Ferris building renovation in downtown Flint to get $2.5 million grant

FLINT, MI — The state awarded a $2.5 million Michigan Strategic Fund grant to support the Flint Ferris Wheel Innovation Center and 100K Ideas in downtown Flint.

With the renovation of the seven-story building comes 100K ideas, an innovation platform that is expected to “put a new spin on the way innovators approach the startup process by offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ to support them from concept to commercialization,” according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“Not only will this project redevelop a seven-story vacant building in downtown Flint, but the business climate and entrepreneurial hub will add vibrancy, people on the street, and a viable way forward for many Flint residents well into the future,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of the MEDC. “Our hope is that entrepreneurial businesses graduating from the space will continue to thrive in downtown Flint, locating their businesses to surrounding buildings and commercial spaces.”

Read entire story at MLive.

Huntington Bank to invest $5.4M in downtown Flint, bring in 60 jobs

FLINT, MI — Huntington National Bank plans to expand its call center in downtown Flint, investing nearly $5.4 million in renovating its Saginaw Street complex and creating 60 new jobs.

A $450,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund brought the overall cost to relocate the bank’s call center to Flint lower than a competitive site in Ohio, according to a Michigan Economic Development Corporation news release.

Along with the creation of 60 new jobs, Huntington plans to invest $5.4 million in building renovations at the complex, formerly the regional headquarters of FirstMerit, to expand its call center. Huntington acquired FirstMerit in 2016.

Read entire story here at MLive.

St. Clair County Special Report in Crain’s Detroit Business

Businesses are growing in the Blue Water region, the craft beer is brewing, and the pace of development continues to accelerate. Through it all, philanthropists, business owners, educators, and real estate developers are collaborating in innovative ways to build competitive talent pipelines, attract investors to new ventures, and invigorate downtown life. Read about the investment firm that chose to locate its $19 million fund in St. Clair instead of Chicago, the brewery that’s planning a $5 million, 10,000-beer-barrel expansion, a “reverse scholarship” that pays people to relocate to the area, and more in our Crain’s Michigan Business special report: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170312/NEWS/170319980

For more information about St.Calir County EDA, visit: http://www.edascc.com/


Business expansions, community revitalization projects, more gain Michigan Strategic Fund approval

LANSING, Mich. – Projects expected to generate nearly $187 million in total investment and create 1,445 jobs in Michigan gained approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“The Michigan Strategic Fund took on an extensive agenda that promotes a wide array of new economic opportunities for the people of Michigan,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Today’s actions continue to demonstrate a commitment to keep Michigan on the path toward our future that leads to more jobs and better lives for our residents.”

Huron, Inc., founded in Lexington (Sanilac County) in 1943, manufactures complex tubular assembly components for automotive OEMs engines and transmissions. The company has been awarded new contracts and plans to expand its Worth Township facility, investing $12.9 million and creating 181 jobs. As a result of the expansion, the company has been awarded a $1.4 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Worth Township is offering support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. For information on careers with Huron, visit http://www.huroninc.com/huronweb_013.htm.


Company contact information:

Huron, Inc.
Rick Cook, CFO


About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community and talent development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at www.mitalent.org for more information on Michigan’s online marketplace for connecting job seekers and employers. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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I-69 Thumb Region Selects Winner of the Food & Beverage Business Contest

(DAVISON, Mich. – January 23, 2017)  Today, seven businesses vied in the “Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage Business Competition,” with Elk Street Brewery in Sanilac County taking home top honors and the $5,000 grand prize.       IMG_8447

The final round of the business competition was held today as part of the 5th Annual Regional Summit, hosted by the I-69 Thumb Region at the Davison Country Club. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, respectively, were awarded to second-place winner Harsens Island Brewery (St. Clair County) and third-place finisher The Tap Room at Bird Creek Farms (Huron County).

“This competition has given us great exposure and pride because we’re representing a geographic area,” said Anne Hasenbusch, who owns Elk Street Brewery with her husband, Ron. “The prize money will allow us to almost double the size of our tap room from 1,800 square feet to 3,400 square feet.”

“It will also allow us to do a larger distribution of our beer as well as expand our menu.”

Each of the seven businesses that competed advanced to the finals after winning the county-level contests. The I-69 Thumb Region includes Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola counties.

The other contestants were: Town to Town Gourmet Pastries (Shiawassee); Olympus Fare Salsa (Genesee); The Mulefoot Gastropub (Lapeer); and Fostoria Bread Factory (Tuscola).

The business competition was created to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners with starting or growing their craft food or beverage businesses.  In doing so, the competition will help retain and cultivate Michigan businesses by:

  • Providing capital to expand production and increase jobs;
  • Growing activity that adds value to Michigan’s agricultural commodities; and
  • Expanding economic activity in communities throughout the region.

“The I-69 Thumb Region established the competition to support and encourage more businesses in the region to leverage Michigan’s strengths in agriculture,” said Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “The prize money is meant to help craft food and beverage businesses scale up, and serve customers beyond the immediate area.”

Judges for the final round were: Terry Cross, Founder/CEO Winward Associates; Robert Funk, Senior Vice President/Chief Lending Officer, Lakestone Bank; and Jeannine Schweihofer, Meat Quality Extension Educator, MSU Extension.

The half-day regional summit was also used to recap major projects and successes of 2016, and feature expert panels on talent and real estate development opportunities in the seven-county region.

The I-69 Thumb Region is a partnership of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Flint & Genesee Chamber, Lapeer Development Corporation, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corporation and Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation.

Craft food and beverage competition boosts Thumb businesses

This fall, the I-69 Thumb Region economic partnership has been supporting area craft food and beverage businesses with the Catapult Your Craft business competition.

