Category Archives: Chamber News

Muskegon Named America’s Strongest Town!

 

Muskegon, MI – Muskegon, Michigan is the winner of the 2018 national Strong Towns Contest! This contest is hosted by the Strong Towns organization, a non-profit community development group, who recognizes America’s most sustainable and resilient communities. Muskegon entered the month long contest competing in a bracket-based competition where finalists included Annapolis, Maryland; Greenville, South Carolina; and Kent, Ohio.

 

Muskegon was recognized for its ability to implement change that makes the community stronger.  The judges acknowledged Muskegon for its “wildly successful farmers market, commitment to rebuilding the downtown and its good use of waterfront,” according to the Strong Towns announcement.

 

“It truly was March Madness for Muskegon because we had to jump through hoops each week to make it to the contest finals,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.  The contest included writing essays about the town, sending photographs, a podcast and a live webcast with the City Manager, Frank Peterson and Chamber President, Cindy Larsen.  Members of the strong town organization across the country along with local community residents casted their votes for their favorite community. In the championship round, Muskegon, Michigan won against Kent, Ohio by 4 percent!

 

“Muskegon has come so far in recent years.  It is great for the residents to receive this recognition. Strong Towns isn’t about one project or one person, it’s about everyone chipping in to move a community forward,” says Larsen.  “Anyone who visits will see that Muskegon truly is a strong town and has set the framework to be successful for the next generation.”

 

For more information about the community or the award, visit www.muskegon.org or www.strongtowns.org.

 

Michigan vs. Ohio?

 

 

Muskegon, MI – Muskegon, Michigan is now in the championship to beat an Ohio city in the national “Strong Towns” contest. Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that promotes communities who are financially strong and resilient through the work of local citizens or “people who care”. Both Muskegon, Michigan and Kent, Ohio were selected to enter the bracketed competition based on criteria sent to cities and towns across the nation. Both cities have won their brackets and are now considered two of the most resilient communities in the country.

 

“Like many places, we have worked hard to reinvent our community,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. Muskegon has demonstrated resilience as they celebrate one billion dollars in investment throughout the county. “We rallied the people who care about their hometown and now have something exciting to show for it with new and expanding businesses, contemporary housing and award-winning festivals and events.”

 

 

Since Muskegon is the only city in Michigan competing for this award, the community is asking for support from all Michigan residents. Starting Monday, March 26, Michiganders are being asked to vote for Muskegon at https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/3/21/watch-and-vote-in-the-strongest-town-contest-championship-here

 

“By shining the light on Muskegon, we are promoting Michigan as a great place to live, work and play,” says Frank Peterson, City Manager. Help Michigan beat Ohio in this friendly competition by casting your vote for Muskegon today!

 

We’re in the Final Four!

Muskegon, MI – Muskegon is in the Final Four and we’re not talking basketball! Muskegon made the final four towns in a contest that rates the resilience of local communities. Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that promotes communities who are financially strong and resilient through the work of local citizens or “people who care”.  The Strong Town education strategy is to recognize communities that are making economic and social progress through this competition.

 

Muskegon was selected a few weeks ago to enter the bracketed competition based on answers to a questionnaire sent to cities and towns across the nation. Muskegon made it to the final 16, then elite 8 and now the final four.

 

“I received a questionnaire a few weeks ago and thought, I might as well fill this out and see what happens, “says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “With all the progress we have made in recent years, we have so much to brag about.”

 

Muskegon’s direct competition for this round is Annapolis, Maryland, another waterfront community.  Starting today, March 20, Michiganders are being asked to vote for Muskegon at www.strongtowns.org/strongesttown.

 

Since Muskegon is the only city in Michigan competing for this award, the community is asking for support from all Michigan residents!  “Like many Michigan communities, we have worked hard to reinvent our city,” says Larsen. “Muskegon is the poster child for all of the Michigan cities who have rebuilt their downtowns, expanded business, and attracted new tourists. We rallied the people who care about their hometown and now have something exciting to show for it.”

 

About the Chamber

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization on the lakeshore representing over 1,200 businesses and organizations. The Muskegon Chamber represents businesses of every size and type all over West Michigan. The Chamber is celebrating 125 years in operation working to sustain an environment for business success through community leadership, promotion, inclusive business advocacy and valued member services. The Muskegon Chamber is a four-time award winning Chamber, being named Chamber of the Year for the State of Michigan in 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2015 by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.

