Category Archives: Chamber News

Local Agents of Change are Recognized

NOVEMBER 10, 2017


Nine community individuals and organizations were recognized as the 2017 Agents of Change by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. The Agents of Change program awards those who have made a positive contribution to the Muskegon Lakeshore.


“The Muskegon Lakeshore is quickly evolving,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “These individuals and organizations are dramatically changing the landscape of our community, and deserve recognition for their efforts.”
This year’s Agents of Change were recognized at the Tenth Annual Agents of Change Event on November 7, 2017 at The Handsome Hobo Restaurant & Bar.  This event was produced by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with WGVU Public Media.

Here are the 2017 projects, individuals and businesses recognized as 2017 Agents of Change: (see pictures attached)


City of Whitehall (Colby Street)

Reinventing the main street of a downtown is a thankless job.  The City of Whitehall worked with all the stakeholders to see this major development through to completion.  Thanks to the city, downtown Whitehall is fresh, new and re-energized!  Colby Street is once again a major destination attracting businesses and tourists to the lakeshore.


Ann Meisch

One of the most exciting projects to hit Muskegon County this year was the opening of Western Market.  These (10) small retail shops have captured the hearts of residents and visitors alike. Ann Meisch worked tirelessly to get these shops open in time for the tourism season. She is the spirit and champion for the success of these small businesses.


Dr. Dale Nesbary

Dr. Nesbary has put the word “community” back in Muskegon Community College.  He is always on the move to create the best environment for education success.  Millions of dollars have been invested in state-of-the-art programs and facilities.  Thanks to Dr. Nesbary’s leadership, Muskegon Community College has been named the best Community College in Michigan!


TJ Chappel

There is something about Muskegon Heights Club Director, TJ Chappel that inspires people to be their best.  The Boys & Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore now has a fully operational Muskegon Heights program thanks to TJ’s leadership.  TJ and his team are making a difference as they bring creative talent and enthusiasm to the community.


Hamburger Mikey

A new take on an American classic, Hamburger Mikey, has brought life to Midtown with hamburgers and fries!  The staff’s upbeat personalities and colorful environment bring people together over a good meal. They created a destination restaurant popular with young and old.


Muskegon Polish Festival

A local committee came together with a vision for a Polish Festival the entire community could enjoy.  They did it.  One of Muskegon’s newest events, the Muskegon Polish Festival is attracting more than just a Polish crowd.  Great music, dancing and food are the highlights of this special celebration.


Great Lakes Fresh Market

The team at Great Lakes Fresh Market are transforming an old grocery chain into modern attractive facilities with healthy food choices.  Great Lakes Fresh Market is bringing quality products back to the neighborhoods they serve.  Working morning, noon and night, the organization is investing, hiring, and bringing great customer service to the community.


La Colombe Coffee

A Philadelphia based firm, La Colombe Coffee, chose the location of Norton Shores to make their exciting new product, draft lattes.  They are making a serious investment in this state-of-the-art production and packaging process here in Muskegon County.  We are proud that they have brought their visionary success to this area, investing and hiring locally.


KL Outdoor

This locally owned family business has grown to become the largest Manufacturer of Kayaks in the world!  Through a series of reorganizations and mergers, KL Outdoor is leading the way in outdoor recreation products.  Choosing downtown Muskegon for the company headquarters is icing on the cake.  We salute the vision and determination of this hardworking team.



CONTACT: Jodi Kittle
Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce


Environmental Awards, National Accolades and a Call For Artists



November 2, 2017




MUSKEGON, MI –  The Lakeshore Art Festival continues to take art and environmental stewardship to the next level. The 2017 Sustainability Report was just released and outlines ways that the festival continues to make progress towards a zero waste event. This year, the festival piloted a new program which allowed guests to fill reusable cups at a free water station instead of buying water bottles. This program allowed for the reduction in consumption of approximately 640, 16oz. plastic water bottles.


The Lakeshore Art Festival continues to lead the way in creating an environmentally focused event. Food vendors are required to utilize compostable or post-consumer serving-ware, tons of waste are diverted from landfills through recycling and composting efforts and an environmental education booth is hosted in the Children’s Lane. The festival’s “Keepin’ It Green” initiative was recognized by the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition with a 2017 Sustainability Champion Award. To review the complete 2017 Sustainability Report, visit: (


The Lakeshore Art Festival is 1st in the state of Michigan for Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows and ranked 27th in the nation by the Sunshine Artist Magazine which is known for high-quality content for the fine art and craft industry.


