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Economic Development

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.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funding will pour into Michigan’s federally recognized American Indian tribes, but most are still awaiting final amounts and facing key questions about how to spend the money.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on tribal casino gaming revenue, officials with the non-gaming economic development arms of several Michigan tribes say their flow of capital and projects largely held steady.

GRAND RAPIDS — One would be hard pressed to deny the existence of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, whose ancestors were signatories of numerous agreements with the federal government, starting in 1795 with the Treaty of Greenville.

PLAINFIELD TWP. — A broad vision to redesign the concrete jungle that is Plainfield Avenue north of Grand Rapids is meeting resistance as local planning officials debate the individual zoning changes that would make the vision a reality.

Little River Holdings LLC, a wholly owned enterprise of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, is poised to announce a new partnership with fast casual burger restaurant Wahlburgers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Logistics and data security company MCPc Inc. broke ground today on its $2.8 million facility that’s expected to bring at least 75 new and existing jobs to the city’s Madison Square neighborhood. 

Six Michigan communities are no longer at risk of losing a key U.S. Census designation that determines crucial federal funding for services, a federal agency announced Tuesday.

BATTLE CREEK — FireKeepers Casino Hotel is now the 13th operator in the state to launch online sports betting and casino gaming. 

The expansion of West Michigan’s industrial economy moderated in June as some companies report ongoing supply chain issues, according to a monthly survey.

GRAND RAPIDS — After announcing its newly inked affiliation partnership with professional basketball franchise the Denver Nuggets in April, the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA G League revealed its new team name and logo today.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the city updates its nearly 20-year-old Master Plan to guide future development, local officials say a first-of-its-kind study last year can help ensure equitable outcomes while providing the best return on investments.

Floriza Genautis was recently named chairperson of the newly formed Asian American Business Council at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, where she hopes to better connect Asian American-owned businesses with one another and the rest of the business community.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for July 4, 2021.

Michigan’s small businesses were disproportionately harmed compared to other industries during the pandemic with significant declines in revenue and the number of businesses operating, but experts remain optimistic about a strong post-pandemic recovery.

GRAND RAPIDS — Executives from across West Michigan gathered Tuesday to discuss the labor shortages permeating across industries, lessons learned from COVID-19 and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in company culture.