Small Business

SPONSORED BY SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

The historic $2 trillion federal economic stimulus bill signed into law Friday contains $350 billion in loans for small businesses that could transition into grants.

Michigan’s loan and grant program for small businesses affected by the coronavirus is now accepting applications, state officials announced today.

BATTLE CREEK — The city of Battle Creek’s economic development agency has doubled its emergency loan fund to $1 million as more small businesses are impacted by the coronavirus. 

Leaders of the Small Business Association of Michigan voiced frustration Wednesday with what they consider a lack of clarity on what businesses can stay open under the governor’s stay-home order this week, as well as how it gets enforced.

Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe announced this morning she and her husband have made a $1 million personal donation to a new fund supporting small businesses in Jackson, where the utility is headquartered.

The U.S. Small Business Administration promises to decide as quickly as possible on loan applications from small businesses hurt by the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, unlocking low-interest loans for Michigan small businesses as requested two days ago by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

BATTLE CREEK — Battle Creek Unlimited Inc., the economic development arm for the city of Battle Creek, has established a $500,000 emergency small business loan fund in the wake of COVID-19.

The state intends to create two funds totaling $20 million to support grants and low-interest loans to small businesses that had to close or have been disrupted by the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

The Small Business Association of Michigan has launched a daily webcast today to brief members on the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic and offer guidance for small businesses.

After extending into Kalamazoo in 2019 and preparing for a Newaygo County location this spring, Tandem365 wants to grow further.

GRAND RAPIDS — A business accelerator in East Lansing wants to extend into Grand Rapids this fall to tap into the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and support more high-tech startups.

Dykstra IT LLC, a provider of fully managed information technology services, recently merged into Quantum Leap Inc., a telecommunications provider.

Backers of legislation that would bar employers in Michigan from requiring certain employees to sign a non-compete agreement say they simply want the free market to work.

Corey Hart returned to Grand Rapids last September to find that support for entrepreneurship and startup companies had grown well beyond what it was when he left for California a decade earlier.

Oswaldo Cordova and Evangelina Abundis opened El Globo Restaurant LLC 14 years ago.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated entrepreneurial, progressive, innovative and collaborative local business leaders at its 10th annual EPIC awards Wednesday evening.

MUSKEGON — The origin of HyVIDA Brands Inc. goes back six or seven years when Rick Smith took a taste of sparkling water.

GRAND RAPIDS — The owner of Anna’s House restaurant has voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against the Meritage Hospitality Group over its newly-opened Morning Belle restaurant.

GRAND RAPIDS — The company that owns the popular Grand Rapids breakfast spot Anna’s House has sued the owners of the newly-opened Morning Belle restaurant. 

Since securing a $40 million capital investment last spring, Vestaron Corp. has been assembling commercial and operating teams as it prepares for the broad launch of a brand of eco-friendly pesticides in 2020.

The February deal for Grand Rapids-based tech firm Conway, Dierking & Hillman Inc. allows Red Level Networks LLC to expand its client list, core I.T. services and reach across the state. 

ADA — Software development firm Michigan Software Labs LLC expects to nearly double its headcount as part of an expansion at the company’s Ada location. 

Backed by a key small business advocate in Lansing, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed a legislative package to boost state support for companies operating in the space between small startups and larger corporations.

GRAND RAPIDS — When John Van Tongeren became the owner of Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. in 1985, he did not imagine eventually passing it down within his family. 

Two years before Craig Wassenaar stepped into the role as president and CFO of Skytron LLC, a Cascade Township-based medical device company owned by the Mehney family, the plan for his next role with the business was already well underway. 

Operating a family-owned business comes with unique circumstances and considerations that other companies and corporations don’t face. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The parent company of MiBiz has sold its Revue West Michigan title to Serendipity Media LLC, a Grand Rapids-based custom publisher and marketing firm. 

WYOMING — Midstate Security Co. LLC, a West Michigan-based electronic security and monitoring systems firm, is under new ownership. 

GRAND RAPIDS — An Atlanta-based pharmacy company that serves long-term care facilities and senior housing communities entered the Michigan market by buying a majority stake in TruCare LTC Pharmacy LLC in Grand Rapids.

West Michigan businesses are building strategies to accommodate and support the grand opening of the state’s new billion-dollar cannabis industry, although many still crowd behind a self-imposed shroud of secrecy. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Thornapple River Capital LLC invested $10 million in a Denver, Colo.-based company that developed a digital marketplace for private parties to buy and sell vehicles and borrow money for a purchase.

After a 40-year career at direct-selling giant Amway Corp., former Vice Chairman Bill Payne wanted to find a way to stay involved in the West Michigan business community. 

The burgeoning market for CBD, a health product derived from cannabis plants that avoid the “high” from marijuana, is considered “low-hanging fruit” for the nearly 600 Michigan farmers now growing hemp.

When doctors in Wisconsin wanted to put Bonnie Demos on a morphine pump for pain, she decided instead to move to Michigan and grow her own medicine.

Federal legislation pushed by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters would boost the ability of Small Business Development Centers to help small employers guard against cyber attacks.

While flooding and erosion are wreaking havoc for waterfront businesses and property owners, the changes are creating business opportunities for local marine construction and dock companies, who say they’ve been busy with scheduled projects and inundated with calls in recent weeks.

A new sentiment survey finds business owners still feel good about present conditions, despite outlooks for slower economic growth and ongoing worries about talent and health care costs.

GRAND RAPIDS — Start Garden Inc. says it’s gaining traction on an effort launched two years ago that put more emphasis on diversity.

GRAND RAPIDS — Five Michigan breweries are suing the Michigan Liquor Control Commission over the regulatory agency’s quashing of free bingo promotions at their taprooms.

Shoppers often visit Great Northern Trading Co. to look around and ask about products. Many visitors to the Rockford-based home decor and gift store also pull out their smartphones to compare prices with online retailers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Carl Erickson began thinking 12 years ago about how Atomic Object LLC would eventually carry on without him.

GRAND RAPIDS — Springstead Bartish Borgula & Lynch PLLC plans to move its Grand Rapids headquarters after purchasing space downtown in the First Community Bank building.

majority of retailers across Michigan report higher sales this spring and expect to sustain growth well into the summer.

DOUGLAS — Laundry Tyme, a laundry service company based in Douglas, sold recently to investor Brian Gowen.

Business law firm Kotz Sangster Wysocki PC acquired Rockford-based Van Eck Law PC.

The recent announcement that Grand Rapids Drive founder and President Steve Jbara joined forces with Royal Oak-based startup WaitTime LLC had been five years in the making. WaitTime CEO Zachary Klima said he had leaned on Jbara for guidance since 2004 when he launched the company, which uses a proprietary system to measure crowd density around restrooms and concession stands inside arenas and venues.

GRAND RAPIDS — If Steve Jbara needed a sign that he made the right decision in turning down a recent request to relocate his Grand Rapids-based NBA Gatorade League basketball team to Detroit, he got one rather quickly.