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Small Business

A Kalamazoo-based investment fund that also looks to cultivate and support a new generation of entrepreneurs who want to own a business will use a $10 million investment to scale operations.

HOLLAND — The launch of a brick-and-mortar startup incubator in downtown Holland is the latest effort to cultivate a thriving tech community in the lakeshore city.

Most basketball fans in Michigan recognize Ben Wallace as an iconic figure in Detroit Pistons lore. The 6-foot, 9-inch center helped lead the Pistons to an NBA title in 2004, just one highlight in the four-time all-star’s career. Since retiring in 2012, Wallace has adjusted to life after basketball. His business pursuits also have tied him to West Michigan after he recently bought a stake in Kalamazoo-based Green Door Distilling Co. and also partnered with Rair Cannabis of Michigan, which maintains a location in Lowell, to develop a brand of cannabis products called ‘Undrafted.’ MiBiz caught up with the Hall of Fame player to talk business, basketball and his love for Grand Rapids.


GRAND RAPIDS — Elevator Service Inc., a provider of elevator services for a growing coverage area throughout the Midwest, continued to expand its geographical footprint with another acquisition.

Start Garden Inc. is now accepting pitches from entrepreneurs competing in The 100, a business competition with $300,000 in funding for startups. 

PLAINWELL —  Ownership of asphalt maintenance service company Tustin’s Asphalt Sealing Inc. is changing hands.



A Grand Rapids staple for craft beverages and food, Siciliano’s Market Inc. is selling to new owners after nearly 30 years on the city’s west side.

GRAND RAPIDS — Siciliano’s Market Inc., the family-owned specialty store and launching pad for countless West Michigan breweries, is changing ownership after a decades-long run selling craft beverages and foods and the equipment used to make them.

GRAND RAPIDS — Several hundred protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids Wednesday calling for justice for the family of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man who was recently shot and killed by a Grand Rapids Police officer during a traffic stop. 


GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan couple who launched their business through online platform Etsy in 2014 is now preparing to open their second brick-and-mortar retail store in downtown Grand Rapids.

Inno-Versity LLC and Th3rd Coast Digital Solutions, two portfolio companies of Ada-based family office Century Technology Group Inc., will merge and rebrand as MindSpring LLC, company officials announced.

GRAND RAPIDS — Elevator services provider Elevator Service LLC continued its growth in the Midwest through a recent acquisition.



Public relations and integrated communications firm Lambert & Co. has entered into a new strategic partnership with the largest minority-owned public relations agency in Michigan.

Grand Rapids marketing agency Deksia LLC has merged with Anvil Media, a digital marketing agency in Portland, Ore.

COOPERSVILLE — A West Michigan-based environmental consulting firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it positions to sell the company to a competitor in the industry.


GRAND RAPIDS — Sock retailer boldSOCKS, which sells a wide ranging inventory of decorative socks both online and at a downtown Grand Rapids brick and mortar shop, has been sold and plans to relocate to Fruitport.

GRAND RAPIDS — VNN Inc., a developer of digital tools and media solutions for high school athletic programs, is merging with a tech company that has a long history of servicing the K-12 and college education markets.

A new $409 million state grant program will be available starting March 1 for Michigan businesses that experienced financial hardship as a result of state-ordered shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Richard Maloley, senior security consultant with Grand Rapids-based software and I.T. firm OST, discusses best practices for small and mid-sized businesses to confront cybersecurity breaches and threats. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Charter Growth Capital Fund has acquired a minority stake in Grand Rapids-based public relations and investor relations firm Lambert & Co.

Brighton-based startup has lofty goals to help build out a nationwide 5G network that combines renewable energy, high-speed telecommunications and advanced mobility.


GRAND RAPIDS — Native News Online, a Grand Rapids-based, Indigenous-led news outlet covering tribal issues nationally, has been selected as the 10th member of URL Media, a national network of media organizations owned and operated by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. 

