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Small Business

GRAND RAPIDS — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist was in Grand Rapids Monday touting the Whitmer administration’s Economic Jumpstart Plan for small businesses as billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funding comes into Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Eligible small businesses located on the west and south sides of Grand Rapids can soon apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Directors at the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have promoted Guillermo Cisneros to president and CEO from executive director, citing his “outstanding performance.”

BYRON CENTER — After selling off his telecommunications firm in the mid-2000s, Adam Harris ventured into another emerging technology field poised for rapid growth: renewable energy.

GRAND RAPIDS — Cindy Schneider was ready to apply for a small business loan in March 2020 to open a new restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids when COVID-19 put her plans on hold.

Art collecting is often seen as only accessible to people willing to invest substantial funds, and an activity generally reserved for the extremely wealthy.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation that eases restrictions on the self distribution of spirits while also giving local distillers an easier path to bring canned cocktails to market.

GRAND RAPIDS — When Winsome Kirton worked in advertising, she was often disappointed by executives’ uninspired corporate gifts that didn’t match the company’s values. 

When restaurants were forced to change how they did business during the pandemic, Garrick Pohl saw an opportunity to test the market for a curbside service that focused on local small businesses.

KALAMAZOO — A grant program launched last year to provide crucial relief to small businesses in Kalamazoo at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will offer a second round of funding to 90 additional businesses.

MUSKEGON — Agri-Med LLC’s three dispensaries — which operate as Park Place Provisionary in Muskegon, Edmore Provisionary in Edmore, and Exit 9 Provisionary in Nunica — will be rebranded and operate as New Standard stores under an agreement announced this week. 

PORTAGE — For years, Le Nails owner Jennifer Nguyen provided manicures for some of her regulars on a strict two-week schedule. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. is closing two of its Grand Rapids locations at the end of the month as the company rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Restaurant owners can start applying today for $28.6 billion available under the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

After taking a year off, Start Garden is bringing back a business pitch competition that awards $1,000 to 100 contestants and $20,000 to 10 finalists.

GRAND RAPIDS — Saugatuck Brewing Co. announced that it has purchased the former Creston Brewery, giving the Douglas-based brewer a foothold in Grand Rapids.

Turn Key Installation LLC, a Grandville-based contracting company that specializes in conveyor systems, made a recent strategic acquisition by purchasing another West Michigan business.

GRAND RAPIDS — Chris Wawee, owner of MWS Wholesale Auto Outlet in Grand Rapids is expanding operations just north of his business after acquiring property that houses Al’s Trailer Mart.

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying shutdowns of bars, brewpubs, taprooms and tasting rooms had an undeniably negative effect on West Michigan craft beverage makers and their balance sheets.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dennis Grumm’s brand of can seamers went from a luxury amenity to a requirement for many craft beverage producers.

health plan that for years has provided coverage for employees at beer and wine wholesalers in Michigan now looks to offer the same benefits to craft brewers, distilleries and wineries across the state, providing a potential lower-cost option to consider.

Looking back on a 2020 plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ed Collazo didn’t sound like a business owner who just saw his company’s revenue plummet by half a million dollars for the year.

Opening a cannabis dispensary comes with significant barriers, but West Michigan entrepreneurs are looking at opportunities other than retail storefronts to get their foot in the door of the burgeoning industry.

Brewery Nyx LLC owner Jessica Stricklen recently unveiled plans for what will be the first gluten-free microbrewery in Michigan, to be located at 506 Oakland Ave. SW in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city’s first cannabis dispensary has launched a business incubator called Fluresh Accelerator, which aims to increase access and equity in the growing cannabis industry.

Kent County restaurant owners will get a break from paying food service licensing fees for 2021 after county commissioners approved the one-time waiver on Thursday.

GRAND RAPIDS — From the moment Steven Martinez-Thiel launched his Grand Rapids-based food startup Basalt, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to derail it.

GRAND RAPIDS — Brothers Chris and Andy Schaefer managed through cost overruns and construction delays during the COVID-19 pandemic and recently opened their new Pux Cider Taphouse in the city’s Midtown neighborhood.

Venue owners celebrated in late December when the $900 billion federal stimulus package was passed and included $15 billion earmarked for live venues. But more than two months have passed and funding applications still haven’t been released, pending guidance from federal officials.

GRAND RAPIDS — Owners of indoor event centers are pushing state officials for expanded capacity limitations and a clearer reopening timeline as key COVID-19 metrics continue to decline and vaccines become more widely available.

BYRON CENTER — It’s hard for Break Room Therapy owner Dawn Levian to tell whether she is getting more customers by word of mouth since opening two years ago or because people are looking for an outlet for pandemic-induced stress. 

GRAND RAPIDS— Safety training company TrainMOR saw business come to a screeching halt last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to the general industrial clients that it serves.

The Biden administration on Monday announced a series of changes to the Paycheck Protection Program that are aimed at improving access to federal COVID-19 relief loans for small and minority-owned businesses.

Max Friar, managing partner at Grand Rapids-based M&A firm Calder Capital LLC, routinely found his company passing on potential clients because of the size of their businesses.

Working in the wedding industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread restrictions on large gatherings has been stressful for Jennifer Elenbaas.

Tami VandenBerg successfully applied for the first round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans for her small businesses in 2020.

KALAMAZOO — As she connected with businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, long-time professional recruiter Sheri Welsh noticed that HR departments were becoming largely depleted as the economic slowdown decimated many industries.

As clients began reaching out in recent weeks to gather documents and apply for forgiveness of their federal Paycheck Protection Program loans from last year, executives at Level One Bank urged them to wait. 

Robin Burns took over as head of the Grand Rapids-based Family Business Alliance in November after nearly 12 years as marketing director at the Rhoades McKee law firm in Grand Rapids. The FBA was created in 2006 as a partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Grand Valley State University and later reorganized as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit. With more than 150 member companies, the FBA’s mission is to ensure family-owned businesses in the region are passed down to future generations. Burns spoke with MiBiz about what’s next for the organization.

Michigan small businesses were approved for more than $1.5 billion in federal loans during the first two weeks of the new Paycheck Protection Program the U.S. Small Business Administration launched earlier this month.

The new round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans includes a number of changes from the prior funding intended to aid small businesses hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPRING LAKE — It has been nearly a year since Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake had a crowd of people packed together for a live music performance, but owners Gary and Michelle Hanks hope to see shows return in some capacity in 2021. 

SPARTA TOWNSHIP — Stoney Ridge Winery LLC officially opened in June 2020 after a few soft opening events at the start of the pandemic.

GRAND HAVEN — A West Michigan-based company that developed a patented ultraviolet light technology to kill off pathogens on surfaces and in the air will see its technology deployed in select McDonald’s restaurants.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. plans to open applications next week for the $58.5 million in grant funding to aid small businesses and entertainment venues that were closed or curtailed by the most recent state-ordered restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration begins taking applications next week for the new round of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans to aid small businesses ailing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has let legislation die that would have waived late fees and fines on businesses that have yet to pay their summer 2020 property taxes.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a driving force that influenced product development and launches for Altus Industries Inc. in 2020.