Business News

Muskegon's 'Blue Economy': University Research Corridor report says 1 in 5 Michigan jobs are water-related

MUSKEGON, MI – Community and state leaders gathered at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon on Thursday, Oct. 9 to discuss the continued focus of promoting a "Blue Economy" in Michigan.

The meeting was the third stop on Michigan's University Research Corridor's five-city tour. The URC is an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University which aims to transform, strengthen and diversify the state's economy.

"Blue economy" is an ongoing economic development strategy based on the preservation, research and health of water resources that is being embraced in Muskegon because of its long history with its greatest natural resource.

"Water defines our community as it does many in Michigan and in the Great Lakes," said Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen. "We're very fortunate that the blue economy is putting a spotlight on Muskegon, community in the midst of transition."

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Alcoa Power & Propulsion Names Whitehall, MI Operations as it's global headquarters

Sept. 30, 2014--- Alcoa Power and Propulsion, a business unit of Alcoa Engineered Products and Solutions, has officially designated Whitehall, Mich., as its business unit headquarters, returning to its roots after nine years in Cleveland, Ohio.  “APP’s Whitehall operations has been the center of Alcoa’s investment casting technology since 2000 when it became part of Alcoa’s downstream business segment,” said Michael Pepper, APP President. “When it comes to investment casting advancements, the aerospace industry comes to Whitehall for the next generation of engine components, and much more.”

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Construction to finally start on downtown MATS transit center; interim bus station planned

September 28, 2014--- After 10 years of waiting, Muskegon County is poised to start construction in November on a $2 million downtown transit center.

An interim station will be housed in another downtown building, the Masonic Temple. Koens updated the Muskegon County Commissioners on his progress when they met as the Transportation Committee Thursday, Sept. 25.The county could be soliciting bids from construction firms in early October, and break ground in November.

The bus center on Morris Avenue is a terminal and transfer center for the Muskegon Area Transit System, called MATS, as well as a docking center for Greyhound and other private bus companies. Development of the project had been stalled for about 10 years after $2 million in federal money first became available for the project in 2003. County commissioners tackled the project again in November 2013. Drawings for the renovated transit center include expanded restroom facilities, room for more customer service staff, an indoor waiting area and a plaza next to the building on Second Street.

Click here to read the full article on MLive


Not your parents' downtown: The 'change' decade, but more to do; see then-and-now photos

MUSKEGON, MI -- When Jonathan Seyferth talks about how far downtown Muskegon has come in the past decade, he pulls out the "sandbox photo."

The photo, taken almost exactly 10 years ago, is shocking and inspiring at the same time. Taken from what had been the Sears entrance to the Muskegon Mall, it shows a desert-like landscape and two boarded-up raggedy buildings.

That's it. That was the core of downtown Muskegon on Aug. 3, 2004.

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Muskegon Community College set to break ground on $9.6 million science center

MUSKEGON, MI -- Muskegon Community College is set to break ground on its new science center, and the public is invited to help celebrate.

The groundbreaking will begin at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Stevenson Center courtyard.

The $9.6 million project is part of several building and improvement plans approved by voters last November. The state is paying for $4.65 million of the project while the college is funding the rest.

Click here to read the full article on MLive


Muskegon manufacturer of Sun Dolphin kayaks planning $5 million expansion

K.L. Industries is planning a $5 million expansion and adding dozens of new jobs to keep up with the booming demand for its kayaks.

Most of the expansion will come in the form of four new machines that can produce the popular kayaks that can be found in such stores as Dunham's, Dick's Sporting Goods and Wal-Mart.

"We've just been getting really, really busy. We've been getting busier and busier," said Tom Harris, president of Ameriform Acquisition, 1790 Sun Dolphin Drive, which is K.L. Industries' parent company.


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HR Maria ship carrying wind-turbine towers expected at Port of Muskegon on Aug. 28

August 21, 2014 --- The last of four European cargo ships due to arrive in the Port of Muskegon this summer is expected to do so on Aug. 28, according to Ed Hogan, vice president of operations for Port City Marine Services.

The 468-foot HR Maria is carrying wind turbine towers bound for the Beebe Community Wind Farm in Gratiot County, south of Mount Pleasant and north of Lansing.

The arrival date is subject to change, Hogan said.

The heavy lift dry cargo vessel was built in 2008 and is owned by the German company Hammonia Reederei. As of Wednesday, Aug. 20, the ship was located in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal, according to

The HR Maria is the last of four ships due to arrive at Muskegon's Mart Dock this summer. All four have been carrying wind turbine parts. The HHL Congo was the most recent to arrive when it was docked on Aug. 18.

