Economic Development

Consensus is building in Lansing over studying the potential for toll roads as a future transportation funding source, but whether Michigan will join the nearly three-dozen states in doing so remains unclear.

Employers across West Michigan granted pay raises this year averaging 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, according to annual survey data.

Here is the growth report for December 7, 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the state Legislature continues budget talks, West Michigan economic development executives remain concerned about a $26 million cut to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. budget.

As someone born and raised in Holland, Trent Ramos noticed a divide among fellow residents.

Here is the growth report for November 23, 2019.

Michigan retailers report they had sluggish sales last month, the result of a slowing economy and other factors such as the six-week strike against General Motors.

KALAMAZOO — Business leaders and philanthropists gave $6.5 million to Western Michigan University for what’s known as the Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy.

The number of apprenticeship programs and apprentices grew significantly in Michigan during the last decade while extending into nontraditional areas beyond construction and manufacturing, according to a state report.

popular Grand Rapids brewery learned the hard way that focusing on winning a lawsuit can cost a company in other tangible ways if it loses first in the court of public opinion. 

Here is the growth report for November 9, 2019.

WALKER — Chris Sherrell, a veteran grocery executive who worked with Meijer Inc. to launch the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market concept in 2012, has stepped down from the company.

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. expanded its holdings in the Atlanta, Ga. market with the acquisition of five Wendy’s stores. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Faced with multiple departures from leadership positions at the city of Grand Rapids, City Manager Mark Washington wants to avoid being “hasty” about hiring replacements.

HOLLAND — Last year, travelers from all 50 states and 47 countries stopped into the Holland Area Visitors Bureau while visiting the city. 

MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 26, 2019.

MUSKEGON — L.C. Walker Arena will become Mercy Health Arena at the end of the year under a $1.5 million sponsorship deal between the city of Muskegon and the health system.

With former CEO Jim Edmonson back at the helm and a new board of directors, Muskegon Area First has positioned itself for fiscal and programmatic growth to support Muskegon County’s economic development into the next decade.

ZEELAND — The $70,000 grant Lakeshore Advantage Corp. received this summer will go toward examining one potential solution to a problem resulting from the economic vitality of Ottawa and Allegan counties: a lack of suitable available land for industrial development.

The Grand Rapids-based law firm Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has spent more than a decade as the U.S. counsel for Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority as it went through the arduous procurement process to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. CEO Robert Schermer, Jr. has led the company as it has amassed a portfolio of about 400 Wendy’s restaurant locations and grown its revenue to nearly half a billion dollars.

This is the growth report for Oct. 12.

Michigan’s economic growth “slowed down considerably” during the spring and summer, although University of Michigan economists doubt the state is on track for a downtown in the next two years.

Retail sales across Michigan picked up in August from the prior month, although a monthly index shows activity lagging from a year earlier.

GRAND RAPIDS — SMG, the company that manages DeVos Place Convention Center, DeVos Performance Hall and Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, has merged with AEG Facilities LLC to form a venue management firm called ASM Global.

Michigan’s latest emphasis on the outdoor recreation industry serves as part of an economic development strategy that’s responding to the sector’s shifting demographics, natural resources officials say. 

After 12 years leading economic development in the city of Grand Rapids, Kara Wood will join Western Michigan University as an associate vice president for community partnerships on Oct. 7. Wood, a WMU alumna who currently serves as the managing director of economic development services for the city of Grand Rapids, will work with university leadership to advance corporate engagement in areas including research, economic development and talent development.

Sarah Chartier has served as senior sustainability project manager at Spectrum Health for eight years. In her role, she assesses ways to improve Spectrum’s practices that will lead to reducing its environmental footprint. She also engages employees and the community to get involved in the sustainability conversation and think about how they have an effect on the environment and ways to lessen that impact. Chartier, who also serves as a board member of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, spoke to MiBiz about the future of the sustainable business movement. 

Growth report for Sept. 28, 2019.

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.