The festival is also in the running for the 2017 America’s Best Art and Crafts Fair. You can help by voting for the Lakeshore Art Festival here: Be sure to type in “Lakeshore Art Festival, Muskegon MI” where applicable. Lakeshore Art Festival was voted “Favorite Small Town Art Fair” in 2016.


“It has been our goal since the inception of the Lakeshore Art Festival to raise the bar on quality artists, unique event enhancements and artful community engagement. The recent recognition is bringing positive attention to the Lakeshore Art Festival and Muskegon both locally and nationally,” commented Carla Flanders, Lakeshore Art Festival Director. “Now is the time where we recruit artists across the country to exhibit in the show. We are glad to see the influx of high-quality artists and crafters wanting to be part of this nationally recognized show!”


Fine artists and crafters that want to register for the 2018 Lakeshore Art Festival can visit




CONTACT: Carla Flanders
Lakeshore Art Festival Director


Chamber honors Lakeshore ATHENA winners

The chief operating officer of a metal components maker has been named the 2017 Lakeshore ATHENA Award winner.


Kelly Springer, of Holland-based Metal Flow Corporation, accepted the honor at the 13th-annual Lakeshore ATHENA Awards luncheon this month at Trillium Events in Spring Lake.


The ATHENA Award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates professional excellence and community service and assists women in the attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Stefanie Herder, marketing and communications manager at the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, was also honored as recipient of the 2017 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award.


An ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is given each year to an emerging leader who exemplifies excellence, creativity and initiative in his or her profession, serves as a role model for young women and works to improve the quality of life for others in the community.



Click here to learn more!

Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Realigns Staff

PHONE: 231-722-3751
FAX: 231-728-7251



October 20, 2017


Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Realigns Staff


Muskegon, MI – As the community grows and business changes, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has realigned its staff positions and areas of service. Carla Flanders has been promoted to Vice President of Marketing where she is in charge of all chamber related marketing activities, staff positions, and areas of service. This role includes being the administrator of the community Watch Muskegon Image Campaign along with being the Director of the award-winning Lakeshore Art Festival.  All of the Chamber’s marketing will operate under Carla’s leadership.


“Carla is committed to making things happen in this community by utilizing her high energy, marketing skills and determination” according to Cindy Larsen, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President.


Carla Flanders has been working with the chamber for over 5 years and was previously the business owner of CMF Marketing and Events where she managed and produced a number of large scale community events in West Michigan.


In addition, three new staff members have been hired in the area of events and communications.  Jodi Kittle is the new Communications Manager and she is responsible for all e-communications, chamber brand publications, and the chamber’s website and social media accounts.  Kristin Knop is the new chamber Events Director.  Knop manages over 50 chamber events such as the Business for Breakfast, Stir Networking Event (formerly known as the Business After Hours), Entrepreneur Award Luncheon, the Chamber Classic Golf Outing, Member Celebrations and more. Megan Jones is the new Events and Promotions Specialist. She works hand-in-hand with Flanders on the Watch Muskegon Campaign and the Lakeshore Art Festival.


Dawn Johnson, Vice President of Membership, has grown the membership department to include Member Services Liaison, Sue Carpenter.  They work in tandem to recruit and retain service members with valued programs and benefits. Additionally, Johnson was recently named Chair of Midwest Board of Regents for U.S. Chamber Foundations Institute for Organization Management. Also supporting the organization in accounting, data management, referrals and customer service are Marie Chabotte and Pati Webster.


The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has won numerous awards at the state and national level and has over 1,200 business members along the Lakeshore.





October 2017 E-news

October 2017 E-news

September 2017 E-news

September 2017 E-news

Annual Sell-Out Show Opens Exhibitor Registration



The popular Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY show is returning to Fricano’s Event Center March 9 and 10, 2018. Last year’s booth spaces sold quickly, so interested businesses are encouraged to apply early.

The 2018 Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY show will feature over 50 exhibitors including everything from windows, siding, gutters, and painting to home décor, furniture, landscaping and much more! Back by popular demand, the Do It Yourself and Educational seminars will highlight floral design, furniture refurbishing, backsplash tiling, gardening and more!



