the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal regulatory agency wants banks to remain agile and do what they can to support consumers and small business owners during the crisis, according to FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams. McWilliams, who began a six-year term on the FDIC Board of Directors in June 2018, previously served as executive vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Changes approved by Congress to the federal Paycheck Protection Program would give millions of small businesses more time to use the money and adjust how much of the loan needs to go to payroll expenses to earn forgiveness.