Economic Development

BENTON HARBOR — A new campaign aims to stanch Berrien County’s population losses and attract thousands of new residents over the next decade. 

Here is the growth report for September 14, 2019.

KALAMAZOO — Kara Wood, the managing director of economic development services for the city of Grand Rapids, will join Western Michigan University as an associate vice president for community partnerships on Oct. 7.

State officials in Grand Rapids on Wednesday touted the economic benefits of outdoor recreation, a sprawling statewide sector encompassing major industries like manufacturing and tourism.

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. has added to its growing portfolio of Wendy’s restaurants with the acquisition of five Texas locations.

West Michigan businesses are responding to reports from the White House that the U.S. government is considering drastic cuts to the number of refugees who are allowed to enter the country.

A monthly index of West Michigan’s economy returned to “moderate growth” in August after taking what economist Brian Long calls a “substantial dip” a month earlier.

In response to growing concerns about groundwater issues, Ottawa County’s Olive Township has hit pause on plans for a platted subdivision that’s been in the works for nearly a decade. 

State Sen. Stephanie Chang says granting state driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants is as much of an issue of economics and public health as it is about immigration.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Aug. 19, 2019:

GRAND RAPIDS — A $90 million expansion at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport will aid in economic development in West Michigan, the airport authority board said Wednesday.

TRAVERSE CITY — Schmuckal Oil Co., a family-owned operator of gas station convenience stores in the northern and western Lower Peninsula, has sold its assets to an Ohio firm. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County immigration advocates are raising money for a fund that’s meant to keep some residents from being detained as they await immigration hearings.

Michigan retailers recorded a small improvement in business during July, as warm weather drew shoppers into stores and consumers began shopping for the new school year.

ZEELAND — A new “economic catalyst” fund and advisory committee hopes to further economic growth in Ottawa County. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority Board has selected Torrance Richardson as the new president and CEO of the airport, the board announced Friday.

A coalition of business groups today urged state lawmakers to finally come up with a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Five weeks before a pair of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio rocked the nation, community leaders in Grand Rapids held a press conference on the city’s southeast side to address the city’s recent spike in gun violence. 

Don’t expect Michigan’s burgeoning cannabis sector to be a repeat of the state’s booming craft beer business. 

Native American tribes that want to participate in Michigan’s fledgling cannabis industry face many bureaucratic hurdles.

News stories published over the past three months have said the Michigan State Police was preparing to both “crack down” on black market marijuana activity and also let it “slide” because of a lack of resources.

Nearly 600 Michigan communities have reportedly opted out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses, which experts say is the result of uncertainty clouding the 2018 ballot initiative.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Aug. 19, 2019:

WALKER — A federal agency has accused supercenter retailer Meijer Inc. of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act over its treatment of an employee at a store in Oakland County in Southeast Michigan.

ALLENDALE TWP. — BizStream Inc., an Allendale Township-based online marketing and software solutions company, plans to expand with backing from the state. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. continues its growth spurt with a pair of deals to acquire the assets of 10 Wendy’s restaurants in Georgia and Texas. 

The latest outlook survey by Business Leaders for Michigan points to a stable state economy or slower growth in the months ahead with continued business investments.

BATTLE CREEK — The board of directors at Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) extended the contract of President & CEO Joe Sobieralski through June 2022. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Engineering firm Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. acquired Northwest Consultants Inc., a civil engineering firm in Toledo, Ohio.

MUSKEGON — The precarious state of the historic LST-393 Veterans Museum could help spur a major milestone in Muskegon’s waterfront development.

bipartisan group of state lawmakers wants Michigan to be a national leader in building out a connected network of electric vehicle charging stations, a key barrier to adoption as automakers plan more electric models for customers. 

Jason Shamblin liked West Michigan each time his family visited, so he decided he might as well work and live here. When the opportunity arose, he applied to become Ottawa County’s new parks and recreation director.

Here is the growth report for July 21, 2019.

Law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP opened an office in suburban Detroit.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. plans to invest $100 million to develop 40 new Wendy’s restaurants.

State lawmakers are pushing once again to expand civil rights protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as key legal cases on the issue sit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan’s second-largest city crossed the 200,000-person population milestone for the first time last summer, as communities along the western side of the state posted strong growth.

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

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.

Here is the growth report for May 26, 2019.

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.