Economic Development

GRAND RAPIDS — Recreational marijuana processors, growers and transporters might be allowed in Grand Rapids before the city permits recreational dispensaries to open. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A 48-hour state of civil emergency and overnight curfew has expired in Grand Rapids after city commissioners largely opposed extending them today.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County is in a “very vulnerable position” with the coronavirus pandemic as businesses prepare to reopen and gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted, Health Department Director Dr. Adam London said today.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today that moves Michigan into the next phase of a pandemic reopening plan and rescinds a statewide stay-home order in place since March 23.

Grand Rapids officials responded with a 48-hour state of civil emergency and a 7 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew on Sunday and Monday nights after peaceful protests against police brutality turned violent.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued roughly $4 million in refunds for camping and lodging reservations through June 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to state officials.

The state chapter of a national trade group representing contractors and a Grand Rapids-based landscaping company have asked a state court to invalidate two recent executive orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer involving workplace safety requirements in light of COVID-19.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $22.5 million to expand rural broadband access to thousands of residents and dozens of businesses in Southwest Michigan.

BYRON CENTER — People eating at home during the pandemic has been a boon for sales at grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co.

Uncertainty over whether the federal government will approve new stimulus funding for state and local budgets continues to cloud the future of Michigan’s multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 22 other states in challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era automobile fuel economy standards.

State lawmakers will consider a bill this week that waives penalties for property owners who defer payments on their summer property tax bills because of hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for May 27, 2020.

Despite advanced degrees, ambition and experience, women of color in West Michigan continue to face unique challenges when it comes to getting hired and promoted, particularly for executive leadership roles, according to a new study.

University of Michigan researchers told state officials at this month’s revenue estimating conference they anticipate a gradual economic recovery in the next few years, resulting in an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent by the end of 2022.

Tension between Grand Rapids residents and the city’s police department spurred officials last year to create an Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. Earlier this month, Brandon Davis — the office’s interim director since August — was appointed to the job on a permanent basis.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids City Commission passed a $531 million budget Thursday for fiscal year 2021, which includes $5.4 million in economic relief funding for residents and businesses.

 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today further lifted restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a resumption of non-essential medical procedures starting May 29.

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose sharply to 22.7 percent in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials announced today.

GRANT — C3 Industries LLC expects to start selling recreational cannabis products Friday at its newly opened medical marijuana dispensary in southern Newaygo County.

Counties across the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula will provide a model for stores, restaurants and bars across Michigan as they are allowed to reopen Friday following an executive order signed today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

GRAND RAPIDS — MiBiz Inc. has hired reporter Kate Carlson to cover real estate and development and small businesses for its West Michigan publication.

Companies that are beginning to bring employees back to work, or are considering reopening in the near future, have a litany of so-called playbooks, toolkits or guides to follow.

GRAND RAPIDS — A public-private partnership launched this week aims to compile health screening data from hundreds of Kent County companies in an effort to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Michigan expects to save $80 million in payroll costs by participating in a work sharing program that reduces work hours among more state employees.

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. said today that it declined millions in loans under a federal coronavirus relief program intended for small businesses. 

BYRON CENTER — Private equity-backed abrasive products distributor SurfacePrep has acquired Sacramento, Calif.-based Temple Associates Inc., a distributor of loose abrasives and blast equipment. 

Over the past two weeks, Michigan has roughly tripled its COVID-19 testing and plans further measures to reach up to 30,000 tests per day, state officials said today.

As some employers express concern about retaining workers who are earning more income through unemployment benefits than their normal paychecks, researchers say long-term structural fixes are needed to state and federal programs.

People who have been working from home for weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic will return to a decidedly different workplace than they had previously once the economy gets going again. 

As the business world adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks to get back to work, companies will need to alter their approach to the market and how they promote their products or services, according to Jordan Buning, the president of DDM Marketing & Communications in Grand Rapids. Buning tells MiBiz those changes in messaging and branding and how companies position themselves in the marketplace could very well become permanent.

GRAND RAPIDS — Objections from religious institutions have halted another proposed medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Rapids, underscoring what critics say is a flawed and unclear regulatory system. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Jonathan Jelks — a Grand Rapids entrepreneur behind a variety of startups in fashion, tech and hospitality — is seeing the full spectrum of economic changes brought on by the coronavirus.

GRAND RAPIDS — Josh Freeney has a decade-long head start on all the professionals who are just now being thrust into a situation where they’re working remotely. 

Here is the MiBiz growth report for May 10, 2020.

Nearly 20 percent of Michigan’s economy will start to reopen on Monday under an executive order signed today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday opening construction, real estate and portions of the manufacturing sector on May 7, while requiring employers to adopt workplace safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids will use $3.3 million in federal funding authorized through the CARES Act on neighborhoods, business recovery and transportation and infrastructure, City Manager Mark Washington said Thursday during a virtual town hall meeting.

Michigan reported more than 81,000 new unemployment claims last week, continuing the downward trend of new filings since the peak in early April.

GRAND RAPIDS — After a five-week shutdown over safety concerns stemming from COVID-19, Kent County will reopen its recycling facilities on Monday.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County Health Department officials are “actively and aggressively” seeking out COVID-19 cases in the community by testing in clusters of vulnerable residents, contributing to the recent rise in positive cases here.

Delta Air Lines is seeking federal permission to suspend flights to airports in Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo as air travel demand has nearly vanished during the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal stimulus funding has started trickling into Michigan to offset costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but pressure continues for more sweeping relief to offset losses in sales and income taxes.

As phased-in regional approach to putting Michigan’s economy back to work from the COVID-19 pandemic will start with workplaces that have the lowest risk and include new practices for employers to follow.

The world around us — as we knew it in Michigan before March 10 — is going to look much different for the next 12 to 18 months.

The coronavirus brought swift public health and economic damages, but the mental toll from thousands of deaths, millions on unemployment and isolation could have lasting effects on mental health.

MiBiz growth report for April 26, 2020.

The city of Grand Rapids has appointed three officials to serve top economic development, planning and finance posts.