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Wealthy Street used to be a predominantly African American business district, but Robinson told us there are only two black-owned businesses there today.
flickr user Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

One proven way to give local businesses a boost is by grouping them together and building a brand. Think Detroit’s Greektown or Corktown, or Little Italy and Chinatown in other cities.

Jamiel Robinson is working to make that happen for black-owned businesses in Grand Rapids.

Robinson is founder and curator of the group Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.

Michigan Sugar sued over plant odors

Nov 17, 2016
From Michigan Sugar Company website

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Michigan Sugar Company over foul smells from its Bay City plant.

The complaint claims terrible odors have interfered with local residents' use of their property and have reduced their property values. It seeks damages on their behalf.

The complaint says the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has received approximately 800 complaints about the plant and has confirmed the presence of strong sewer-like to manure-like odors.

Ann Arbor-based Esperion Therapeutics is riding a wave of renewed enthusiasm for pharmaceutical stocks since the presidential election. Esperion is developing a cholesterol-lowering drug, bempedoic acid, that experts believe may be more effective and less expensive than drugs currently on the market. Bempedoic acid is in Phase III clinical trials and, if all goes well, is expected to hit the market as soon as 2019. 

There will no longer be any plus-size clothes departments at Meijer stores.
Mike Kalasnik / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

For the many American women who wear a plus-size, shopping for clothes can be an unhappy experience. The plus-size clothing is in a separate department, which leads some shoppers to feel singled out, and prices for plus-sizes can be higher than standard sized clothing.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is tight-lipped about whether his office will join a federal anti-trust probe into the proposed merger of DuPont and Midland-Based Dow Chemical.

US Embassy / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

So here we are at the end of one of the most odious and vitriolic campaigns in memory. Rather than adding yet more commentary, I’d like to dig deeper into a claim both parties make – that they will bring jobs back to the U.S. The question no one is asking is “where exactly will the jobs come from?”

The 7th Annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will take place at the Cobo Center in Detroit on November 3.
Bernt Rostad / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

This Thursday, three dozen Michigan start-up companies will compete for up to $1 million in prizes. In addition, they will earn critical exposure to venture capital investors, both regional and national.

They will be competing at the 7th Annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. Organizers say that Accelerate Michigan prize winners have created over a thousand jobs and have raised over $500 million in venture capital.

Artist's conception of proposed Lansing casino.
Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Next month’s presidential election is causing some concern for those backing a proposed casino in downtown Lansing.

More than two years ago, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians asked the U.S. Interior Department to take some land in Lansing into trust for the tribe. 

The tribe wants to build a casino on land next to Lansing’s convention center, but nothing can happen until the Interior Department decided whether or not to take the land into trust.

According to Manes, Meijer has been reluctant to reveal the extent of its connection to the Fresh Thyme brand.
Ryan Grimes

 

Maybe you’ve been shopping at one of those new Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market grocery stores that have been popping up around the state.

Nick Manes is a staff writer at MiBiz.com. He looked into Fresh Thyme.

He already knew that the Michigan-based grocery store chain Meijer was invested, but it turns out there’s more to it than that.

Deer.
user Noel Zia Lee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ever had a fast-food venison sandwich before? If not, you might have a chance at Arby's.

Arby's recently announced its "Fast Crafted sandwich" brand will release the venison sandwich in early November given the popularity of hunting season, according to the press release

Freewrite, from Astrohaus
Courtesy of Astrohaus

The Next Idea
 

If someone asked you to give up your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop, It’s likely you’d have a hard time agreeing to let go.

But as much as we revel in technology and all its bells and whistles, there is a growing awareness that the technology is controlling us.

The tail is wagging the dog.

That thinking has led a couple of Michiganders to come up with something that strips all this technology down to its purest form. No bells, no whistles, no distractions.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

You may want to fill up your gas tank. 

Michigan gasoline prices dipped below $2 a gallon in many parts of the state. 

But rising wholesale prices are expected to boost pump prices over the next 24 hours.

Patrick DeHaan is with GasBuddy.com. He says gas prices across the Midwest fell recently as a Chicago area refinery ramped up production after being down for unscheduled maintenance.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 1:05pm 

Power distribution was restored at 11:38am today to 29,729 customers following a suspected lightning strike at 8:55am that caused the Eckert Substation to trip offline causing outages across BWL’s service territory.

 Original Post - 10:45am  A suspected lightning strike on a key power substation knocked out power to 29,729 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers just before 9am this morning. 

Electricity service is slowly being restored.

A utility spokesman is urging BWL customers to avoid any downed power lines today.  

Courtesy Photo / Hoekstra True Value Hardware

People are flocking to a family owned hardware store that’s become a staple in Kalamazoo.

Hoekstra’s True Value Hardware is closing after nearly 150 years in business.

Co-owner Phil Ippel says he’s looking forward to more golfing, traveling and volunteering in the community. He’s even got a river cruise booked for next year.

“It’ll be a few months here, some hard work to get it down where we can do that,” he chuckled.  

Wells Fargo sign.
Mike Mozart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Wells Fargo is losing business with state governments across the U.S.  

At this point, the growing list does not include the state of Michigan.

State treasurers in California and Illinois and the cities of Seattle and Chicago cut ties to the troubled financial industry giant since it was learned that Wells Fargo employees manipulated customer accounts to meet sales goals.

