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Food/Agribusiness

SPONSORED BY DAN VOS CONSTRUCTION

BATTLE CREEK — Kellogg Co. plans to invest roughly $45 million to reorganize its North American supply chain network, a move that already has had a negative effect on workers in its hometown of Battle Creek.

Anna Link and the rest of her family at Swisslane Dairy Farms Inc. encounter plenty of tough jobs on their 2,000-cattle farm in Alto.

KENTWOOD — Jason Spaulding recalled in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the bar and restaurant industry and left him sitting on 400 kegs of dead beer.

Befitting a company that prides itself on riding the cutting edge of the craft beer industry, Traverse City-based Right Brain Brewery was perhaps the first brewer to ever bring a hydrogen-infused beer to the commercial market.

KALAMAZOO — Kalsec Inc., a global producer of natural spices, advanced hop products and herb flavor extracts, has invested $10 million into a new technology center that will enhance its research and innovation capabilities.

ST. JOSEPH — Family-owned temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics provider Hanson Cold Storage Co., which does business as Hanson Logistics, has been sold to a Southeast Michigan company. 

MUSKEGON — A new partnership is bringing Michigan State University’s resources and expertise in food processing to companies and entrepreneurs throughout West Michigan.

In 2019, Becky Huttenga led a comprehensive survey of Ottawa County’s agricultural landowners in an effort to understand the industry’s most pressing needs.

Daniel Estrada says his company’s resilience often resonates with investors.

CALEDONIA — Grocery distributor and retailer SpartanNash Co. today celebrated the grand opening of its first micro-fulfillment center, which the company expects to more effectively serve a growing number of online customers.

BYRON CENTER — Grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co. has announced a new “Micro-Fulfillment Center” that will assemble online grocery orders to be shipped to local grocery stores or homes.

 Kris Spaulding, co-owner and president of Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant, has long advocated for sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion in the local brewing community. Now she has a larger platform to promote the business values.

When Courtney Lorenz launched her business in 2015 brewing and selling kombucha, she started working with just three 5-gallon containers. 

The meat supply chain is bracing for potential fallout from a disruption in production as the world’s largest meat producer rebounds from a devastating cyberattack.

As a producer that heavily supplies the food service industry, Swanson Pickle Co. Inc. had to make profound adjustments to its sales channels when the COVID-19 pandemic changed buying habits.

Like nearly everyone in the restaurant industry, Jessica Ann Tyson has dealt with a barrage of challanges throughout the course of the last 15 months.

Despite a season last year filled with widespread shutdowns and canceled events, farmers markets across Michigan not only survived the pandemic, but in some cases thrived.

ROCKFORD — Rockford Brewing Co. LLC has unveiled plans to renovate a nearby historic building and expand with the new Malph’s Pizza Pub concept. 

About a year ago, Jon O’Connor and his team at Long Road Distillers LLC explored potential locations in Cadillac but were not able to find the right fit.

Breweries, wineries and restaurants may now legally offer free bingo to patrons without fear of punishment by the state following a recent ruling by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

As West Michigan fruit growers braced for two nights of hard frost in late April that would threaten their already developing buds, many in the industry and downstream economy feared a repeat of a disastrous 2012 season.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed lawsuits against two out-of-state wineries and one wine retailer for allegedly shipping wine into Michigan illegally.

GRAND RAPIDS — When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold of the country last year, Kevin Chaperon took the at-home bread baking trend to the next level and opened a ghost kitchen concept called Blacklist Bagels LLC. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Jessica Stricklen plans to open the first gluten-free microbrewery in the state of Michigan in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.  

GRAND RAPIDS — 86 Repairs Inc., a company based in both Grand Rapids and Chicago that partners with restaurants to provide end-to-end repairs and maintenance for kitchen equipment, recently closed a $2 million round of seed funding.

MUSKEGON — An 8,000-square-foot food processing business incubator in Muskegon is now open and accepting new tenants.

