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Despite a range of threats and challenges, including very low vacancy rates market-wide, West Michigan’s traditional shopping corridors continue to thrive. 

The retail industry finds itself at a crossroads of many diverging influences. 

MUSKEGON — Building on the success of the Western Market chalets and other developments, Muskegon officials continue to look for ways to expand retail offerings, support budding entrepreneurs and attract shoppers.

BATTLE CREEK — Targeted incentives are paving the way for renewed vibrancy in Battle Creek’s downtown district.

GRAND RAPIDS — Within the next 20 years, the need for the types of services provided by D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s is projected to double.

Here is the growth report for June 10, 2019.

Since Bill Pink became the tenth president of Grand Rapids Community College two years ago, he has become a leading voice for the state’s network of 28 community colleges.

GREENVILLE — Edgewater Bancorp Inc. opened a loan office in Greenville after hiring a veteran commercial lender.

GRAND RAPIDS — US Signal Co. LLC began construction this week on a new data center in Van Buren Township, between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

ALLENDALE — Grand Valley State University extended a capital campaign that now seeks to raise a targeted $100 million or more.

GRAND RAPIDS — Springstead Bartish Borgula & Lynch PLLC plans to move its Grand Rapids headquarters after purchasing space downtown in the First Community Bank building.

Whirlpool Corp. has finalized the sale of its Vessi Fermentor brand to 80West Labs, a Chicago-based venture capital firm.

GRAND RAPIDS — Public and private partners have signed a long-term lease that will pave the way the development of a medical innovation building and parking structure at Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Research Center campus.

Operating under a new name, a Detroit-based foundation for children aims to carve out a philanthropic role in West Michigan and create a statewide presence.

majority of retailers across Michigan report higher sales this spring and expect to sustain growth well into the summer.

DOUGLAS — Laundry Tyme, a laundry service company based in Douglas, sold recently to investor Brian Gowen.

MUSKEGON — After restructuring into a private-sector-led group, the economic development organization for Muskegon County brought back a prior chief executive.

Orion Real Estate Solutions has signed a letter of intent with the city of Rockford to build a new boutique hotel downtown on city-owned property at 12 S. Main St.

Northpointe Bancshare Inc. raised $25 million in capital through a private placement of common stock with Castle Creek Capital LLC, a private equity firm based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., north of San Diego.

KALAMAZOO — Frank Sardone, the long-time president and CEO of Bronson Healthcare, plans to retire at the end of 2019.

Business law firm Kotz Sangster Wysocki PC acquired Rockford-based Van Eck Law PC.

MACKINAC ISLAND — Education reform took center stage at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, the annual gathering of the top business and government leaders in Michigan organized by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

BATTLE CREEK — Restore 269 LLC’s plans to redevelop a historic three-story building in downtown Battle Creek got a boost from the state last week. The company, owned by Battle Creek residents Cody and Caitlynn Newman, aims to renovate a 19,000-square-foot building at 15 Carlyle Street for a brewery and taproom on the first floor, a technology office with a web design company and shared work space on the second floor, and an event space on the third floor.

 The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is advising consumers not to eat any foods produced by Wyoming-based Charley’s Food Design Inc., also known as Charley’s Chips Company.

Samuel Stanley Jr., the president of New York-based Stony Brook University since 2009, will become Michigan State University’s next president Aug. 1.

In response to employers’ calls for action, colleges and universities throughout the state are making a major shift in their workforce training programs. Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, two of the state’s largest public universities, are responding to demands from business and industry leaders by collaborating with community colleges to add more accessible, job-focused credentialing programs to their curriculums.

GRAND RAPIDS — Executives at Ranir Global Holdings LLC put a plan in place four years ago to grow the company and prepare for investors’ eventual exit. By 2018, as the world’s largest producer of private-label store-brand oral care products grew sales and earnings at double-digit rates, management started exploring various options, including the potential for an IPO.

GRAND RAPIDS — If Steve Jbara needed a sign that he made the right decision in turning down a recent request to relocate his Grand Rapids-based NBA Gatorade League basketball team to Detroit, he got one rather quickly.

