Category Archives: Chamber Blog

Muskegon’s Excellence Award Winners Announced

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce will be recognizing those who are making a lasting impact on the community at the first annual “Excellence Awards” Luncheon. This year’s winners set the standard of excellence every day in their business sector.


The 2019 Excellence Award Winners are:

  • Retail – Sanborn’s Inc.
  • Manufacturing – Geerpres, Inc.
  • Non-Profit – Read Muskegon
  • Service – The Station Grill
  • Tourism – USS Silversides Submarine Museum
  • Community Engagement – CWC Textron
  • Entrepreneur – Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has a long history of recognizing innovative business leaders and has awarded an outstanding entrepreneur(s) each year since 1982. This year’s Excellence Awards are expanding on the past award program and awarding winners in seven categories.


What: Excellence Awards Luncheon
When: Friday, April 26, 2019 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Holiday Inn & Conference Center Downtown Muskegon, 939 Third St., Muskegon, MI 49440


If you would like more information about the awards, program, or to register for the event, contact the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce at 231.722.3751 or visit

Hot off the press: Muskegon County and Area Map

The 2019 Muskegon County and Area Map is now available, in circulation and online at . The map is a valuable guide for locals and hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to Muskegon County.


This free map is more than just a cool tool to help people find their way around Muskegon. It highlights local attractions, beaches, trails, and boat launches, and it is a great way to share Muskegon and the Muskegon area to those who are not familiar with the lakeshore.


The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce produces the full-color map. The map is available at the Chamber’s Welcome Center and throughout Muskegon County at restaurants, hotels, shops and other locations.



What: 2019 Muskegon County and Area Map

Cost: Free

Distribution: The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center located at 380 W. Western and a variety of locations across the county.

Produced by: The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

CEO of Nichols to Present the Excellence Awards

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce announces that Michael (Mike) Olthoff, CEO of Nichols, will be this year’s speaker at the Excellence Awards. Olthoff has been selected as the presenter of the Excellence Awards as he embodies the spirit of the award. As a prominent business leader and philanthropist in Muskegon, Olthoff sets the example of excellence in his life every day.


“I am honored to be the speaker for this year’s inaugural event honoring excellence,” says Olthoff. “We have to remember that excellence in our lives is a journey and not a destination.”


The Excellence Awards will be presented to businesses or organizations that exemplify excellence in each of the following categories: Manufacturing, Tourism, Retail, Service, Entrepreneurship, Non-Profit, and Community Engagement.


“Selecting Mike to be the presenter for this inaugural year of the Excellence Awards was an easy decision,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “He has a proven track record of excellence in his business career.”


The event will take place on Friday, April 26 at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Downtown Muskegon.


For more information or to register to attend please visit

Excellence Awards to Highlight Local Businesses


The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce announces a new spin on recognizing local businesses and organizations, the Business Excellence Awards. The event will take place on Friday, April 26 at the Muskegon Country Club. Nominations are open until Friday, March 15, 2019.


The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has a long history of recognizing and celebrating businesses and entrepreneurs. In this changing global economy, the health and success of an entire community can better the business climate and make an area a prime location to live, work, and play.


“Since the model for organizational success is constantly changing, the chamber’s former entrepreneur awards have been expanded to recognize organizations in multiple categories,” says Cindy Larsen Chamber President.


Nominees should demonstrate excellence in a number of the following areas; quality products or service, profitable growth and innovation in products or process, investments in facilities and/or people, commitment to the environment and show dedication to diversity and inclusion.


“Going forward we will not only recognize an entrepreneur each year, but the chamber will also seek out excellence in manufacturing, tourism, retail, service, non-profit and community engagement,” says Larsen.


Locally owned businesses or non-profits are preferred, but all nominations will be accepted. The Community Engagement category is for organizations who have given back to the community.
The nomination form and supporting information can be submitted to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce by Friday, March 15, 2019. For more information on sponsorship or to nominate a business please visit

Home Show Expands Footprint and Adds New Seminars

The upcoming Muskegon Home, Garden, and DIY Show is expanding! With the opening of the new Gallery Level, the event will feature over 50 local businesses. The show will include everything from windows, cabinets and floors to home décor, lighting, landscaping and much more! The Muskegon Home Show is taking place at the Fricano Place Event Center on March 8 and 9.


“We are excited to open the Gallery Level and feature local businesses like Jeremy Church Photography and Create.a.frame Studio that will allow guests to paint their own art décor or purchase a lovely photo for their homes,” commented Kristin Knop, Show Director.


Seminars by local businesses are one of the most popular features of the show. This year’s seminars include cooking with Chef Char from Kitchen 242, floral arranging by Skeeter Parkhouse of Wasserman’s, DIY chalk painting with Pretty in Paint and much more!


