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WALKER — Industrial technology and electrical services firm Feyen Zylstra LLC plans to invest $5.3 million in a new facility in Walker.

An associate of the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University will become the new president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s next month.

KALAMAZOO — Campus Advantage Inc., a student housing management company based in Austin, Texas, has taken over management of a property in Kalamazoo, near Western Michigan University.

LANSING — A partnership between the state and an economic development organization for the Lansing area is providing an incubator and investment for high-tech, innovative insurance startups.

GRAND RAPIDS — A development partnership wants to convert the massive former Display Pack Inc. building at 1340 Monroe Ave. NW into a 310-unit affordable housing project.

Members of one organization advocating for small businesses in Lansing left no doubt in their opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to raise the state gas tax 45 cents per gallon to generate $2.5 billion for fixing roads.

West Michigan’s economy plodded along to start 2019, growing slowly as it has been for a decade, according to economist Brian Long’s monthly survey of industrial purchasing managers. Key indexes for new orders and purchases in Long’s report for March eased from February and the index for production “retreated” but remained positive.

The second-generation family-owned MultiState Insurance Center Inc. agency has signed a definitive agreement to sell to a Texas-based independent life insurance and health insurance firm.

The Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments this summer on whether the state Legislature could amend laws on paid sick leave and minimum wage increases during the lame-duck session that were passed earlier in the legislative session.

Founders Brewing Co. has partnered with its Spanish investors to acquire a majority stake in a Colorado-based craft brewer.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has unveiled a new program it says will help communities attract businesses to available properties across the state.

GRAND RAPIDS — RDV Corp. is planning a transformation of a former Fifth Third Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids where it announced in December it would move its headquarters.

Battle Creek-based Kellogg Co. is selling off Keebler, Famous Amos and other snack brands in a move to reshape it product portfolio.

Michigan’s handling of past chemical contamination incidents offers perspective on what it’s going to take to clean up the state’s PFAS problems. Expect it to take decades, billions of dollars and some awkward dances of cooperation. Reporting on PFAS to date has focused mostly on environmental concerns and pointing blame at the companies and organizations that have discharged the emerging contaminant into water supplies. MiBiz's three-part series will go beyond the heated rhetoric to offer a dose of reality about how to handle the complex challenges stemming from the equally complex chemical.

GRAND RAPIDS — Developers for the new Studio Park entertainment district have resurrected plans to add an office building at the project, MiBiz has learned. Olsen Loeks Development LLC of Grand Rapids, in partnership with Studio C, says it will develop a new $30 million office development at 100 Ottawa SW in Grand Rapids.

A growing group of Michigan residents are working but not bringing home a paycheck big enough to cover their basic expenses, according to a new study by the Michigan Association of United Ways. The ALICE research project, which released new data last week, found that 14 percent of Michigan’s population lives below the federal poverty level. Another 29 percent are “asset-limited, income-constrained, employed” (ALICE), a measure of the so-called working poor who earn more than the federal poverty level but less than the cost of living.

When Nick Hrnyak looks out from his corporate office on Cascade Road, he can survey a property that is contaminated from decades of electroplating wastes, including nickel, chromium, copper, boron and now PFAS, the persistent and pervasive family of chemicals that is alarming the nation. In his immediate sight are an attractive office and golf course complex that includes a gymnastics center and church. Just down the road on the same contaminated site are neighborhoods with some of the most expensive homes in Kent County, three small lakes and Schoolhouse Creek, a tributary to the Thornapple River.

The city of Portage provides municipal water to 95 percent of its 48,500 residents. As such, City Manager Larry Shaffer said clean water is a fundamental aspect of keeping residents safe. Most of the up to 5 million gallons of water produced daily comes from groundwater.

After stories began to emerge in late 2017 that tannery wastes had contaminated the Rogue River, customers at nearby Rockford Brewing Co. started expressing concern about the safety of drinking the beer. Even though Rockford Brewing was connected to municipal water, which has tested non-detect for the PFAS family contaminants over four rounds of testing, the brewery still faced a possible PR crisis, said co-owner Seth Rivard.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.’s proposed $89 million merger with a similarly sized community bank in Lapeer began last summer when Kelly Potes struck up a conversation with his counterparts.

Craig Hecker had thought about his eventual departure from his family business for a decade or more. A few years before he sold, he began preparing. He spent time “making sure everything was up to date and in good shape,” and even paid off the company’s debt.

Some business exits go smoothly; others, not so much. The key for business owners approaching the time when they’re poised to move on is to plan early and often, and to thoroughly think through their approach to the process.

Life happens. So does death. Professional advisers say business owners need to prepare for what happens to their companies in the event they’re taken out of commission by a sudden life-changing event — such as an illness or injury that leaves them incapacitated or debilitated, or worse. Even if an owner experiences a personal crisis that takes him away from the business for an extended period, it can have crushing effects on the company, especially without prior planning, advisers say.

Jennifer Orme applied to be the human resources director for the city of Holland after hearing about the job on Facebook. The city’s next request took her by surprise: They asked her to send in a hard copy of her resume.

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.

