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When urban farming entered the mainstream thinking of community and economic developers, many prospective farmers envisioned a quick payday selling their products to high-end restaurants and other retailers. 

After leaving their positions at Blackford Capital earlier this year, Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny have launched their own private equity firm with a goal to fill a gap in the market.

With increasing demand for fresh, specialty groceries, Walker-based Meijer Inc. has started to look outside the big box retail format it’s known for, even if the retailer doesn’t like to admit it. 

After a decade of working with Habitat For Humanity in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, Bill Wood hopes to put his sustainable development expertise to use in Grand Rapids’ booming construction market. As the new executive director of the nearly 50-year-old West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Wood says he sees numerous opportunities to reduce waste from demolition and construction while also gearing policy toward being revenue-neutral or revenue-positive for the area’s business community. In an interview conducted on the green roof of WMEAC’s office in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Wood spoke to MiBiz about how he hopes to tackle environmental policy issues. 

KALAMAZOO — As nonprofits struggle to navigate changes in overtime regulations, they may be forced to slow the expansion of new programs and services and put a hold on staff increases.

trio of initiatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. aims to increase the flow of capital to startups and early-stage companies in the state.

The medical campus under construction west of Rockford in northern Kent County follows a move by Spectrum Health to concentrate care across its footprint into one-stop locations. 

The addition of Spectrum Health gives a statewide coalition of health systems a large West Michigan presence and heightens the potential for it to offer employers a new option for benefits.

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has landed on the short list for a potentially large government contract to make the next generation of delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. 

HOLLAND — As robotic technology continues to improve, manufacturers of automation equipment are finding their customers demand larger, more complex systems.

GRAND RAPIDS — Facing a dearth of high-amenity space in the downtown Grand Rapids market, commercial real estate stakeholders hope developers can soon begin to add Class A office inventory.

After 25 years with other institutions, Tom Lyons is returning to Michigan State University, where he first began his tenured career, to lead the Michigan State University Product Center. The Product Center provides coaching and mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the food processing and agribusiness sectors. Fresh into his new role, Lyons spoke with MiBiz about his long-term plans for the organization, which includes greater integration of services for entrepreneurs and expanding the capability of MSU Extension’s innovation counselors. 

MiBiz Growth Report: Oct. 17, 2016

Written by | Sunday, 16 October 2016 19:27 |

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 17, 2016: 
• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Ranir LLC, a manufacturer of a variety of oral care products, has acquired Toronto-based BrushPoint, a maker of toothbrushes. In the deal, for which terms were not disclosed, Ranir will increase its product offerings and distribution footprint in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The BrushPoint acquisition comes on the heels of a deal in July of this year in which Ranir purchased the Rembrandt teeth-whitening brand from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Last month, the company also said it had purchased the 200,000-square-foot facility at 4701 East Paris Ave. SE where it had been a tenant for 20 years.

While considering buying an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S electric vehicle in 2014, Jim MacInnes had to drive roughly four hours to Windsor, Ontario to give it a test drive.

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