fbpx

Food/Agribusiness

SPONSORED BY DAN VOS CONSTRUCTION

GRAND RAPIDS — The owners of That Early Bird Cafe and Little Bird restaurants — like countless other businesses — have taken stock of what works well during the pandemic, both to weather the short-term disruption as well as set themselves up for long-term success.

Facing limited capacity and modified business models, restaurants in every segment are looking for all possible ways to whittle down costs.

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP — Agri-Med LLC has added a third recreational cannabis dispensary to its West Michigan portfolio as its Exit 9 Provisionary in Crockery Township is now authorized for both medical and adult-use sales.

KALAMAZOO — With an uncertain future ahead and the opportunity to make a clean exit from his business, owner Kevin Tibbs and his team at Kalamazoo-based Tibbs Brewing Company announced this week that it would be shutting its doors.

LANSING — More than a dozen statewide beer, wine and liquor retailers spoke out against a potential liquor license at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission Wednesday as corporate retailer Total Wine & More seeks to establish its first store in Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — After the ouster of its CEO last summer, SpartanNash Co. has found a new leader.

Steven Martinez-Thiel put together a detailed timeline that would transform his love and expertise of breakfast tacos and Tex-Mex fare into a new food business.

Grand Rapids-based snack food maker Cheeze Kurls Inc. has been acquired by a Florida private investment firm.

MUSKEGON — About five years ago, the fledgling Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. LLC in Muskegon shipped its beer out of the state for the first time when it sent a single keg to the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia.

GREENVILLE — Castle Brewing Co. has been acquired by a new team hoping to bring brewing experience and possibly a new concept to the Montcalm County brewpub.

A new partnership will bring whiskey from Three Oaks-based Journeyman Distillery LLC to all 50 states.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the supply of hand sanitizer dried up, nearly every member organization of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association rolled up their sleeves to pivot from producing spirits to making hand sanitizer.

SCOTTS — The owners of a Southwest Michigan meat processing company and cattle operation say the businesses have fallen victim to the tight credit market brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Battle Creek Unlimited has received $2.1 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a food processing incubator known as the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen.

MUSKEGON — Despite initially struggling to access COVID-19 relief funding, Ana Olson has kept Los Amigos Mexican Bar & Grill open with takeout orders throughout the entire pandemic.

A Grand Rapids-based startup is applying sanitization techniques long used in the food processing industry to a broader range of facilities in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids native Alita Kelly saw a market need on the south side of the city and formed a pickup and delivery food service that will mainly source from Black and Indigenous farmers, as well as women producers. 

When 2012 brought a drought to the state, it had corn growers feeling a bit skittish about their yield potential, which caused corn prices to peak.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, major grocery retailers were already shifting to a more futuristic shopping experience in which customers either pre-order online and pick up at the store or act as their own clerk by scanning items as they go. 

Dennis Grumm has heard these rumblings before. As the founder, CEO and lead engineer for Grand Rapids-based Oktober Design LLC, which sells can seamers to seal lids on cans so breweries can conduct small-scale or to-go canning, he’s used to hearing murmurs that the industry’s staple container might be in short supply.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is launching $1.25 million in grant funding for to help small farms mitigate pandemic-related costs.

GRAND RAPIDS — A recycling company hopes to help Kent County achieve its ambitious goal of diverting 90 percent of the county’s trash from landfills by 2030 by working directly with restaurants and grocers to reduce food and beverage waste. 

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association has launched a training program for bar and restaurant employees on how to properly de-escalate disputes with customers over pandemic-related restrictions.

BUCHANAN — An Ann Arbor-based cannabis company is set to open its second West Michigan retail store for recreational and medical sales amid continued industry growth in the region.

GAINES TOWNSHIP — Irie Kitchen LLC recently reopened for takeout, and proved it has a large base of support after raising more than $100,000 following vandalism in early June.

ZEELAND — Outdoor seating has been a game changer for restaurants and bars reopening this summer, making Laura Gentry even more grateful that she expanded outdoor seating space at her Zeeland brewpub a few years ago.

A coalition of bars and restaurants started in Grand Rapids is “trying to build some solidarity” within the industry around managing facilities responsibly during the pandemic, following recent COVID-19 spikes linked to bars that led Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to close many of them for indoor service.

LANSING — Michigan restaurants and bars are now able to expand alcohol sales as well as the area where patrons can consume drinks. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Health Department has ordered a downtown Grand Rapids bar to close after video surfaced this weekend of large crowds of patrons not adhering to social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

JW’s Food & Spirits had never offered outdoor seating in the more than two decades the restaurant and bar has been in operation at the corner of North 7th Street and Washington Avenue east of downtown Grand Haven. 

Dozens of crops grown in West Michigan are hand-picked by seasonal and migrant farmworkers. 

After a brief hiatus from the market, one of the pioneering brands in the Michigan craft beer industry will once again be back on store shelves. 

Perrigo Co. plc plans to enter the CBD market through a strategic investment and a long-term agreement with a Colorado supplier.

REED CITY — A pilot project spearheaded by global food processor General Mills Inc. aims to help improve the stability of dairy farms, starting with a trio of West Michigan operations and a focus on regenerative agricultural practices. 

Overly aggressive expansions, lease disputes and sagging interest in craft beer-based casual restaurants were contributing factors to BarFly Ventures LLC’s bankruptcy filing this month before business was decimated by COVID-19, court records show.

HAMILTON — A pair of Indiana cooperatives have formed a strategic joint venture to acquire an Allegan County agricultural retail business owned by CHS Inc.

GRAND RAPIDS — While restaurants and bars were able to reopen for dine-in service on Monday after a nearly three-month hiatus, some owners are keeping their dining rooms closed a little longer as a safety precaution for customers and employees.

Farmers grew nearly 4,000 acres of industrial hemp across 58 Michigan counties in 2019 as part of the state’s inaugural year of a pilot program to test the viability of the crop here.

Restaurants across Michigan are slowly reengaging under occupancy limits and heightened measures to protect workers and patrons’ safety. 

West Michigan restaurant and bar owners who are preparing to reopen June 8 under the state’s new rules and capacity restrictions can look to their up north colleagues for clues as to how the new process will go. 

GAINES TOWNSHIP — A black-owned business south of Grand Rapids was “basically targeted,” owners said today after discovering shattered windows at their restaurant.

GRAND RAPIDS — BarFly Ventures LLC, the parent company of the HopCat chain of beer bars, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan. 

As northern Michigan restaurants and bars reopen under occupancy limits and other restrictions, business leaders and city officials are considering ways to expand the footprint of existing restaurants to help boost revenue.

Bars and restaurants that want to open outdoor service areas can now take advantage of a streamlined permitting process through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. 

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has returned nearly $3.4 million to licensees as part of a liquor buyback program to support bars and restaurants during the state-mandated closure to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

KALAMAZOO — Southwest Michigan biosciences company Native Traits Corp. plans to use a recent investment to move its high-yield and weather-resistant seed technology into field testing and production.

MUSKEGON — The line was 15 cars long on a recent Thursday evening, with employees shuffling between vehicles and the retail shop to scan IDs and run products out to patrons.

GRAND RAPIDS — In March, organizers at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids were preparing for their biannual soup-tasting fundraiser. Usually, vendors and West Michigan restaurants donate soups for the event. Hundreds of people gather to taste food from the cooler weather season, catch up with one another and support the market.