Event highlights include; décor space by Blended Furniture, garage door solutions by Shepherd Shoreline, lending options by First General Credit Union, and landscaping ideas by Mike Rose Landscaping. Plus, FREE tulips while supplies last, thousands of dollars in giveaways, and discounted Fricano’s Pizza!


Tickets are only $5. Kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available online at Advance tickets are recommended, but tickets will be sold at the door.


The Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY Show is a production of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce with support from the Lakeshore Home Builders Association, Fricano Place, Shepherd Shoreline Gutters & Garage Doors and First General Credit Union. Other home show supporters are listed online at

Silent Observer Keeping Our Community Safe!

The Muskegon County Silent Observer program made rewards of $10,650 for crimes solved in 2018.  “This is one of our largest payout years in recent history,” says Tom Schultz, Chairman of the Silent Observer volunteer committee and Chairman of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  The payouts for 2018 involved 6 cases related to retail theft, 4 cases related to fugitive arrests, and one high profile murder case.


There was also a payout this year for the “Party Patrol” program.  The Party Patrol’s focus is on underage drinking and drug parties.  Just one call to help break up parties where underage drinking or illegal drug use are occurring can prevent serious harm and save the lives of many.


“Silent Observer is a fantastic tool that allows community members to assist law enforcement in keeping our community safe”, says Schultz.  The high tech program allows individuals to report crimes anonymously by calling in tips with total confidentiality.  Computer software blocks cell phone numbers and computer addresses by replacing that information with confidential code numbers.  The Silent Observer administrators cannot see the identity of who is calling or emailing tips.  When information results in an arrest or breaks up an illegal party, the code number can release the reward payout that can then be cashed anonymously.


The Silent Observer committee is made up of a number of non-profit organizations in the community.  They work in partnership with local law enforcement professionals.  The funds raised for the program, the software and the rewards are held in an account managed separately by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber Foundation.  “New technology and community engagement are making a difference in the safety of Muskegon County”, said Schultz.


To find out more about the program or make a donation go to

Justin Pelham Joins Muskegon Chamber Staff

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce announces the addition of Justin Pelham to the chamber staff.  Pelham joins the chamber as the Communications Specialist. His responsibilities will include managing e-communications, chamber brand publications, and media relations.  “We are excited to have Justin on the team as he brings new skills in technology that will help expand the capabilities of the chamber”, says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.


Pelham, a disabled veteran and recent graduate from Grand Valley State University, has experience in many forms of multimedia communications.  He will work directly with business owners and managers when they are trying to promote their products and services through the chamber website and social media.  “I look forward to working with local businesses and hope my skills will bring value to the chamber and to the community”, says Pelham.  Justin can be contacted at and 231-724-3174.

Environmental Awards, National Accolades and a Call for Artists!


PHONE: 231-724-3176




January 16, 2019


Environmental Awards, National Accolades and a Call for Artists!


MUSKEGON, MI – The Lakeshore Art Festival takes art and environmental stewardship to the next level each and every year.


The newly released 2018 Sustainability Report outlines the ways the festival continues to make progress towards a zero waste event. Over the last five years, the festival has diverted 7,510 pounds of material from landfills, achieving a diversion rate of 21.5% – the best of any festival in Muskegon County! Many factors play into this accomplishment, including compostable serving-ware requirements, multi-purpose recycling containers scattered throughout the festival, and the use of free refillable water stations. To review the complete report, visit


The festival continues to increase the number of exhibitors and move up in national rankings each year. Sunshine Artist Magazine, known for high-quality fine art and craft content, ranked the Lakeshore Art Festival #11 in the nation. Art Fair Calendar, an outlet promoting attendance at art fairs, just announced the Lakeshore Art Festival as the 5th best Art Fair in the country!


“This recognition shows us that exhibitors and guests are talking about the show on a national level. These efforts are rooted in the dedication to excellence from our talented team, quality art exhibitors and an amazing guest experience. All of these factors not only generate a buzz for Muskegon County, but have a direct impact on the local economy, both of which are major priorities for the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce,” commented Carla Flanders, Lakeshore Art Festival Director.


Exhibitor applications will be accepted until Friday, February 1, for the festival taking place Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6, 2019. Artists who create original works of art in either the fine art or craft categories are encouraged to apply online via Zapplications:




About Lakeshore Art Festival

The Lakeshore Art Festival is always the first Friday and Saturday in July. The Lakeshore Art Festival features a unique blend of 350+ fine art and craft exhibitors, street performers, specialty food booths, interactive art stations, children’s activities and so much more in beautiful Downtown Muskegon, Michigan. Local businesses interested in supporting this locally and nationally recognized festival through sponsorship can contact Carla Flanders at For more information visit


December 2018 E-News

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