As the busy summer travel season kicks off with the Memorial Day weekend, the head of the state’s travel bureau expects another record year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Planning Commission denied the first application for a medical marijuana business that it considered under the city’s new medical marijuana zoning. The decision provided a clear message to other applicants who will come before the Planning Commission in the coming weeks: Be prepared and follow the rules.

GREENVILLE — When the third-generation owners of what’s today known as Stafford Media Inc. decided to sell the publishing and commercial printing company that had been in their family for 68 years, they went to great lengths to vet potential buyers.

BATTLE CREEK — The $22 million expansion of Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation at W.K. Kellogg Airport will include many visible signs of growth. Even so, Dave Powell, the dean of the aviation school, said he is focusing on an area of growth that’s less obvious: About 7 percent of all pilots and airline mechanics in the United States are people of color, and of that percentage about 2.5 percent are African American.

In a month, Tom Haas will retire from the presidency at Grand Valley State University. Under his 13-year watch, GVSU has added 30 undergraduate programs and 16 graduate programs, opened the Detroit Center and developed 2.5 million square feet of new facilities.

MUSKEGON — Two of the region’s leading academic water research institutes have forged a partnership to share resources and work together on water-related issues. Earlier this spring, Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) signed a memorandum of understanding with Michigan State University’s Institute of Water Research (IWR).

The recent announcement that Grand Rapids Drive founder and President Steve Jbara joined forces with Royal Oak-based startup WaitTime LLC had been five years in the making. WaitTime CEO Zachary Klima said he had leaned on Jbara for guidance since 2004 when he launched the company, which uses a proprietary system to measure crowd density around restrooms and concession stands inside arenas and venues.

GRAND RAPIDS — Velocity USA Inc., a Grand Rapids-based bicycle parts manufacturer, uses a small, passionate staff to produce incredibly durable and performance-oriented equipment for the world’s toughest riders. Matt Ruiter, general manager of Velocity, has been working for the company since he started “just packing boxes” in the warehouse 14 years ago.

MUSKEGON — As angel investing maintains a growth trajectory in Michigan, Muskegon Angels LLC pivoted this year to keep investments close to home. The Muskegon angel group now looks to invest in local companies that need capital or financing. Muskegon Angels will continue to invest in startups, as long they’re based in Muskegon or in a neighboring county.

Federal legislation could remove a big barrier for fledgling cannabis businesses by allowing the nation’s banks to legally serve the industry. Even as more than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana and 10 now allow its recreational use — including Michigan, on both counts — marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Some people might assume homes built by Habitat for Humanity are typical, nuts-and-bolts affordable housing adhering to basic building codes. However, that assumption would be wrong.

ALLEGAN — The sweeping transformation plan from Perrigo Co. plc President and CEO Murray Kessler aims to return the company to higher sales and earnings growth within a few years. Murray envisions a Perrigo that’s focused on “self-care,” producing products for consumers not only to treat themselves with store-brand, over-the-counter medications but also to maintain their health and prevent illness.

LANSING — With developer Gillespie Group’s Block600 project nearly a month into its core construction phase, Lansing’s Stadium District is expected to be ground zero for new commercial development.

GRAND RAPIDS — In the restaurant business, nothing can mess up a night like the broiler breaking down just before the dinner hour on a busy weekend. Or the ice machine in the bar going down. Or the walk-in cooler or freezer failing. Or the kitchen ventilation system malfunctioning. Those are situations that Daniel Estrada and Joe Gallagher believe their startup company can help to fix and avoid.

BATTLE CREEK — A more holistic approach to ensuring positive outcomes for students, teachers and the community is the driving force behind a new partnership involving Battle Creek Public Schools and Grand Valley State University. That’s according to GVSU President Thomas Haas, who notes having a highly skilled talent pool in Battle Creek will play a crucial role in the region’s ability to attract and retain new businesses.

Here is the growth report for May 26, 2019.

Jeff Korzenik became interested in how businesses can successfully hire ex-offenders “almost by accident.” He credits sending his children to public magnet schools in Chicago with opening his eyes to the challenges different groups of people face. 

Grand Rapids-based iEducation Group, formerly known as Fusion Education Group, an operator of private middle schools and high schools that offer personalized education, has acquired Futures Academy of California.

A partnership headed by Portage-based Hollander Development Corp. plans to transform a vacant lot in Kalamazoo into a new mixed-use building under a proposal that secured state backing.