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Economic Development

Internet casino gaming and sports betting operators in Michigan reached a new benchmark in September, combining for $126.1 million in gross revenue for the month.

KALAMAZOO — Plans for a Career and Technical Education Center in Kalamazoo County are moving forward following anonymous gifts of $100 million and property for the project, economic development officials announced today.

Grand Rapids-based asset liquidation firm Liquid Asset Partners LLC has formed a joint venture with a Chicago-area company to focus on retail inventory and store closing liquidations.

GRAND RAPIDS — A Grand Rapids-based tech company has launched a new lineup of digital products tailored to the needs of mid-market distributors of all industries.

GRAND RAPIDS — The state’s new fiscal year budget that began Oct. 1 includes $10 million to study the reconstruction or potential reconfiguration of the Wealthy Street interchange on US-131 that officials have referred to as the most dangerous intersection in the state. 

Officials at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. say they are moving forward after the organization took a multi-million-dollar hit last year as revenue sharing from tribally owned casinos plummeted during pandemic-related shutdowns.

The $1.4 billion injected into Michigan child care in the state’s newest budget is intended to bolster the industry at a time when most economic sectors are coping with a troubling labor shortage.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for October 10th, 2021.

GRAND RAPIDS — Food, technology and recycling startups were among the 10 winners to receive individual $20,000 awards at this year’s 100 competition hosted by Grand Rapids-based business incubator Start Garden LLC.

GRAND RAPIDS — Varnum LLP has opened an office in Naples, Fla., marking the Grand Rapids-based law firm’s first location outside of Michigan.

A statewide organization of economic development leaders is sounding alarms following Ford Motor Co.’s recent announcement to venture outside of its home state to make a historic investment in electric vehicles.

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a state budget for the new fiscal year that includes hundreds of millions of dollars for childcare and talent development, as well as more than $23 million in one-time spending for various Kent County developments.

State officials have selected Grand Rapids-based investor and public relations firm Lambert & Co. to help develop a marketing plan to attract new companies and raise awareness about the state’s economic development services.

Michigan’s recreational cannabis market has experienced swift changes in the three years since 56 percent of voters statewide just said yes. 

This is the MiBiz growth report for September 26, 2021.

Online casino gaming and poker play achieved record revenues for statewide operators in August, bringing in $97.2 million during the month, according to figures released Thursday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

On Sept. 20, Ken James will move to a newly created administrative role at Muskegon Community College to help lead the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. To James, that means serving four distinct constituencies: students, faculty and staff, the community at large, and businesses.

This is the MiBiz growth report for September 12, 2021.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Local Development Finance Authority has approved an agreement for Spartan Innovations L3C and Start Garden Inc. to collaborate and manage the city’s SmartZone business incubator and related tech business support services. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Third-party data center maintenance service provider Service Express LLC has bolstered its international presence with the acquisition of a U.K.-based firm.

DELTA TWP. — Amazon.com Inc. announced today that it will start building its first fulfillment center in the mid-Michigan region, a move that’s expected to bring 500 new full-time jobs to the area.

Michigan’s economy will feel the effects through the rest of 2021 from the coronavirus delta variant and the ongoing computer microchip shortage that’s been hindering automotive production, according to University of Michigan economists.

New U.S. Census findings that show some of the state’s strongest population growth is occurring in West Michigan provide an opportunity to help attract talent during an ongoing labor shortage.

Leslie Wyman has led the West Michigan Cannabis Guild since May after serving as the organization’s treasurer. Before the Guild officially formed in 2019, its founding members played a role in getting the Proposal 1 ballot initiative in front of voters that was eventually successful in legalizing recreational cannabis in Michigan.

Here's the MiBiz Growth Report for August 29, 2021.

Two Grand Rapids area manufacturers have secured state grants to support expansion plans.

Michigan’s new economic chief says the state needs to become more aggressive in retaining and nurturing existing business and seeking investment from outside of the state.

Representatives from local, statewide and national chambers of commerce are calling on congressional lawmakers to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill they say is critical to support local growth and talent attraction.

Housing nonprofits are scrambling to distribute unprecedented amounts of federal funding to renters at risk of becoming homeless as a scaled-back national eviction moratorium is temporarily extended.

Al Vanderberg is leaving his role as Ottawa County administrator, which he has held since 2003, after recently accepting a position as Kent County administrator/controller.

Here's the MiBiz growth report for August 15, 2021.

Michigan’s economic growth may ease during the third quarter, picking up again in late 2021 and into next year as manufacturers continue to deal with constrained supply chains and labor shortages, according to a new outlook.

A vast majority of executives surveyed by Business Leaders for Michigan expects the U.S. and state economies to remain on the current pace or grow over the next six months to a year.

The Grand Rapids Griffins are partnering with an Irvine, Calif.-based business to revamp the organization’s ticketing solutions.

LANSING  — Franchised moving company Two Men and a Truck/International Inc. has been sold to a leading provider of residential and commercial cleaning, restoration and moving services.

Congress will inevitably relax decades-old federal restrictions on cannabis, West Michigan industry experts say, but how and when lawmakers will act are key unanswered questions that could determine who gains access to the market.

Airport officials in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Muskegon have yet to see passenger travel fully rebound to 2019 levels, but they remain optimistic about the gradual return of business travel and their ability to support capital investments.

TRAVERSE CITY — High Street Insurance Partners Inc. now ranks as one of the top acquirers of insurance brokerages in the country.

The committee behind a statewide ballot initiative to expand civil rights protections for LGBTQ people is prepared for a legal battle after state election officials ruled the campaign had an insufficient number of public signatures to advance the proposal.

After serving as CEO of Dallas-based Borden Dairy Co., Tony Sarsam took the reins of Byron Center-based grocery distributor and retailer SpartanNash Co. (Nasdaq:SPTN) last September during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is the MiBiz growth report for August 1, 2021.

The Michigan Catholic Conference has contributed nearly $240,000 to a campaign committee opposing a business-backed initiative to expand Michigan’s civil rights law to include protections for LGBTQ individuals.

KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo Wings have finalized an affiliation partnership for the upcoming season with the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and their American Hockey League partner, the Cleveland Monsters.

GRAND RAPIDS — The CEO of Gun Lake Investments — the economic development arm of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians, or Gun Lake Tribe — has resigned after six years in the position.

  Employers in West Michigan have recovered relatively well from the depths of the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions, according to economic development organization The Right Place Inc.

Online casino gaming and sports betting activity in Michigan continues to crawl through the traditional summer slowdown. 

Keith Mitchell recalled a time during his football playing days at the University of Michigan when he and other players volunteered at a football camp in the Detroit area. The coach hosting the camp charged hundreds of dollars per participant and drew a crowd of roughly a thousand.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for July 19, 2021.