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Small Business

SPONSORED BY SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

A Grand Rapids-based mobile application, software and web development firm has changed ownership after company leaders sold to a pair of employees.

The Pure Michigan campaign that touts the state as a travel destination should return soon to spur fall and winter travel and help tourism-reliant small businesses that were hit hard this summer by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOLLAND — Owners of a new specialty market pushed back the opening this spring of Market Zero in downtown Holland because of the pandemic, but they are already eyeing an expansion to the storefront next door.

GRAND RAPIDS — Leaders of the Grand Rapids Symphony got creative over the past six months with new ways of sharing music with the community. But as capacity restrictions begin to lift on venues, the orchestra is gearing up again for in-person audiences.

Thousands of small businesses across West and Southwest Michigan have received grant funding from a state COVID-19 relief program.

More than seven in 10 small businesses in Michigan expect further sales declines from the COVID-19 pandemic in the months ahead, according to new survey results from the Small Business Association of Michigan.

In the summer of 2019, Chris Ake and a couple of fellow tech entrepreneurs entertained the idea of building out artificial intelligence-fueled smart scheduling software they were already using to quickly and easily schedule meetings.

Grand Rapids Community Media Center — which runs WYCE-FM radio station, GRTV, The Rapidian news outlet and the Wealthy Theatre — continues to serve the community during the pandemic but had to scale back many of its operations this year.

At Tech Defenders — a business that specializes in repairing, refurbishing and reselling laptops and mobile devices — processing a used device and finding it a new home used to take about 60 days.

GRAND RAPIDS — Some financial relief could be on the way for Kent County businesses that have been forced to shut down because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

Dozens of Michigan independent music venue owners are calling on state officials to create a $10 million pandemic relief fund to help them avoid closing permanently.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Opportunity for Women is accepting applications through Sept. 26 for its ReStart Kent loan program. 

In early May, MiBiz began featuring small businesses across Western and Southwestern Michigan in a section called “Coping with COVID-19.” The goal was to tell the stories of small businesses adjusting to the global pandemic and capture their outlook at this historic point in time.

GRAND RAPIDS — The owners of Brewery Vivant have gotten creative out of necessity when it comes to virtual schooling for their two children, sharing the responsibilities with two other families in their neighborhood.

The origins of the Bradford Co. date back to 1897, when W.J. Bradford started a paper company on the south side of Chicago that made candy boxes and popcorn bags.

Results from a recent global survey show most family-owned businesses in West Michigan still lack a formal succession plan to transition the company to the next generation of leadership.

Family-owned businesses have been key contributors to West Michigan’s culture around charitable giving, but the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering questions around a seeming lack of succession planning may change the nature of that philanthropy in both the short and long term.

GRANDVILLE — U.S. Small Business Administration officials visiting Michigan this week say the federal agency has undergone a major transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic while recognizing inequities in a key relief program for small businesses.

LANSING — Small business owners and employees can access extra educational support for their children during this unprecedented school year as many classes will be held virtually because of COVID-19. 

KALAMAZOO — Laurel and Terry Parrott sold Kalamazoo House Bed & Breakfast in 2014 and moved to Arizona, but the pandemic has brought them out of retirement to return as innkeepers of the historic building.

HOLLAND — Live music stages in West Michigan and across the country have been largely empty over the last six months with the COVID-19 pandemic suspending traditional concerts. 

MUSKEGON — New investors were aligning this past spring to back a capital round for HyVIDA Brands Inc.

DOUGLAS — About 15 people were hard at work on Aug. 7 hammering, sanding and painting away to construct what will become Isabel’s Market + Eatery — a specialty market, street food eatery and event space in Douglas.

HOLLAND — GP Reeves Inc. put to use its nearly 50-year history and expertise in precision dispensing to make innovations to what has become a staple of the COVID-19 pandemic era.

As the COVID-19 pandemic battered Michigan’s economy through the spring and early summer, the number of people forming their own businesses grew exponentially.

Nearly 4,000 small businesses across a 13-county region of West Michigan have applied for state pandemic relief grants.

If an employer follows the rules and complies with requirements to maintain a safe workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, business advocates argue the company should not have to face liability claims if someone there contracts the coronavirus.

BELMONT — As many people stayed home and ventured out less for several weeks during the closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, auto insurers responded.

Wenger’s Bowling Center, the oldest bowling facility in Grand Rapids, has hosted patrons for the last 100 years, but not so much in the last four and a half months.

HOLLAND — When officials with the Park Theatre first decided to close in early March because of concerns of spreading COVID-19, they weren’t anticipating a complete lack of concerts or events in the historic venue for months to come.

More than half of Michigan retailers had higher sales in June from the prior month and expect about the same sales volume through the summer and into fall, according to a recent survey.

Running a small business is stressful enough, and then small business owners recently have had to deal with operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, which only magnifies that stress. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Bing Goei, who owns Eastern Floral and The Goei Center event venue, hopes more people take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously so economic conditions don’t worsen for businesses like his.

A pair of state grant funds totaling $115 million launches today as another source of financial assistance for small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kent County officials have provided $40,000 to help minority business owners facing language barriers access COVID-19 relief funding.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. plans to launch new grant funds next week totaling $115 million to provide financial assistance to small businesses, farms and agricultural processors recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a sector with already thin margins, restaurants and other small food businesses are just looking to stay above water as pandemic restrictions slowly lift.

couple of small business deals Andrew Longcore has been approached about lately illustrate the effects on the M&A market this year from the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — Alternative lender Liquid Finance LLC completed its first deal last month with financing for a Pennsylvania-based maker of farm equipment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed deal flow for Jon Siebers, an M&A attorney at Grand Rapids-based law firm Rhoades McKee PC. Siebers said closings are down and the number of deals he has in the pipeline are “probably down a little bit, but not much.” Siebers spoke with MiBiz about how the pandemic has affected the M&A market and offered some advice for both buyers and sellers.

GRAND RAPIDS — When the coronavirus pandemic hit, a pair of Grand Rapids natives scrapped their initial plans to open a cigar lounge on the city’s south side, deciding instead that a fresh food market and weekly farmers market would be a better resource for their neighborhood.

For nearly five years, the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan has helped Grand Rapids property owners reduce their energy usage and hosts an annual competition celebrating the “biggest losers” statewide.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce expects to receive up to 1,000 applications by the end of the week from across Kent County from small businesses seeking assistance from a $25 million grant fund set up to ease the economic crush of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Kent County small business relief program opened its second round of funding today, making grants available to companies that have already received COVID-19 assistance.

TRAVERSE CITY — Private equity-backed CloudAccess LLC, a Northern Michigan-based cloud hosting provider, has completed the add-on acquisition of Miller Media Inc. 

Kent County’s top official says it is “critically important” that a $25 million business relief program launched this week is accessible to minority-owned businesses, following recent criticism that the program isn’t properly compensating minority business and social equity groups for their assistance.

Michigan retail sales remained in the “tank” during May as many stores remained closed, although a monthly survey and activity index suggest a rebound this summer after reopening.

Eight Grand Rapids technology startups are among dozens of businesses statewide selected to receive a combined $3 million from Michigan’s Tech Start Up Stabilization Fund.