 

March 2018 E-news

Click here to view March 2018 E-news.  

 

Unique Spin on Traditional Home Show

Hiring local supports our economy and helps to create more jobs. The Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + DIY Show taking place at Fricano’s Event Center this Friday and Saturday will showcase hometown business connections in an intimate setting. This unique show brings back that positive feeling you get when working with local businesses, families, friends and neighbors.

 

Muskegon businesses hosting a booth at the home show include: Shepherd Shoreline, Family Farm & Home, Keene Lumber, A Cap Plumbing, First General Credit Union and nearly fifty other exhibitors. For a full list of exhibitors, visit www.MuskegonHGS.org.

 

This year’s show brings elaborate landscaping displays by Mike Rose Landscaping and Double L. Enterprises; Special Décor Space provided by Blended Furniture and Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts; Craft Beer and Wine Tastings along with a Bloody Mary Bar, and incredible prizes including a Kayak from KL Outdoor!

 

For those who want “do it yourself” education, you can join cooking and floral demonstrations, landscaping seminars and much more. Highlights include:

• Skeeter Parkhouse, floral expert, from Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts
• Cooking demo’s by Kitchen 242
• Kitchen Design 101 with Lowe’s Home Improvement
• Creating home décor using thrift store finds with Meg Boertman
• Top 10 Landscape Plants with Rich Colby

 

 

For a complete list of seminars, visit www.MuskegonHGS.org.
General admission tickets are available online at MuskegonHGS.com for $5. Each ticket is also valid for $3 off Fricano’s Pizza during the Home Show. Advance tickets are recommended, however tickets will be sold at the door. Supporting local businesses is a win/win for residents and the community. For more information, visit our website or find us on Facebook.
The Home, Garden + DIY event is a production of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce with support from Shepherd Shoreline Gutters and Garage Doors, Family Farm & Home, Keene Lumber, Fricano Place, Staples, A Cap Plumbing, First General Credit Union, Envigor, Padnos, Wasserman’s Flowers and Gifts, Blended Furniture Market and Michigan Metal Roofing.

 

 

Art festival rates as a national fan ‘favorite’

An art festival in the region has added to its list of accolades.

 

Thousands of art fans ranked Lakeshore Art Festival as one of their favorites Small Town Art Fairs to attend for the second consecutive year.

 

“I was incredibly excited to hear we made the list again this year,” Lakeshore Art Festival Director Carla Flanders said. “The Lakeshore Art Festival continues to lead the way in attendance, sustainability and interactive art. I am thrilled to be part of the great team that makes everything happen.”

 

The voting results were tallied from surveys that were completed by attendees from around the country.

 

Participants were asked to choose their favorite art fairs in the country, as well as in categories, such as Favorite Small Town Art Fair. Attendees were also asked to list their attendance preferences, buying habits and artists, among other things. The surveys were issued by ArtFairCalendar.com.

 

“We are incredibly proud of all the work going into this festival and the artists who play such a big role in this artful event,” Flanders said.

 

Artists can register for this year’s Lakeshore Art Festival at lakeshoreartfestival.com. The deadline for registration is Feb. 1.

 

The event will be held on July 6-7.

 

February 2018 E-news

 

Click here to view February 2018 E-news

 

Home Show Features 50+ Local Exhibitors, Seminars, and Latest Trends

As more people move to the Muskegon Lakeshore, the need for local contractors is growing. The upcoming Muskegon Home, Garden, and DIY Show will feature over 50 local businesses including everything from windows, siding, gutters, and painting to home décor, furniture, landscaping and much more! The Muskegon Home Show is taking place at Fricano Place Event Center on March 9 and 10.

 

“We’re happy that this show keeps on growing and are thrilled to support so many locally owned businesses,” says Carla Flanders, Show Director. “If you are new to Muskegon or need home renovations, you will be able to connect with a variety of exhibitors at this year’s show.”

 

Back by popular demand, the hands-on “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) and Educational seminars will feature floral presenter Skeeter Parkhouse of Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts, downtown living, home financing and much more!

 

A few highlights of the show include; décor space by Blended Furniture,  garage door solutions by Shepherd Shoreline, offerings from Family Farm & Home, remodeling solutions from Keene Lumber and plumbing assistance from A Cap Plumbing.  Plus, green spaces by Mike Rose Landscaping and Double L Enterprises.