Two more "salties" -- the HR Constitution, which arrived in Muskegon on Aug. 12, and the HHL Elbe, which arrived on July 8 -- have also made an appearance this summer.

Click here to read the full article on MLive.


Second-year surge: See the Lakeshore Art Festival organizers' estimate for 2014 attendance

August 19, 2014 --- The Lakeshore Art Festival, in existence for two years, has already established itself as one of the premier art events in West Michigan.

The 2014 festival, held on July 4-5, drew an estimated 50,000 people to downtown Muskegon, according to event organizers. The estimated attendance is an increase from 2013.

The 2014 event featured two new additions including an Art Carve, in which students and professors from Baker College's Culinary Institute of Michigan created sculptures made entirely of food. Several other interactive art activities were also part of the festival.

"We received a lot of positive feedback about the interactive art opportunities this year and we hope to build upon this for next year's event," said Festival Director Carla Flanders.


There were 240 art vendors, 47 children's events and 18 street performers at the 2014 event. A juried art and craft fair and craft market exhibition were also held. Winners included:

Fine Art/Fine Craft Juried Winners (Juried by artist, professor and curator Brett Colley):

  • First Place - Best in Show: Michael Onweller, Wood from Lapeer.
  • Second Place: Casseus Cantave, Mixed Media from Kissimme, Fla.
  • Third Place: Suzanne Lienhart, Colored Pencil from League City, Texas.
  • Honorable Mention: Shinichi Sato, Acrylic Paint from Kentwood.
  • Committee Choice: Basi Kalbinder, Wearable Fiber from Yelm, Wash.

The MLive People's Choice Awards

  • First Place: Robert Knoll, Timberline Handcrafted Woodwork from Twin Lake.
  • Second Place: Katie Dyer, Tickled Pink Bowtique from Muskegon.
  • Third Place: Erin Lipps and Trisha Musk, The Driftwood Spot, Muskegon.

Click here to read the full article on MLive.



Drinking the Muskegon Kool-Aid

Midsize cities in West Michigan could soon see more live-work options coming online.

The reason: Developers are eyeing myriad opportunities for mixed-use projects beyond cities such as Grand Rapids, albeit on a reduced scale.

For proof, one need only tour the downtowns of cities such as Kalamazoo and Muskegon, where developers are navigating complex incentive programs to redevelop aging facilities and bring new amenities online throughout the region.

“I think you are seeing good growth in every midsize downtown in the state, even though they may not all get headlines,” said Andrew Haan, an associate director in the state’s Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives.

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$2.5 million upgrades at Cinema Carousel to be completed by November

IMG_0082 August 17, 2014 --- Cinema Carousel's extensive makeover  is getting closer to completion.

 Loeks Theaters Inc., which owns the Muskegon-area's  largest movie theater facility at 4289 Grand Haven Road, has  begun an extensive modernization of its auditoriums.

 Remodeled auditoriums, additional seating, sound and  movie screen upgrades and beer and wine sales are all part  of the $2.5 million rejuvenation project, which began in  March.  The remodeling follows last summer's digital cinema  upgrade at the Getty Drive-In, 920 E. Summit Ave.

"We believe one of the best ways to serve Muskegon is to reinvest in it," said J.D. Loeks, president and CEO of Loeks Theaters Inc. "Our family has been part of the West Michigan movie-going scene for 70 years. We know our guests will love the innovation in seating, presentation and our food and beverage options."

Initial upgrades in March included the remodeling of a single auditorium, No. 13, and the acquiring of a liquor license to allow for beer and wine sales, which began about two weeks ago, according to Steve VanWagoner, vice president of marketing and public Relations for Celebration! Cinema.

So far, reaction to the new auditorium has been largely positive, according to a press release.

The process to remodel the remaining auditoriums recently began and will continue until mid-November. Beer and wine sales were recently added as well and reserved seating for all seats will be added by Dec. 1 in time for the busy holiday release season.

VanWagoner said there are currently no plans to offer food from the Oscar Bistro,located at its Studio C! Meridian Mall location in the Lansing area, in Muskegon.

"We believe in the power of story-telling," Loeks said. "It brings people together in meaningful ways. For a long, long time, the Muskegon market has been a good one for telling stories to movie-goers. They've built great memories here. It's been our pleasure to serve the Lakeshore community."

Celebration! Cinema movie theatres are located in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Gaines Township, Grandville, Lansing, Muskegon/Norton Shores, Okemos, Kalamazoo/Portage, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph and Mt. Pleasant.

Click here to read the full article on MLive.


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