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Small Business

GRAND RAPIDS — Tommy’s Boats LLC, a retailer of ski, wake and pontoon boats, is expanding its operations in California with the acquisition of Larson Marine Inc., a Stockton, Calif.-based watersports dealer.

GRAND RAPIDS — Rende Progress Capital, a small business lender to companies owned by entrepreneurs of color, will host a networking event Thursday that’s designed to introduce minority-owned businesses to one another and prospective new customers.

A spike in small business formations in Michigan that began in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic continues and easily outpaces the national growth rate.


GRAND RAPIDS — The owners of one of the few Black-owned businesses in downtown Grand Rapids say Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge has closed after being open for less than a year.

A pair of West Michigan distributors of construction and industrial supplies have been acquired by a leading direct-to-jobsite construction tools distributor specializing in commercial, industrial, mixed-use and infrastructure end markets.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan Tree Services, an operating company of Grand Arbor Group Inc. of Grand Rapids, has been acquired by a New Bedford, N.Y.-based professional tree and shrub care company. 



BENTON HARBOR — A new partnership hopes to improve the technical assistance available to Native American entrepreneurs in Southwest Michigan so they can have an easier time turning their business ideas into new startups and access funding. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Vertically integrated cannabis company Fluresh LLC has opened applications for the next round of participants in its cannabis accelerator program for entrepreneurs.

The Biden administration last month proposed new rules for employers that could have sweeping implications for small business owners who rely on independent contractors.


GRAND RAPIDS — Family-owned Bond Fluidaire Inc., a distributor of pneumatic and hydraulic hardware, components and systems, has sold to a southeast Michigan automation supply company.

WYOMING — Family-owned National Truck Brokers Inc., a Wyoming-based truckload carrier for grocery customers across seven Midwest states, has been acquired by a leading transportation and logistics company.

GRAND RAPIDS — Growing software design and development consultancy Atomic Object LLC has opened its fourth office with a move into the Raleigh, N.C. market.



Grand Rapids ranks highly among cities nationwide for its number of employee-owned companies.

The Small Business Association of Michigan is building opposition to a proposed federal rule change that could affect millions of workers who earn their living as independent contractors.

BYRON CENTER — Information technology service provider People Driven Technology Inc. has acquired a Southeast Michigan tech consulting firm to build out its cybersecurity offerings after a two-year string of organic growth.


TRAVERSE CITY — Hodges Fastener Corp., a woman-owned distributor of a range of fasteners, has sold to an Ohio-based firm that has been consolidating fastener distribution companies across the Midwest. 

Small business lender Northern Initiatives will receive $100,000 from major foundations annually over the next three years to help grow small businesses across Michigan.

Leaders in West Michigan’s Asian-American business community seek $6 million to provide a variety of programs and services to underserved communities, including minority- and women-owned businesses in the region.


HOLLAND — The founders of digital consulting firm Twisthink LLC will transition company ownership to workers under an employee stock ownership plan.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids has issued a civil infraction against The Broadway Avenue, claiming that the venue’s policy of only hosting weddings between biological men and women is discriminatory and violates Grand Rapids’ human rights ordinance.

BATTLE CREEK — The federal Economic Development Administration has awarded economic development organization Battle Creek Unlimited more than $522,000 in grants to bolster a pair of food startup programs.


GRANDVILLE — The owners of vegetation management company Integrity Tree Services LLC have sold the business to its workers via a new employee stock ownership plan.

TRAVERSE CITY — Technology startup incubator 20Fathoms has received a $50,000 state grant to help fund a position that can provide additional support services in the tech entrepreneurial space.

GAINES TWP. — Joining forces with its largest competitor will give Mobile Defenders LLC an opportunity to become part of the dominant player in the wholesale mobile device repair parts market with increased economies of scale. 


GRAND RAPIDS — A new cocktail bar as well as a second location of Broad Leaf Brewery & Spirits are set to open in the coming months in a former restaurant on Bridge Street NW where The Sovengard formerly operated. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Jessica Ann Tyson is taking the concept of a dog-friendly restaurant a step further by making canines her main customer.

GRAND RAPIDS — Amanda Rostic on Wednesday night passed out samples of tea she batch brewed the night before with a special ingredient she thinks will set her product apart from other brands: hops.


Eight West Michigan companies will each receive $25,000 grants under a state program that helps small manufacturers adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.

GRAND RAPIDS — Longtime family-owned window covering retailer The Shade Shop Inc. has sold to another family-owned company in the Grand Rapids area.

MIDDLEVILLE — Backed by a group of business partners from West Michigan, The Botanical Co. is opening the first adult-use cannabis dispensary in the village of Middleville.


GRAND RAPIDS — Third-party data center maintenance provider Service Express Inc. has acquired the similarly focused, Beaverton, Ohio-based Sherlock Services Inc.

GRAND RAPIDS — After selling the church management software company he started in 2014, Jon VerLee decided to put his money into assisting other entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

GRAND RAPIDS — Royals is relaunching next week as a pizza restaurant after the former East Hills brunch spot underperformed since launching at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


A mobility app for people with disabilities is experiencing strong growth since launching commercial operations in West Michigan two months ago, and now is considering expanding its services to more communities and health care providers.

The state has begun the process to dispense nearly $237 million in federal funding to support small businesses.

GRAND RAPIDS — A husband and wife duo are moving their catering and personal chef business into the building formerly occupied by neighborhood staple Cherry Deli and Catering in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood. 


JetCo Federal President Sue Schweim Tellier has stepped into a new advocacy role after being named vice chairperson of the Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) executive committee.

Emily DeRitter formed Grand Rapids-based wedding coordination company The Best Day Details LLC in late 2019. 

Heartland Home Services LLC, a private equity-backed HVAC, plumbing and electrical home service provider, has added a second Wisconsin-based firm to its portfolio of companies in recent months.


A Zeeland furniture startup that seeks to play into the growing home office trend has secured $1.5 million in capital from investors around Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — A Grand Rapids-based microlender has rebranded from Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women to Grow as it focuses on increasing the number of loans it deploys to small businesses. 

Chris Weavers is “terrified” by a court ruling handed down Tuesday that immediately raises wages for workers who rely on tips to offset their hourly wage.


GRAND RAPIDS — American Storage & Logistics is expanding its capabilities with acquisitions of two equipment suppliers based in the northeastern United States. 

SPRING LAKE — The owners of Seven Steps Up are closing their music venue after 11 years of hosting concerts and live performances in Spring Lake in an attempt to recoup mounting costs from an underperforming concert series they host for the city of Grand Haven.

Grand Rapids-based economic development nonprofit People First Economy has helped launch a statewide campaign advocating for voting rights and access initiatives.


GRAND RAPIDS — A group of about 30 people gathered on Monday to protest a new wedding and events venue at a former Grand Rapids church where owners have a policy against hosting same-sex marriages.

GRAND RAPIDS — Third-party data center maintenance provider Service Express Inc. has acquired two companies: Middleville-based cloud hosting provider ​​iInTheCloud LLC and Danbury, Conn.-based managed service provider iTech Solutions Group LLC.

After spending nearly a decade in workforce development, Katie Hall set out to develop software that allows employers to better utilize their current employees.