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Farm woes, breweries top most read-stories on MiBiz.com in first half of 2018 COURTESY PHOTO

Farm woes, breweries top most read-stories on MiBiz.com in first half of 2018

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, July 01, 2018 12:00pm

Readers of MiBiz.com gravitated to stories about an troubled farm operator, as well as reports on West Michigan’s burgeoning craft beer scene in the first six months of 2018.

Stories about the travails of Zeeland-based Boersen Farms took two spots in the top 10 most-read articles on MiBiz.com through the end of June. Three stories about expansions and executive changes in the craft beer industry made it onto the list, as did pieces on local real estate developments, changes to manufacturing operations and a new type of tech firm.

Here’s a look at the most-read stories through June 30 on MiBiz.com:

1. Default entered against Boersen Farms in Monsanto case; company faces a new lawsuit

A embattled West Michigan farm operator failed to answer a federal lawsuit filed against it in Missouri and faces new allegations that it failed to pay its bills. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri entered a clerk’s default against defendant Boersen Farms Inc. of Zeeland after the farm operator failed to respond in a timely manner or plead in a lawsuit filed by agricultural giant Monsanto Co. READ MORE

2. Partners propose new microbrewery near Rockford

Three Michigan natives plan to open a new microbrewery in the Rockford area. A company currently doing business as Third Nature Brewing Co. plans to build a 6,400-square-foot brewery and 120-seat restaurant at 7733 Childsdale Ave. NE, located southwest of Rockford near the Rogue River, according to documents filed with Plainfield Charter Township. According to partner Chad Zitzelsberger, early “work-in-progress” plans for the taproom concept focus on the brewery’s natural setting and play up the local outdoor lifestyle. READ MORE

3. JSJ Corp. to close office furniture manufacturer izzy+

JSJ Corp. plans to wind down office furniture maker izzy+ after 17 years of operation. The manufacturing holding company said today that it would discontinue production of izzy+ branded products and refocus its resources on other manufacturing segments in its portfolio, including automotive, medical and equipment. READ MORE

4. Sources: Amazon in talks for distribution center in Kent County

Developers representing an online retail behemoth are considering a 100-acre site in southern Kent County for a “massive” distribution facility, MiBiz has learned. Applicant Project Rapids — who multiple sources familiar with the plans say is a developer representing Amazon.com Inc. — is requesting an amendment from Gaines Township that would allow it to build a sprawling warehouse and distribution center on undeveloped land currently owned by Steelcase Inc. READ MORE

5. Mitten Brewing to expand with third location

A popular west side brewery and restaurant has set its sights on the lakeshore for its third brewpub, MiBiz has learned. The Mitten Brewing Co. LLC has leased a building at 329 Water Street in Saugatuck and plans to open a taproom and restaurant at the site by June 1, according to owners Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler. READ MORE

6. Once nearly vacant and abandoned, downtown Muskegon finds new life

A dozen years ago, after the demolition of the former Muskegon Mall, an eight-block area in the heart of downtown sat vacant, filled with sand, shells of vacant buildings and few people. But community leaders behind the Imagine Muskegon campaign, led by the Downtown Muskegon Development Corp. (DMDC), had a plan and a vision for the site, starting with the rebuilding of Western Avenue in 2006. Then the recession hit. READ MORE

7. Sources: GFS plans grocery store on Michigan Street east of downtown Grand Rapids

Gordon Food Service Inc. plans to open a retail store along the burgeoning Michigan Street corridor, MiBiz has learned. The Wyoming, Mich.-based foodservice distributor and retailer has signed a lease to open the store in the Diamond Place development along Michigan Street between Fuller and Diamond Avenues, east of downtown Grand Rapids, according to multiple sources familiar with the plans. READ MORE

8. Laura Bell stepping down as CEO of Bell’s Brewery

Laura Bell will step down as CEO of Bell’s Brewery Inc. on May 18. The top executive of the Southwest Michigan-based brewery, the seventh largest in the nation, informed distributors of her decision in a letter on Thursday night, according to a report in Craft Brew News. READ MORE

9. Federal court orders Boersen Farms to pay $19.5 million for equipment leases, contempt

A federal judge ordered Boersen Farms Inc. to pay more than $19.5 million to a Cottonwood Heights, Utah-based firm it leased equipment from over a two-year period. In an October judgment entered into court files last week, the U.S. District Court in Utah ruled in favor of equipment leasing firm TFG-Michigan LP, which does business as Tetra Financial Group, in a case against Zeeland-based Boersen Farms, related entities and its owners for breach of contract. READ MORE

10. West Michigan startup scales up blockchain mining operation

Tucked away in a nondescript warehouse in a Grand Rapids suburb, hundreds of custom-built computer servers are at work 24 hours per day, seven days per week. As the rigs race to process complex algorithms, they generate ample amounts of heat, requiring considerable ventilation and cooling for the facility, where the constant din of massive fans limits the opportunity for conversation. READ MORE

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