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Economic Development

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.

WALKER — Storage system manufacturer Speedrack Products Group Ltd. is expanding its Michigan operations with a nearly $65 million investment Walker.

If you were wondering why numerous businesses and almost every major corporation changed their logo on June 1 to reflect a rainbow theme, it’s because we’re in the middle of Pride month.

As the consumer vehicle market gradually transitions to electrified models, automotive experts say the commercial fleet segment has the potential to transform the sector more rapidly.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent widespread shift to remote working has stalled plans for a commuter transit system that would connect Grand Rapids and Holland.

MUSKEGON — Facing ongoing budget constraints, the Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) is launching a new program this week that aims to cut costs while providing the same level of service through an on-demand platform similar to Uber and Lyft.

Republican lawmakers are advancing bills that would reduce Michigan’s corporate income tax rate by 20 percent and create tax credits for businesses that lost at least a quarter of their revenue during COVID-19 restrictions.

Here's the MiBiz Growth Report for June 20, 2021.

The family investment company of Doug and Maria DeVos has acquired a majority stake in Walstrom Marine Inc., a yacht sales and service company and marina operator in Northern Michigan.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed spending $1.4 billion to improve access to child care and improving wages for child care workers.

COLDWATER — Hope Network will close a long-term housing center in Coldwater for people with severe disabilities as a new fee schedule is set to take effect under recent automotive no-fault insurance reforms.

WASHINGTON — Former Bay Mills Indian Community Chairperson Bryan Newland told a Senate committee how his firsthand experience growing up on a reservation in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula would shape his perspective if confirmed to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city’s Local Development Finance Authority has recommended that Start Garden Inc. and Spartan Innovations L3C administer the Grand Rapids SmartZone business incubator through a collaborative approach.  

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is trying to stop proposed federal changes that would take away the metropolitan area status and jeopardize crucial federal funding for six Michigan communities.

KALAMAZOO — Representatives from Western Michigan University announced on Tuesday that the school has received the largest private gift ever bestowed on a public university.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Right Place Inc. has published a new digital database of businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and people in the LGBTQ community operating in a 13-county region of West Michigan. 

When Darren Riley graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, he took with him in-demand skills rooted in software development and cybersecurity.

As an entrepreneur, Matt Baxter acknowledges that opportunities like the one in front of him rarely come along.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for June 6, 2021.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a multi-million dollar plan Thursday that targets boosting wages, helping small businesses and providing access to childcare.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced the creation of a statewide office that will coordinate efforts to make high speed internet service more accessible and affordable in Michigan.