BYRON CENTER — Food distributor and grocery store retailer SpartanNash Co. recently announced its new chief financial officer who will take over the post on Monday.

Jeff Lobdell’s portfolio of restaurants took a nearly 40-percent hit to its top line revenue during a COVID-19 pandemic-rattled 2020 that took a hefty toll on the hospitality industry.

State officials have awarded $1.8 million in grants that will eventually lead to the preservation of 730 acres of farmland.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission took measures this week to streamline the ordering process for its 14,000 liquor licensees across the state.

BYRON CENTER — The latest earnings report from SpartanNash Co. reflects a surge in demand for food distribution and retail throughout 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the fourth year, one of Michigan’s largest agriculture lenders is committing grant dollars to fund educational opportunities for the industry’s next generation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed restaurants to adapt and innovate in order to survive. As the architects of the restaurant industry, chefs across West Michigan have tested various experiments to stay afloat during the pandemic and beyond. 

GRAND RAPIDS — GRNoir Wine and Jazz owners Shatawn and Nadia Brigham welcomed the first dine-in customers to their new Grand Rapids club Monday after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a relatively strong foothold already in the Philadelphia market, Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. recently announced that it has become an official sponsor for NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers.

As an industry that bounced back relatively quickly after the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture in Michigan and across the U.S. faces key issues that will shape its fate in 2021, experts say.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gage Cannabis Co. plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Grand Rapids later this week, marking its sixth retail store in Michigan.

Legislation designed to put Michigan’s distillers on a more even footing with cider, beer and wine producers died on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk this week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not doused Justin Buiter’s optimism in his future plans for his brewery. However, when Buiter looks ahead, he said 2021 will likely be spent regaining the footing his company lost during a gauntlet of a year.

Dr. Scott Nykaza always considered his company to be both environmentally and socially responsible through its 60-year history. Now it has a credible stamp of approval to back up those claims.

ALLEGAN — In addition to dealing with the massive disruptions to her business brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanya Schafer is also juggling two construction projects.

Consumers relied on grocery stores and supermarkets like never before during the pandemic. As the state transitioned through various stages of shutdowns, these businesses had to keep their shelves stocked amid challenges like panic buying and stockpiling. Tony Sarsam took over as CEO at SpartanNash Co. in September as the industry was six months into the new dynamic. The former CEO of Texas-based Borden Dairy Co. shares his views on the challenges that await his company with 155 corporate-owned retail stores and a distribution business that delivers to 2,100 independent locations.

With already thin profit margins, dine-in restaurants have faced the brunt of COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan, and many won’t emerge on the other side. Some owners — including Jeff Lobdell, president of Restaurant Partners Management Inc. — feel their businesses have been unfairly targeted as state officials sought to stem the surge of cases over the past month. Lobdell owns restaurants across the state, including several in the Grand Rapids area like Bagel Beanery, Sundance Grill & Bar, Beltline Bar, The Omelette Shoppe, Rockwell Republic and Noble Restaurant. Lobdell started the year operating 20 restaurants, nearly half of which have closed at least temporarily.

In addition to farming his own 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Ionia County, Jeff Sanborn is also active in both the Michigan and National Corn Growers associations. In fact, he has represented Michigan on the NCGA board and was a chairman on the NCGA Ethanol Committee. Sandborn shared insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic, new administration and other issues are poised to affect the agriculture industry in 2021.

If patronage of local Christmas tree lots and farms is any indication, then Michigan residents are really in the holiday spirit this year.

DUTTON — Opening a business in arguably the hardest hit industry of the COVID-19 pandemic era doesn’t seem like a promising concept on paper, but Justin Buiter and his team at Railtown Brewing Co. are leveraging special circumstances to do exactly that.

GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co. has temporarily laid off 89 employees as the bar, restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries cope with recent health guidelines handed down by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

GRAND RAPIDS — Chicago-based Factorial Holdings plans to construct 10 new Burger King restaurants in Grand Rapids over the next five years.