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Nick Manes

Nick Manes

Staff writer

[email protected]

Manufacturers in Southwestern Michigan have had access to powerful workforce development tools for years. The problem: Not many of the companies were familiar with the services the state made available to them.

The announcement in June that German-owned automotive supplier Benteler Automotive planned to close a Grand Rapids facility next year as part of a global repositioning strategy raised a red flag among some local political and business leaders.

West Michigan’s only natural, deep-water port has the capacity to handle increased freight traffic.

When Mike Barnaart wanted to start the Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro in Hastings in 2005, he had some trouble getting the necessary funding. Many banks were hesitant to lend to hospitality ventures. Eventually, he found some relief through a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Earlier this month, Barnaart hosted the SBA, economic development professionals and myriad local business owners for a roundtable discussion about ways to utilize the services of the SBA. Barnaart sat down with MiBiz to talk about his own experience with the SBA and the success his business has enjoyed.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 15:10

Hastings Manufacturing acquired by PE firm

One of West Michigan's oldest automotive suppliers has been acquired by an East Coast private equity firm.

Ask people to describe the taste of a Honeycrisp apple grown on West Michigan’s Fruit Ridge and you’re likely to get responses talking about the crisp fruit’s sweet-tart rush of juices.

Last month, Cascade Engineering promoted Christina Keller, daughter of company chairman and CEO Fred Keller, to president of the CK Technologies (CKT) division headquartered in Montpelier, Ohio.

After developing a strong regional reputation for the quality of its products, one West Michigan manufacturer is looking to expand its market and open new doors for growth.

Amid rising logistics costs, a group of West Michigan executives is banding together to see what results they can produce by tackling the issue collectively.

West Michigan tool and die shops such as Walker Tool & Die seem poised for growth thanks to opportunities with the frenetic automotive product cycle, aggressive industry diversification strategies and a matured view of competing regions. That reversal of fortunes has the industry struggling to keep up, rather than struggling to stay viable.

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