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GRAND RAPIDS — Mercantile Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings in 2021 with loan growth that President and CEO Robert Kaminski Jr. called “nothing short of stellar.”

WYOMING — Industrial recycling and scrap management company PADNOS plans to invest $6.6 million to expand its facility in Wyoming.

Legislation signed into law late last year by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer aims to speed up the process for building certain electric transmission lines in Michigan, which a major operator says is crucial in helping to facilitate the clean energy transition.

ALLENDALE — Grand Valley State University has expanded its tuition-free program to all qualifying students in Michigan, reaching beyond the original six counties announced in early 2021. 

West Michigan hospitals are delaying care, shifting staff and repurposing spaces — among other measures — in response to the latest COVID-19 surge that’s pushing systems and workers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Digital and I.T. consultant OST has expanded its Cloud service capabilities through a recent acquisition.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for January 17, 2022.

WAYLAND — Warehousing, transportation and third-party logistics company Classic Transportation and Warehousing plans to invest $8.4 million in a new facility.

The new year ushered in a new era for Bell’s Brewery Inc. as the iconic Kalamazoo-based craft brewer closed on its sale to Australian brewing conglomerate Lion Little World Beverages on Dec. 31. The deal partners Bell’s with New Belgium Brewing Co., which is also owned by Lion, while Bell’s founder Larry Bell walks away from the company. MiBiz spoke with Carrie Yunker, who oversees day-to-day operations at Bell’s as executive vice president, about the brewery’s future. 

Steelcase Foundation President Daniel Williams is one of 19 people in the country selected for a fellowship to help address intergenerational poverty.

Forming a new foundation creates greater structure for Mercantile Bank of Michigan’s corporate philanthropy.

The $20 million in capital that West Shore Bank Corp. raised toward the end of 2021 will go to support further commercial loan growth.

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller family-owned businesses are generally better positioned to overcome labor and supply chain challenges than non-family-owned companies. 

West Michigan housing groups are still experiencing a steady flow of people who have been affected financially by the pandemic and are seeking rental relief through the state’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program.

Before forming the West Michigan chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW), its founding members realized that most of their business leads came from networking with other women. 

John Mulder recently noticed that an inordinate amount of his staff’s time was being used to field calls from clients inquiring about the status of their orders.

Custom software firms are seeing increased demand for services as the COVID-19 pandemic prompts businesses in virtually all industries to take a hard look at their digital transformation plans.

Grand Rapids Community College and workforce development organization West Michigan Works! have launched a program aiming to make big strides in preparing participants for the future of manufacturing.

Economic development organization Lakeshore Advantage Corp. launched an Industry 4.0 readiness poll last year to get an idea of how small and mid-size manufacturers viewed and used advanced technology within their operations.

If it’s money that matters most when people look for work or to relocate for a new job, then West Michigan may be at a disadvantage in competing for the coveted talent needed to drive economic growth.

The longstanding U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which has protected abortion access before fetal viability for 49 years, is set to be directly challenged this year. 

 Hospitals and their medical personnel who are already deeply strained from high patient volumes face an even tougher time in the weeks ahead as COVID-19 cases rise and hospitalizations reach new peaks.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids experienced an increase of 658 residential units in its housing stock last year, 289 of which were low-income housing spaces. 

Soft drink giant Monster Beverage Corp. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the parent company of Comstock Park-based craft brewery Perrin Brewing Co.

Business advocates hailed Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that halted President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for larger employers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health plans to spend $151 million to develop three new outpatient medical centers in downtown and rural markets north of Grand Rapids.

LAWTON — Global food manufacturer Welch Foods Inc. plans to invest $26.2 million and add up to 57 jobs for a new bottling line planned at its facility in Van Buren County, state officials announced today.

WYOMING — Vander Kodde Construction Co. was recently acquired by the third generation in the firm’s family ownership. 

Michigan is poised to see a “very sharp crest” in the coming weeks in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the delta and omicron virus variants sicken thousands more people in a post-holiday surge, according to state health officials.

LANSING — State economic development officials have approved criteria for corporations to meet when seeking assistance from a new $1 billion fund created last month to lure major projects to Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Advantage Commercial Real Estate Services LLC has moved to new offices in its second year as the firm looks to grow its staff and presence in the region.

GRAND RAPIDS — HealthBar LLC, a provider of health care services to businesses and consumers that include drive-thru clinics and telehealth, is collaborating with marketing agency Deksia LLC on a new shared headquarters.

Officials with Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery Inc. are exploring new efficiencies with New Belgium Brewing Co. after the two craft beer staples formally completed a merger on Dec. 31.

KALAMAZOO — Bell’s Brewery Inc. started 2022 under new ownership after its sale to Australian brewing conglomerate Lion Little World Beverages closed on Dec. 31.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer met virtually on Friday with a group of elected officials, educators, economic developers and business leaders to discuss the direction of her administration’s new Office of Rural Development.

HASTINGS — Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. President and CEO Joseph Babiak plans to retire on March 31.

KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp. plans to buy health care software company Vocera Communications Inc. for nearly $3 billion.

KALAMAZOO — SPARK Business Works in Kalamazoo has acquired Houston, Texas-based digital marketing agency Convergent1.

An oil and gas pipeline expert testifying in a permitting case involving Enbridge’s Line 5 says state energy staffers are downplaying the risk of a potentially catastrophic explosion within a proposed tunnel that would carry oil and propane beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

PORTAGE — Commercial real estate firm The Hinman Co. has made its second property acquisition in Portage in the past six months.

GRAND RAPIDS — Insurance and employee benefits agency Lighthouse Group has acquired Gales Agency from Shelby State Bank.

GRAND RAPIDS — Waséyabek Development Co. LLC is venturing into uncharted territories for tribal economic development firms following a new acquisition.

Andronaco Industries Inc., a designer, manufacturer and distributor of fluid handling and sealing products, announced that it has been bought by a New York City-based private equity firm.

Gun Lake Investments — the non-gaming economic development arm of the Match-E-Be-NashShe-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, or Gun Lake Tribe — has named Monica King as permanent CEO of the organization effective Jan. 1.

GRAND RAPIDS — Leaders of The Diatribe Inc. are planning a mixed-use building that would house the nonprofit’s offices as well as retail storefronts, apartment units and a performing arts venue.

In a year dominated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, West Michigan’s business community experienced a mix of highs and lows.

Here's the MiBiz growth report for January 3, 2022.

Jerry VanderLugt sees Wall Street with further volatility in 2022. The founder and principal of JVL Wealth Strategies LLC, which recently moved to a new office in Wyoming, VanderLugt spoke with MiBiz about the market in the new year, the prospect of rising interest rates and higher inflation, and where investors are looking to put their money these days.