The partnership consists of seven counties; Genesee, St. Clair, Lapeer, Shiawassee, Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac. In each county, first and second place prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 were awarded in November to entrepreneurs and small business owners with the express purpose of starting new craft food and drink businesses, or helping existing ones grow.

In Huron County, the top winner, Bird Creek Tap Room, presented a need for funding for additional fermenters to expand their brewing business and capacity, according to the Huron County EDC. In their first year of production, the new brewery was already unable to meet demand, limiting its revenue, which the added equipment would boost.

Read entire story here at The Keel.

Cargill Breaks Ground on $19 Million Animal Feed Plant in Owosso

Owosso – Through an important public/private partnership, Cargill today broke ground on a new animal feed production facility in the City of Owosso.

They recently acquired a nearly 20-acre site from the city, located at 1509 W Oliver St, which will house a new 75,000 square foot, $19 million plant focused on providing custom animal feed products to the dairy industry. The company expects to be operational by December 2017, with plans to employ eight people at the start.

“The City of Owosso and the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership have been wonderful partners on this important investment project for us,” said Tom Taylor, a commercial director for Cargill’s animal feed business in the U.S. “Additionally, this centrally-located facility will enable to us to better serve the growing dairy population within Michigan, which is one of the top 10 dairy producing markets in the U.S.”

Read the entire story here at Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership.

DTE Energy matches $100,000 in development grants for St. Clair, Harbor Beach

Grants to support community redevelopment following retirements of coal-burning power plants

DETROIT, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — DTE Energy has matched two economic development grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist St. Clair County and the City of Harbor Beach redevelop property following retirements of DTE coal-fired power plants. The EDA granted $50,000 each to St. Clair and Harbor Beach.  DTE matched each grant, contributing a total of $100,000 to help mitigate economic and social impacts of plant retirements in these two cities.

In June, DTE Energy announced it will retire three coal plants in Michigan by 2023, including the St. Clair Power Plant in East China Township, and replace this capacity with a mix of newer, more modern and cleaner sources of energy generation such as wind, solar and natural gas. DTE’s Harbor Beach Power Plant was retired in 2013.

“DTE is fundamentally modernizing the way we produce energy for Michigan – shifting from aging coal-fired plants to cleaner energy sources,” said DTE Energy President and COO Trevor Lauer. “We recognize these plants have served communities for decades, providing jobs and significant revenue for municipal and community services. These grants will help St. Clair and Harbor Beach identify potential solutions to reinvest in the community and generate new tax base.”

Read entire story at DTE Energy here.

7 Local Businesses to Compete in Next Week’s ‘Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage Business Contest’

(Flint, Mich. – Oct. 28, 2016) Seven Genesee County businesses and entrepreneurs will compete in the “Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage Business Contest” at the Flint Farmers’ Market on Nov. 2, 2016.

The pitch event – a project of the I-69 Thumb Region – kicks off the contest’s county-level competitions and will determine who will proceed to the regional finals.

“This competition is all about supporting the growth of craft food and beverage businesses in Genesee County and the I-69 Thumb Region,” said Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal is help expand production, increase jobs and spur economic activity in our region’s agricultural and food-based sectors.”

The contest will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Ramsdell Room at the Flint Farmers’ Market, at 300 E. 1st St. Competitors include:

  • Bongos’ Popcorn (Michelle Yaklin)
  • Carmel Yum Yums (Tonya Burton)
  • Concentrated Ginger Beverage (Bethany Collins)
  • Gavin’s Macky Cheese (Gislain Jackson)
  • Ge’maux Macarons (Sarah Razak)
  • Olympus Fare (Stacy Pillera)
  • Top Hops Farm (Sean Trowbridge)

Each contestant will have four minutes to present their product to the judges, who include Bryce Moe of Skypoint Ventures, Kyle McCree of the Flint & Genesee Chamber, Bob Waun of C3 Ventures and Lottie Ferguson of Ennis Center.

Like each of the county-level competitions, cash prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 will be awarded to the first and second place winners, respectively.

The first-place winners for each county will move on to a regional contest, with a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, respectively, will be awarded for second and third place in the regional finals.

Other upcoming county-level competitions include:

  • St. Clair – Nov. 7, St. Clair Community College Fine Arts Building
  • Lapeer – Nov. 9, White Horse Inn in Metamora
  • Shiawassee – Nov. 10, TBD
  • Huron – Nov. 10, Pasta House in Kinde
  • Tuscola– Nov. 10, Board of Commissioners Chambers in Caro
  • Sanilac –  Nov.  14, Sandusky Public Library

The Flint event is free and open to the public, although registration is required. To register by the Nov. 1 deadline, click here.

The regional competition will take place in January. For more information, visit www.i-69thumbregion.org.

Competition prizes have been made possible through a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other sponsors. The Flint Food Works is providing free time in their commercial kitchen to the Genesee County winners. Additional assistance and marketing partners include the I-69 Trade Corridor SBDC, Skypoint Ventures, the Flint Area Reinvestment Office and Metro Community Development.

The I-69 Thumb Region is a partnership of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Lapeer Development Corporation, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corporation and Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation.

Second Chance Wood plans to build a $2.5 million facility

Second Chance Wood plans to build a $2.5 million facility in Durand. The company is only six years old and is growing rapidly. When their new building opens late next summer, they plan to start hiring.

“We expect probably 53 new jobs in the next three years. We need a larger facility to do that, to meet the existing demand of restaurants, retail, house furniture, dining room table and bed sets that we already have,” said Tadd Morris, the owner of Second Chance Wood.

The company is located in Vernon Township along M-71.

Read the entire story here at ABC12.