In addition to exhibitors and seminars, the home show will provide fun kids activities, thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes and discounted Fricano’s Pizza with purchase of $5 home show admission ticket. Kids 12 and under are free.


Those interested in applying to exhibit are encouraged to visit Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For sponsorships or additional information about the show, contact Carla Flanders at 231.724.3176 or



Tickets will go on sale February 1, 2018.




Athena Awards Honor Women’s Leadership

FERRYSBURG – Stefanie Herder couldn’t hold back the tears when she was introduced Tuesday afternoon as the recipient of this year’s Athena Young Professional Leadership Award. The honor was presented to Herder – the marketing and communications manager for Visit Grand haven – as part of the Lakeshore Athena Awards presentation luncheon at Trillium Events in Ferrysburg.


To continue reading, visit the article at Grand Haven Tribune! 


Muskegon’s Lakeshore Art Festival Moves Up in National Ranking!

MUSKEGON, MI – The Lakeshore Art Festival ranked #27 in the nation and 1st in the state of Michigan for Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows by the Sunshine Artist Magazine. This ranking was up from #83 position in 2015. Sunshine Artist Magazine, known for high-quality content for the fine art and craft industry, ranks the nation’s most-profitable fine art and craft festivals based on subscribers’ sales performance each year resulting in – Sunshine Artist Magazine 200 Best!

Click here to learn more!




NEWS RELEASE                                                                             



Thirteen area lakeshore women will be honored at this year’s 13 Annual Lakeshore ATHENA Award Luncheon.


GRAND HAVEN, Mich., September 18, 2017 –   Patti Poppe, President and CEO of CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy will be the keynote speaker for the 13th Annual Lakeshore ATHENA Award luncheon. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at the Trillium Catering and Event Center,

17246 Van Wagoner Road, Ferrysburg |Spring Lake.  Poppe was elected to this position in July 2016 leading Michigan’s largest utility and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility. Poppe held a variety of automotive management positions and served as power plant director at Detroit, Michigan based DTE Energy before returning to her hometown of Jackson to join Consumers Energy in 2011. She earned a master’s degree in management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University.  As President and CEO, Poppe has focused on connecting the company more closely with its customers and adapting lean operating system principles throughout the utility.


The Lakeshore ATHENA Award Luncheon is a program of The Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg; the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce and is presented annually to recognize outstanding lakeshore women who have demonstrated excellence in their business or profession, have provided valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in their community, assist women in reaching their full potential and who exhibits the spirit of regional collaboration.   This year we celebrate eight ATHENA Nominee Finalists and five ATHENA Young Professional Nominee Finalists.


2017 ATHENA Nominee Finalists

Liz DeLaLuz ~ Greater Ottawa County United Way

Darcy Komejan ~ Children’s Advocacy Center

Reyna Masko ~ Ottawa County Court Investigator

Geri McCaleb ~ City of Grand Haven Mayor

Jennifer Owens ~ Lakeshore Advantage

Kelly Springer ~ Metal Flow Corporation

Rachel Terpstra ~ Gielow Groom Terpstra & McEvoy, PLC

Mirka Wilderer ~ Evoqua Water Technologies


2017 ATHENA Young Professional Nominee Finalists

Elizabeth Carson ~ The Shoreline Center

Stefanie Herder ~ Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Colleen Hill ~ Huntington Bank

Elizabeth Kidd ~ Community Foundation of the Holland / Zeeland Area

Nicole Paquette ~ Community Foundation of the Holland / Zeeland Area



Reservations are required for the Tuesday, October 3, 2017 event.  Cost to attend is $45 per person for Chamber members, $55 per person for non-members or $430 for corporate table of eight.  A portion of all tickets sales supports the ATHENA Scholarship Program.  Reservations can be made by calling The Chamber Grand Haven 616.842.4910 by September 27, 2017 or you may register on line at  PNC Bank is the premier sponsor of the Lakeshore ATHENA® Program.


CONTACT:  Pamela Blake

The Chamber






Other ways to get involved

Volunteer for the Lakeshore Art Festival

A unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the shoreline in historic Downtown Muskegon. More than 300 artists and crafters will be showcased with fine art in the park, crafts, children’s activities and Michigan food market – all wrapped up in a huge downtown street party atmosphere!   Come out and join us on July 6th,  and July 7th, 2018.

More Information

Join Watch Muskegon

Muskegon has more to offer than ever before. Join the conversation, movement and Watch Us Go!

More Information