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Unseasonably rainy weather coupled with near record-high Great Lakes water levels have left many West Michigan business owners hoping the region will dry out in time to salvage the season for visitors and tourists.

If a remedy ever comes, The Employers’ Association still wants to offer members an option for employee health coverage.

GRAND RAPIDS — The opportunity to lease brand new office space in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids offered Van Wyk Risk Solutions the chance to grow into a new location. 

Michigan’s largest utilities are giving a substantial boost to an economic development program launched by former Gov. Rick Snyder, committing to spend billions of additional dollars with in-state suppliers over the next five years.

“Please see attached.” That’s the email employees at Grand Rapids-based Kindel Furniture Co. Inc. received from a company vice president in late April. Within a few minutes, two people had tried to open the included attachment and replied back to the apparent sender that they were having trouble.

GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly every guest who spends the night at a hotel room in downtown Grand Rapids sleeps on the same mattress. 

KALAMAZOO — The last time Bronson Methodist Hospital hired a new CEO, the organization operated a single hospital with an assortment of outpatient clinics in the Kalamazoo area.

WYOMING — A 92-acre shovel-ready industrial property sits empty about five miles south of downtown Grand Rapids, even amid a shortage of available manufacturing spaces across West Michigan.

After two decades with the city of Grand Rapids, most recently as managing director of design, development and community engagement, Suzanne Schulz plans to leave the public sector for an urban planning practice leader position at Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE Inc. Schulz will work her last day at the city on Sept. 6.  In her current role, Schulz is in a powerful position to oversee development projects throughout the city, especially after a period of strong growth in the years after the Great Recession. Schulz spoke with MiBiz about how changes in land development practices have affected the city, and what she is most looking forward to in the private sector.

Officials studying commuter transit options between Grand Rapids and Holland are hoping to make West Michigan more competitive when it comes to talent attraction.

While flooding and erosion are wreaking havoc for waterfront businesses and property owners, the changes are creating business opportunities for local marine construction and dock companies, who say they’ve been busy with scheduled projects and inundated with calls in recent weeks.

Time has run out for about 10 percent of crops in the state, as Michigan farmers face delays related to one of the wettest spring seasons on record. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Securing a top rating for financial stability could boost business for a West Michigan company that underwrites product liability insurance coverage for the cannabis industry.

Commercial bankers say clients’ demand for credit remains strong, although borrowers in West Michigan are carefully watching what’s ahead for the economy.

After issuing a steady string of interest rate increases over the last three years, the Federal Reserve could start lowering rates again in the coming months in a move to keep the economy growing, making borrowing a little cheaper for businesses.

Initially seeded with state money seven years ago to provide financing to growing Michigan-based businesses, Grow Michigan LLC expects to begin seeking investors for a second fund totaling nearly $60 million.

GRAND RAPIDS — Bethany Christian Services Inc. faces a difficult challenge in trying to ensure that unaccompanied migrant children who cross the border into the United States avoid any long-term effects from the detention process.

Trudy Ender joined Susan G. Komen Michigan on July 1 as its executive director. In her new role, she leads the local affiliate of the Dallas, Texas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, which works to support research, as well as cancer screenings, diagnostics, education, outreach, and support services for patients and survivors. Susan G. Komen Michigan served more than 85,000 people last year in 24 counties across the state. Ender, who previously served as executive director of the Humane Society of West Michigan after working for years in the public sector, spoke with MiBiz about her vision for the statewide nonprofit. 

Here is the growth report for July 8, 2019:

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University has the green light to begin selling parcels in the second phase of its Business Technology and Research Park.

WYOMING — A Grand Rapids-area manufacturer of planters will be relocating to Nebraska after a sale to Headwind Consumer Products. 

ALLEGAN — Perrigo Co. plc today closed on the $750 million cash acquisition of Grand Rapids-based Ranir Global Holdings LLC.

GRAND RAPIDS — Office furniture dealer and custom manufacturer Custer Inc. has opened a pair of new showroom spaces in West Michigan.

GRANDVILLE — West Michigan Dermatology has acquired The Dermatology Center of Grand Rapids PC.

HOLLAND — A West Michigan recycler has acquired Howell-based Regal Recycling Inc. 

A new sentiment survey finds business owners still feel good about present conditions, despite outlooks for slower economic growth and ongoing worries about talent and health care costs.

GRAND RAPIDS — Priority Health is considering its next moves for two properties adjacent to its corporate headquarters at Leonard Street and East Beltline Avenue.

GRAND RAPIDS — Two senior officials are planning to leave the city’s planning and development departments for new opportunities, MiBiz has learned.

PORTAGE — Auto insurer State Farm plans to eliminate 247 jobs in Kalamazoo County with the planned closing of an operations center by Aug. 31.

BATTLE CREEK -- Battle Creek Unlimited Inc. (BCU) has been awarded $2 million by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish and administer funds to make improvements to downtown Battle Creek. 

MUSKEGON — The city of Muskegon has purchased the former West Shoreline Correctional Facility, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority announced today.

MUSKEGON — A large new housing development in Muskegon has gained support from the city government.

GRAND RAPIDS — A subsidiary of one of the largest Japanese trading companies has expanded its footprint into the eastern United States with the strategic acquisition of Magic Steel Sales LLC. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tribally-owned Gun Lake Investments is making an active push into the West Michigan commercial real estate market with an investment in a high-profile redevelopment and three property acquisitions so far this year, MiBiz has learned. 

Despite slowing national economic growth, U.S. demand for office space continues to rise above forecasts. 

SHELBY — When Grand Haven-based JSJ Corp. decided last year to get out of the contract furniture business, Silver Street Inc. saw an opportunity to bolster its product offerings.

Outdoor workspaces could be a solution to rising real estate costs and the next frontier of wellness in the workplace, experts say.

GRAND RAPIDS — The tight labor market that many CEOs across the nation worry about these days cut into Steelcase Inc.’s quarterly sales growth.

GRAND RAPIDS — Moving into a larger ground-floor space in the prominent Harris Building on South Division Avenue gave a boost to business at Little Space Studio LLC.

GRAND RAPIDS — Citing high occupancy in the city’s parking facilities and a long waitlist for monthly parking passes, Grand Rapids is considering plans to build two new parking decks to expand options for downtown workers.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority has hired a consultant to lead the process of weighing concepts for developing a full-service hotel to serve the downtown convention center. 

The idea sounds simple: Create a $150 million to $200 million fund supported by foundations and university endowments to back venture capital investors in the Great Lakes states.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this month reversed a policy from the Snyder administration that blocked commercial solar energy projects on property enrolled in the state’s farmland preservation program.

MUSKEGON — City leaders continue to explore ways to move Muskegon’s retail sector forward by enhancing business districts outside of the downtown core.

MUSKGEON — Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. LLC plans to keep the beer flowing at its Western Avenue taproom for now, while fine-tuning brewing operations in its new facility.

When tobacco companies settled claims with dozens of states in the late 1990s over the use of deceptive marketing tactics, trial lawyers took home billions of dollars in what remains a contentious example of lawyers’ fees for representing the government.

MUSKEGON — Jim Edmonson’s return to a position he first held 15 years ago provides momentum for Muskegon Area First, whose directors are planning for the future after restructuring the economic development organization into a private-sector-led model.

GRAND RAPIDS — Start Garden Inc. says it’s gaining traction on an effort launched two years ago that put more emphasis on diversity.