Succession planning can be an emotionally-charged family affair for businesses in any industry. That’s especially true for all sizes of family-owned farms, which make up more than 97 percent of the industry nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

KALAMAZOO — The $60 million downtown Kalamazoo cancer pavilion is one of a number of capital projects for Bronson Healthcare that are driven partly by the shift toward delivering care at outpatient settings. Along with the cancer facility across from the Medical Office Pavilion on the South Campus in downtown, Bronson plans to develop a new $22 million hospital in South Haven and invest in a $3.8 million project to renovate inpatient rooms at LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey had a message for reporters when asked to respond to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal earlier this year to form a dedicated climate change office. “I just find it fascinating that we can sit here in Michigan in the chamber of the House and think that we can control the climate,” he said.

GRAND RAPIDS — City planners hope a road diet along the Michigan Street corridor will move traffic more efficiently and help reduce crashes The road diet, planned for this spring, will extend from College Avenue to Eastern Avenue on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Modifications include changing the striping configuration to create one travel lane in either direction and a center left-turn lane, plus a parking lane on the south side of the road.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for March 31, 2019.

Graci Harkema wants to break the craft beer industry’s bearded white male stereotype. In January, she became diversity and inclusion director at Founders Brewing Co., where she’s working to give employees opportunities to “be their authentic selves and achieve their goals.” Her hire followed a pair of controversies at Founders.

GRAND RAPIDS — Fountain Street Church is less than one month away from finalizing the creation of a separate nonprofit organization that will enable it to increase the efficiency of its space and its long-term sustainability. Executive Director Jack Woller said the non-denominational Fountain Street Church would retain ownership of the building it has occupied for 150 years, but will make a more formalized effort to sublease space or make in-kind donations of space to organizations that have a relationship with the church for continuing education or personal growth opportunities.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and three other Michigan business groups backed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to increase the number of state residents with a college degree and create a scholarship fund to help students go to school after high school.

Hundreds of small businesses in Michigan that use an association health plan for health benefits shouldn't worry yet about a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a 2017 executive order by President Trump. Rob Fowler, president of TranscendAHP, expects that the U.S. Department of Labor will appeal Thursday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia.

GRAND RAPIDS — New ownership plans to turn Local 741 into a neighborhood bar after acquiring the site from a partnership involving an affiliate of Third Coast Development LLC. James Matthews, owner of Iron Well LLC, purchased 741 Leonard St. NW and Local 741 from Third Coast on March 20. Terms of the deal, which included Class C liquor and specialty designated merchant licenses, and the property transaction were not disclosed.

The Kent County Road Commission has voted to deny a more than $5 million bid for its Central Complex property along the Grand River

Sparta-based ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. plans to merge with Lapeer-based County Bank Corp. in a deal that would create a bank with a combined $1.28 billion in assets.

State laws raising the minimum wage and setting new requirements on employers for paid sick leave go into effect toward at the end of this week, unless Michigan’s attorney general or highest court say otherwise. Laws that legislators first enacted following petition drives and subsequently amended in the lame-duck session at the end of 2018 are the subject of requests to both state Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Supreme Court. At issue is whether the legislature has the ability under the state Constitution to amend laws in the same legislative session in which they were originated through citizen petition.

GRANDVILLE — Mall owner Brookfield Property Partners LP has purchased the former Younkers store at RiverTown Crossings in Grandville. The purchase came as part of A&G Realty Partners’ auction of 10 department store properties formerly owned by Milwaukee-based The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018. The Younkers location at The Lakes Mall in Fruitport Charter Township near Muskegon was also included in the auction.

GRAND RAPIDS — To help curb fears of gentrification, a local nonprofit and an Ohio-based developer have partnered on an affordable housing development on the city’s southeast side. Ohio-based MVAH Development LLC, a development, construction and property management firm, is working with LINC UP on the proposed Eastern Lofts at 623 Eastern Ave. SE. The two hope to secure Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) in the April funding round.

For nearly 90 years, workers in the rural community of Evart processed dairy products out of the Dean’s Dairy building. After shutting its doors and ending an era in 2013, the vacant building now has new owners who plan to repurpose it for automotive component manufacturing.

E.W. Scripps Co. plans to acquire eight television stations, including Grand Rapids-based WXMI, in the most recent arrangement to come from the mega-merger of a pair the nation’s largest media giants.

Taylor Tooling Group LLC, a Walker-based CNC machining company and tool and die maker, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers LLC hopes to open a new satellite tasting room on the lakeshore.

A vacant church in Grand Rapids’ Heritage Hill neighborhood could be transformed into affordable housing by next year.

Ninety applicants must now await a lottery drawing to see when the city of Grand Rapids will consider their plans for medical marijuana-based businesses.

Spectrum Health-owned hospitals in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Zeeland and St. Joseph are among seven in Michigan ranked in an annual list of the 100 Top Hospitals in the U.S.

When Chico, Calif.-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. put out the “bat signal” seeking help to support victims of last year’s catastrophic Camp Fire in northern California, the Michigan craft brewing industry set into motion. Their rallying point: Resilience Butte County Proud IPA. Sierra Nevada created the beer as a fundraiser, pledging to donate 100 percent of its profits from the sale of the product to the Camp Fire Relief Fund. The 10th-largest U.S. brewery then shared the recipe online and encouraged breweries all over the country to participate.