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Recent data from the International Trade Administration (ITA) shows that Michigan has set a record in merchandise exports. In the first half of 2013, exports from the state grew by three percent. This represents $29.1 billion. In the same time period of 2012, the state did $28.4 billion in exports.

On Sept. 18 and 19, West Michigan economic development group The Right Place and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) will host the second annual “Proud To Manufacture In Michigan” at the Hagerty Conference Center in Traverse City.

Grand Rapids-based law firm Plachta, Murphy & Associates today announced the firm is accepting applications for its second annual Veterans Scholarship Program for those former service men and women in Michigan pursuing four-year degrees. 

A long delayed project in Heritage Hill is about to break ground, as 616 Development moves to transform the Bethlehem Church in Grand Rapids Heritage HIll neighborhood.  

Farmington Hills-based private equity firm Beringea LLC announced today that it has invested $3 million in Freeosk Inc., a marketing services company with operations in St. Joseph, Mich. and Chicago.

GRAND RAPIDS — One of West Michigan's largest dealership groups plans to bring the evocative sounds of rampaging Italian horsepower to customers on this side of the state.

Advanced battery manufacturer LG Chem has started production of lithium-ion batteries at its more than $300 million facility in Holland; Portage-based law firm Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins, & Borsos PC has opened a new office at 800 Port Street in downtown St. Joseph. 

Rockford Ventures, a division of Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction, is set to announce the formation of new company, Urbaneer. The focus for the new outlet is innovative technologies in the multi-family building market. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Two marketing and branding firms have decided its time to set aside their need to compete with the belief that together they can do more good.

Independent Bank Corp. plans to repay by this fall the money it received in 2009 under the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP; Kalamazoo Valley Community College is teaming up with Bronson Healthcare Group and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to develop a $42 million downtown campus.

Spartan Stores Inc. (NYSE: SPTN) reported earnings from continuing operations fell to $4.8 million, or $0.22 per share, for the first quarter ended June 22, 2013, compared to $6.1 million, or $0.28 per share, in last fiscal year's first quarter.

Grand Rapids-based Crystal Flash announced today that the company has acquired fuel transportation firm C. Barron & Sons Inc. of Monroe, Mich. Under the deal, Crystal Flash gains more than 2,000 new customers, 28 employees and four new locations. 

Allegan-based generic drug manufacturer Perrigo Co. (NYSE: PRGO) announced this morning that it agreed to acquire Irish pharmaceutical maker Elan Corp. PLC (NYSE: ELN) in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $8.6 billion.

Zeigler Automotive Group continues to solidify its position in the Chicago area with the acquisition of a coveted BMW dealership in the Windy City's southwest suburbs.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved state support for three projects, including a new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings, the expansion of Jackson National Life Insurance Company's corporate headquarters and the conversion of a vacant Southwest Michigan industrial site into a resort.  

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