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Sometimes in business a small ultimatum can make a world of difference.

Sentiment among automotive suppliers improved during the first part of 2017 as executives regained some degree of certainty following the results of the presidential election.

As automation technology continues to advance, lawmakers and industry insiders are working to determine what role a new wave of robotic workers could play in the future social tax structure.

The notion that a worker shortage is fueling the adoption of automation equipment discounts the role technology can play in helping companies compete. 

Mark Williams worked at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans for about 20 years as an employee of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He was laid off in 2013 when the state privatized the facility and turned to contracted workers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Betsy DeVos’ new role as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump will require her to step away from some of her vast business interests to comply with federal ethics laws.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan credits closer ties with doctors and hospitals to drive efficiency and quality improvements with leading to lower rates for small businesses.

Despite the rapid expansion of Michigan farmland dedicated to growing hops and grains for the state’s craft beverage sector, experts say the industry has more room to grow. A new Michigan State University Product Center study examines the potential economic impact for Michigan craft breweries to produce beer exclusively with in-state ingredients.

Dennis Eidson will retire as CEO on May 23 after more than 14 years with Byron Center-based SpartanNash Co.

When corporations give to nonprofits, it can show up in many ways, whether on food pantry shelves or in employee-driven projects that improve lives in their communities. But the decisions that go into determining the nonprofits and causes these businesses support often involves a high-level thought process that is increasingly seeking out long-term solutions where companies can drive successful outcomes.

Clark Brothers Construction Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan made $122 million in 2016 across all of its businesses, although the state’s largest health insurer again lost money on health insurance policies.

A project to build a 24-unit multifamily development in Hart has secured nearly $3.7 million in loans from the board of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The parent company of MC Sports says it plans to wind down operations at its corporate headquarters and distribution center starting the end of March.

The state’s economic development body today voted to approve incentives for two mixed-use development projects around downtown Grand Rapids.

Metro Health Village has become a focal point for hospitality projects this week.

The development arm of Grand Rapids-based general contracting firm Orion Construction Co. Inc. plans to build a new hotel in the southwest corner of Kent County.

Post Community Credit Union in Battle Creek plans to merge into Berrien Springs-based Honor Credit Union.

Perrigo Co. plc’s drive to improve operations and earnings includes the elimination of 750 non-manufacturing positions globally.

A long-planned hotel north of downtown Grand Rapids will begin construction tomorrow.

Operations at Family Christian Stores will wind down over the next month, according to a state filing from the company.

Mercantile Bank Corp. plans to open a commercial loan office in Troy that will eventually grow to a full-service branch.

Grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co. plans to unveil a new e-commerce service that will allow customers to order products online and pick them up at a store.

GRAND RAPIDS — The announcement yesterday that Family Christian Stores plans to close all 240 of its stores in 36 states sent shockwaves through an already struggling industry.

Nearly two years after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Family Christian Stores said today that it planned to cease all operations.

Strong performance in its fleet vehicle business lifted sales for Spartan Motors Inc. throughout 2016.

Demand for lumber throughout the retail, construction and industrial markets drove strong sales for Universal Forest Products Inc. last year.

Bank of America plans to lease 40,000 square feet of space at 250 Monroe NW in Grand Rapids as the bank looks to grow its market presence in the region.

An investment by a Chicago private equity firm provides Grand Rapids Ophthalmology the capital to expand its footprint across Michigan and potentially into neighboring states.

Vander Mill LLC and Long Road Distillers LLC have struck a partnership to further capitalize on the growing market for craft spirits.

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum of St. Joseph has completed its merger into Grand Rapids-based West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. closed its fourth quarter with revenues modestly higher than expected by Wall Street analysts, while reporting full year fiscal results in-line with its previous guidance.

American Grease Stick Co. of Muskegon was acquired last year by 3 Rivers Capital, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based private equity firm.

Citing financial constraints, heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer Spartan Motors Inc. has ceased its development of the next-generation delivery vehicle for the United States Postal Service.

Plumb Inc., a Muskegon-based grocery chain, has ceased all operations, according to a letter sent to MiBiz.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 20, 2017. 

• M&A: AMI Entertainment Network LLC in Grand Rapids has acquired NSM Music Group Ltd., a Leeds, U.K.-based manufacturer of jukeboxes. The deal for NSM Music marks the first overseas expansion for AMI, a provider of digital jukeboxes and other products for the nightclub and bar industry, according to a statement. Founded in 1951 in Germany, NSM will maintain its independent branding and headquarters. General Manager Martin Agabeg will report to AMI President Mike Maas. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Going forward, AMI plans to invest in NSM and enhance the company’s products and service, according to a statement.

GRAND RAPIDS — Care providers seeing patients through telemedicine visits need to develop what Barry Brown call a “web-side manner.”

GRAND RAPIDS — Citing concerns over widespread inequality, economic development stakeholders want to improve their outreach to the growing Latino population in the greater Grand Rapids area.

BENTON HARBOR — Lake Michigan College’s new president starts next month with an initial goal to become well connected with the local business community.

Citing increasing public awareness resulting from high-profile incidents, Grand Valley State University plans to place greater emphasis on cybersecurity training.

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University will launch a new product design institute to create a hub of designers in Southwest Michigan and supply local companies with talent.

As President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries continues to play out in the courts, university administrators and international students in West Michigan say they’re keeping vigilant.

A new dashboard unveiled today by a coalition of West Michigan economic developers and other organizations aims to increase accessibility to key data about the region.

Spectrum Health stands to regain more than $747,000 it paid in property taxes after successfully earning tax-exempt status on a medical center in Grand Rapids Charter Township.

Federal regulators this month rejected a plan by the multi-state electric grid operator to redesign the capacity auction process for parts of Michigan and Illinois, a move that would have affected electric choice customers and providers.

When it comes to economic development efforts in Michigan, practitioners and policymakers say it’s important to legislate the tools to attract and retain companies, not individual projects.

GRAND RAPIDS — Two acquisitions to start 2017 give Lake Michigan Insurance Agency a wider presence across the state to drive growth and pursue further deals in an era of industry consolidation.

More than a decade into the “Envision Ada” planning process, stakeholders can now see construction activity on new mixed-use buildings they hope will attract new retailers, restaurants and residents to the village.