Nearly $237 million in federal funding coming to the state is planned to support small businesses in Michigan through lending initiatives and equity investments in venture capital funds.

GRAND RAPIDS — The owners of Brick Road Pizza Co. announced today that the family-owned staple will be closing its doors Sunday after 13 years in business on Wealthy Street.


GRAND RAPIDS — Digital and I.T. consultant OST has expanded its Cloud service capabilities through a recent acquisition.

The $20 million in capital that West Shore Bank Corp. raised toward the end of 2021 will go to support further commercial loan growth.

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller family-owned businesses are generally better positioned to overcome labor and supply chain challenges than non-family-owned companies. 


KALAMAZOO — SPARK Business Works in Kalamazoo has acquired Houston, Texas-based digital marketing agency Convergent1.

Small business advocates are calling for more support from the state Legislature to help companies that they say are not recovering at the same rate as other sectors in Michigan’s economy. 

Retailers had better sales in November compared to the same period in recent years, a statewide trade group reported Wednesday. 


Access to capital, markets and networks are the three primary barriers to success for Black entrepreneurs, according to Jamiel Robinson.

BYRON TWP. — Rohr Gasoline Equipment Inc. — a longtime provider of petroleum equipment sales, installation and service work — has been sold to an eastern Michigan company.

GRAND RAPIDS — Running and active lifestyle specialty store Gazelle Sports has announced plans to open a sixth retail location in downtown Grand Rapids in 2022.


CADILLAC — A decades-old Northern Michigan fireplace and chimney business was recently purchased by four of its own employees.

Michigan’s economy overall is recovering from last year, but lingering effects from COVID-19 are having a disproportionately negative effect on small businesses, according to a new report released by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

With fewer COVID-19 restrictions on in-person shopping and rising consumer confidence, retail experts and small business owners hope to see an increase in holiday shopping compared to 2020


ADA TWP. — Grand Rapids business consulting firm Gantry Business Solutions LLC has acquired Amicus Management Inc.

GRAND RAPIDS — When Michelle Olson joined Lambert & Co. in 2019, she knew what she wanted to do for the integrated marketing, public relations and investor relations firm.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids’ Economic Development Office is expanding the number of businesses that can apply for COVID-19 adaptation grants of up to $10,000.


Angela Hill offers a unique perspective in providing  cybersecurity and general I.T. services to clients. Hill went to work with the U.S. Navy after 9/11 as a military intelligence analyst and a federal contractor for organizations including the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

GRAND RAPIDS — Five years ago, Jason Richardson couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a tricycle freezer cart he found on Craigslist. It was the first step in starting artisan popsicle business Any Colour You Like Treats LLC with his wife, Korin Hollinshead.

WYOMING — Performance Plus Quick Oil Change Centers Inc. has added to its portfolio of oil change and car wash stores with the acquisition of Muskegon-based Van’s Car Wash Inc.


GRAND RAPIDS — Jo Ellyn Clarey, former president and director of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council, has worked to promote the often-overlooked roles that women have played throughout local history.

As the COVID-19 pandemic heads into its 19th month in the U.S., bankruptcy attorneys remain perplexed about why a once-expected wave of bankruptcy filings has not yet occurred.

Michigan’s emerging cannabis market is marked by many complexities, including an ongoing period of industry consolidation, a push for racial equity and a move to ensure businesses of all sizes can operate. Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, is overseeing it all. He recently discussed the state’s “nuanced market” that has caused division among industry advocates and the shifting dynamics that are leading to license changes and ongoing dialogue with businesses.


Retailers across the state reported a small increase in sales in August over July.

A majority of Michigan small businesses oppose President Biden’s recently announced vaccine mandate as staffing shortages and rising costs remain the biggest obstacles for business owners, according to a new survey by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Sportsman Tracker Inc., creator of the HuntWise mobile app, announced this week that it has sold the business to a Texas-based company that offers online recreational safety education and certification programs.