GRAND RAPIDS — Handbag and luggage manufacturer Public Thread developed its business strategy around the idea that one company’s waste could be another’s raw material. 

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MUSKEGON — American Chemical Solutions plans to breathe new life into an idled chemical manufacturing plant on the lakeshore.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly every guest who spends the night at a hotel room in downtown Grand Rapids sleeps on the same mattress. 

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SOUTH HAVEN — HTS Direct LLC, the North American division of a family-owned hydraulic equipment supplier, has relocated its operations to South Haven from the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Velocity USA Inc., a Grand Rapids-based bicycle parts manufacturer, uses a small, passionate staff to produce incredibly durable and performance-oriented equipment for the world’s toughest riders. Matt Ruiter, general manager of Velocity, has been working for the company since he started “just packing boxes” in the warehouse 14 years ago.

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Barriers to entry for advanced manufacturing continue to come down as automation becomes a more viable option — even for job shops — through what’s becoming known as modular manufacturing. Vickers Engineering Inc., a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier based in New Troy, Mich., has become a breakthrough story in the automation industry, growing from approximately $10 million in revenue in 2010 to a projected $60 million in 2019.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Craft beer enthusiasts are a spirited bunch who want to discover and follow breweries and brands. This has created an environment of constant sampling at the hundreds of tasting rooms and beer festivals across the country — and a big haul for brewers who are regularly on the road.

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Late last year, in a steel and concrete building adjacent to the railroad tracks in Zeeland, a handful of enthusiastic engineers foraged their office for anything that might have interesting data hidden inside. The computed tomography (CT or CAT) technology they were using for the first time has been commonplace for decades in hospitals around the globe, where it is applied to produce cross-sectional images of the body, but it’s also something the manufacturing industry has been “begging for,” Jeff Mass, founder and CEO of Diverse Dimensions Inc., told MiBiz.

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WALKER — Entrepreneur Steve Ehmann has experience riding the wave of business on the way up and knows what it’s like when that same wave comes crashing down. Right out of college, Ehmann started a windsurfing school and then a chain of surfing apparel retail stores along the coast of West Michigan. When the recession of the early 1990s hit, the retail industry “got too rough,” according to Ehmann, who closed the stores in 1992.

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HUDSONVILLE — SoundOff Signal, a global supplier of LED vehicle lighting, control systems, and electronic warning products, prides itself on a quarter century of “smart design” and hometown service. The Hudsonville-based company started in 1992 with a single innovative solution to a uniquely dangerous problem. At the time, research indicated that motorcyclists were inadvertently leaving their turn signals on after completing a turn, resulting in motorist confusion and leading to serious accidents. SoundOff Signal designed a device that initiated a beeping sound once the turn signal was activated, reminding the cyclist to turn the signal off once a turn was complete.

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