Friday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he is suspending Wells Fargo from doing business with state agencies, and excluding the bank from participating in any state bond offerings.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Business leaders in the Saginaw-Midland-Bay City region hope entrepreneurs will fill the employment gap left by layoffs by major local employers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Michigan small business owners and entrepreneurs met in Flint this week in hopes of pitching their products to major national companies.

The conference was part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect program.  

Among the attendees was Cindi Marsiglio, the president of U.S. Manufacturing for Walmart. She heard pitches from many of the attendees.

“They have unique products,” says Marsiglio, “and states like Michigan are right on the cusp of growth.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation helped organize the conference. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is leading a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  Calley leaves Saturday and will return a week later. It's his sixth trade trip since taking office in 2011 and the first for the Snyder administration to the U.K. and Ireland.

  Calley says the goal is to strengthen trade relationships and to attract investments, primarily with aerospace and auto companies.

  Leaders from nine Michigan companies will join the trip to meet with prospective customers, distributors and partners.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

During a hearing today, U.S. senators quizzed officials with Midland-based Dow Chemical, DuPont and other major chemical companies about major consolidation in the chemical industry.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley calls it a “tsunami” of consolidation.

Dow Chemical
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this week that could affect the planned merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He called the special hearing into Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry. Grassley is concerned major consolidation in the agri-chemical industry will mean less competition and hurt American farmers.

DTE Energy / via Twitter

Construction got started Friday on one of the largest urban solar farms in the country to date.

DTE Energy is behind the project, which will convert 10 acres of largely vacant, city-owned land in O’Shea Park, on the city’s west side, into a site that produces enough energy to power 450 homes.

U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz was on hand for the groundbreaking.

Public Domain

The Next Idea

Among small business owners in Michigan, access to capital remains one of the most significant challenges, especially for people in underserved communities. This seems to be true even in places with improving economies, like West Michigan. The area has seen a strong post-recession recovery in recent years, and ranks highly in the prevalence of investors. WalletHub named Grand Rapids #2 in its 2016 rankings of “Best Large Cities to Start a Business,” yet it was ranked 43rd out of 150 cities analyzed in terms of access to resources.

The number of fishing licenses purchased in 2016 was up from a year ago, according to Travel Michigan
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Kids across Michigan got packed off to school today, which marks the end of the summer tourism season.

As we start to say goodbye to summer, we wondered how Michigan's travel industry fared this year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are asking Michigan utilities to be ready in case there are any problems with getting enough electricity to consumers today.  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, issued a reliability alert in Michigan after a fire at a DTE power plant overnight.

Detroit Horse Power

The Next Idea

I feel exceedingly fortunate to have grown up with horses as a big part of my childhood. I was brought up in suburban Westchester County, New York, about 20 minutes from prime horse country. I started regular riding lessons and showing when I was about 10. At age 14, I began competing in the Olympic sport of Three Day Eventing -- a horse triathlon that combines dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping. My thoroughbred, Rush, and I worked as a team -- training daily, building a partnership, testing our skills, persevering through disappointments and injuries. Horse people can describe at length the many valuable life lessons we learn from these amazing animals. Those skills and experiences hold the most weight for me as I look back on my international competitions and time spent working for top professionals.

Trevor Mays tells us Intermitten is all about bringing tech-savvy and creative types together.
Courtesy of Trevor Mays

Technology and creativity are not mutually exclusive. They go hand-in-hand.

That's the message of Intermitten. It's a conference happening this Friday and Saturday in Ann Arbor.

The conference will be exploring all the ways that successful business efforts contain a healthy mix of creativity and technology.

Courtesy of Better Life Bags

It all started as a hobby and a small online business. Today, Better Life Bags is a thriving business in the diverse community of Hamtramck that is changing the lives of the women who sew and make those custom-made bags. These women come from many different cultures.

After moving to Hamtramck with her husband on a whim from Georgia, Rebecca Smith was pregnant and made herself a diaper bag for her soon-to-be-born child. After posting a photo of the bag on social media, friends encouraged her to start selling them on Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade items.  After selling more and more bags, she reached out to friends and acquaintances for help. 

Now, Better Life Bags employs 16 women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, including Smith's first employee, Nadia Alakil, an immigrant to Michigan from Yemen. This small business allows for women to work from home and earn some extra money for their families. 

Stateside 7.25.2016

Jul 25, 2016

 

Today, we hear from the Genius of the Year, who says autistic people like him are an "untapped resource." And, M I Curious question asker Don Williams hears an answer to his question: Why do mental health resources vary so widely across the state?

Garden Fresh

You may not know Dave Zilko's name, but you've probably seen his products in your grocery store.  Zilko is the former vice chairman of Garden Fresh Gourmet. He and business partners Jack and Annette Aronson took a scrappy little Oakland County company that was deep in debt and turned it into the number one brand of fresh salsa in North America, with revenues topping $100 million.  Last June, Garden Fresh was sold to Campbell Soup Company for $231 million.

Jeffery Allen Ford writes: "Psychological experts have determined that Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Michelangelo were all extremely high-functioning individuals with autism."
Courtesy of Jeffery Allen Ford

The Next Idea

We in Michigan usually take great pride in our state's natural beauty and precious resources. So, I find it incredibly disheartening that one of our state's most beautiful and precious resources – its autistic community – is largely misunderstood, marginalized and woefully under-valued.

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