In addition to exhibitors and seminars, the home show provides thousands of dollars in prizes, and discounted Fricano’s Pizza with the purchase of a $5 home show admission ticket! Kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available online at MuskegonHGS.com. Advance tickets are recommended. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

 

The Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY event is a production of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce with support from the Lakeshore Home Builders Association, Fricano Place, Shepherd Shoreline, Family Farm & Home, Keene Lumber, A Cap Plumbing, Staples, Wasserman’s Flowers and Gifts, and Blended Furniture Market. For sponsorships or additional information about the show, contact Carla Flanders at 231.722.3751 or cflanders@muskegon.org

2017 Newsmaker of the Year!

Muskegon, MI – Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, accepted the Grand Rapids Business Journal 2017 Newsmaker of the Year award this morning at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. This award recognized Muskegon’s redevelopment over the year which includes over $1 billion in investments.

 

Over 600 West Michigan business and community leaders were on hand to witness the award recognition. “It is great to see Muskegon being recognized for its economic success,” says Larsen. “The Watch Muskegon campaign was launched at the perfect time to capture the amazing story of Muskegon’s evolution.”

 

The community engagement strategy formulated by the Watch Muskegon Campaign has tapped the energy of over 100 community stakeholders and thousands of area residents. “From large businesses and small business start-ups to investments by education and government, Muskegon’s resurgence is now unstoppable,” according to the Chamber President.

 

Also recognized at this event was GE Aviation/Norton Shores facility. They are one of many growing manufacturing companies located along the Muskegon Lakeshore.

 

In addition to winning the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year award, Larsen and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber won the Newsmaker award in the economic development category.

 

Each year, Grand Rapids Business Journal reporters and editors meet to discuss nominees for the upcoming Newsmaker of the Year honors.  This year, more than 225 choices were considered before determining the top three nominees in 16 different categories. The top selection from each category was recognized with an industry Newsmaker award, and the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year was selected from among the winners of those 16 categories. The top Newsmaker in each category and the overall Newsmaker of the Year were announced during the event.

 

 

Economic Forecast is Bright for Muskegon County!

Muskegon, MI – If you liked the growth and prosperity in Muskegon County in 2017, you’re going to love 2018. That was the message of economist, Dr. Paul Isely, in his annual economic forecast delivered this morning at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s Business for Breakfast, a sold-out gathering of 400 local business leaders.

 

While 2017 was a strong year for Muskegon’s business community, 2018 predictions indicate continued upward momentum. “Everything points to 2018 being a nice and smooth year for the business community,” says Isely, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Seidman School of Business at Grand Valley State University. Isely and his team gathered data on a local, regional, and national basis to determine what the economic future of Muskegon County looks like.

 

For Muskegon County, Isely projects an upswing in sales growth. “We are seeing an acceleration in Muskegon that we aren’t seeing in other places when it comes to new business developments and employment,” says Isely.

 

The percentage of job growth predicted for Muskegon County in 2018 is expected to outpace the rest of West Michigan. And while young workers are the slowest age group to grow, more millennials are moving to Muskegon versus those leaving. However, the lack of workers will remain a challenge for business owners. 2018 will be the year where businesses will build more with fewer workers.

 

In addition, the housing prices throughout the nation are expected to increase. Muskegon County, as a whole, is expected to sustain an affordable housing market in comparison to the West Michigan region. Looking 18 to 24 months into the future, there is a good possibility for a recession to take place. While this could affect local businesses, Isely is confident that West Michigan, especially Muskegon, will not feel a significant impact predicting the coming downfalls to be shallow and not felt by most Muskegon industry sectors.

 

Overall, this year is anticipated to be a good year for Muskegon. It will be important for the business community to keep an eye on several issues, including the new tax law, potential inflation, and oil prices.
Dr. Isely holds his Ph.D. and M.S. in Economics from Purdue University and a dual B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Click here to view Isely’s presentation.

 

About the Chamber
The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization on the lakeshore representing over 1,200 businesses and organizations. The Muskegon Chamber represents businesses of every size and type all over West Michigan. The Chamber is celebrating 125 years in operation working to sustain an environment for business success through community leadership, promotion, inclusive business advocacy and valued member services. The Muskegon Chamber is an award-winning Chamber, being named Chamber of the Year for the State of Michigan in 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2015 by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.