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Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Editor, covers craft beverage industry.
Twitter: @jboomgaard
Email: [email protected]

Friday, 08 February 2019 11:13

Grand Rapids Whitewater secures $4.4 million in new funding, names new CEO

The Grand Rapids Whitewater nonprofit has secured $4.4 million in new public and foundation funding for its restoration efforts of the Grand River through the city.

Sunday, 03 February 2019 22:04

Craft brewers leverage cheaper, more efficient production models to get beer to market

Two West Michigan craft brewers operating with vastly differing business models are taking a similar approach to growing their operations by using capacity at other breweries. Both Sawyer-based Greenbush Brewing Co. and Muskegon-based Rake Beer Project LLC are taking advantage of a production model that allows them to get beer into the market without a significant upfront capital investment.

Friday, 01 February 2019 12:00

West Michigan brewery agrees to name change in trademark case settlement

A West Michigan brewpub in planning has agreed to change its name as part of a settlement in a trademark infringement case brought by Railtown Brewing Co. last August.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019 11:17

Energy consultant Foresight Management acquires Grand Rapids-based energy engineering firm

Foresight Management has acquired Grand Rapids-based Building Performance Team Inc., expanding the company’s in-house services in energy modeling and building commissioning.

Sunday, 20 January 2019 23:43

Buell motorcycle brand revives production in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — The executives behind an iconic American superbike brand are breathing new life into the company and relaunching “boutique” motorcycle production in West Michigan. By establishing low-volume production of EBR Motorcycles in Grand Rapids, owner Bill Melvin hopes to bring sustainability to the company founded by famed motorcycle racer Erik Buell some 35 years ago.

Sunday, 06 January 2019 10:27

Q&A: Rich Chapla, Rick Chapla Consulting LLC

After 22 years with The Right Place Inc., Rick Chapla has stepped down and moves into the next phase of his career. Chapla focused on behind-the-scenes efforts to help public and private sector projects become reality, often serving as a conduit for connecting people. Chapla, who got his start in planning and economic development in Muskegon more than three and a half decades ago, spoke with MiBiz about how West Michigan has changed throughout the years and what he has planned next. 


Wednesday, 02 January 2019 08:59

Neogen acquires Alberta-based animal genomics lab

The acquisition of an animal genomics laboratory in Alberta will position Neogen Corp. to more rapidly grow its business in Canada.

Sunday, 23 December 2018 19:04

Crystal Ball 2019 Manufacturing Roundtable: Manufacturing execs shift focus to internal operations, efficiencies in 2019

West Michigan-based manufacturing executives think 2019 marks a good time to take a pause from the recent breakneck pace of capital investments and acquisitions to focus on operations. That’s the general consensus from local manufacturing leaders across a range of industries who participated in a forward-looking roundtable discussion with MiBiz earlier this month. 

Sunday, 23 December 2018 19:00

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Justine Burdette, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West

West Michigan manufacturers are dealing with a host of issues, ranging from trade and tariffs to talent and technology. As they wade through those challenges, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West is there to help, according to Regional Director Justine Burdette. As MMTC seeks to “maintain that closeness and relationships with our manufacturers,” the organization is finding new ways to adapt and address their needs, she said. 


Sunday, 23 December 2018 18:45

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Amy Sparks, Nuvar

After acquiring Nuvar Inc. in May from its long-time owner, Amy Sparks is executing on growth plans for the Holland-based manufacturer and developer of finished goods primarily for the contract furniture industry. While she’s mindful of some softening in the broader market, Sparks remains “cautiously optimistic” for the economy in 2019. 

Sunday, 23 December 2018 18:41

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Mike Wall, IHS Markit

The 2019 forecast for the automotive industry remains steady, although sales are expected to experience “a little bit of a step down” to 16.8 million units compared to an expected 17.1 million units this year, according to Mike Wall, director of automotive analysis at IHS Markit. The big cloud over the industry currently hinges on tariffs and trade deals, specifically the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. Wall expects the USMCA to get enacted in some form, even though he does expect to see “some adjustments on the margins.”

Sunday, 23 December 2018 17:43

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Mike Franzak, City of Muskegon Planning Director

Ask Planning Director Mike Franzak what’s going on in Muskegon right now, and he can rattle off a long list of projects either under construction or well into the planning stages. There’s so much activity, in fact, that the lakeshore city has started to think about issues like parking facilities after the many vacant former Muskegon Mall parcels downtown have been developed. 


Sunday, 23 December 2018 15:25

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Birgit Klohs, The Right Place

Change is inevitable in government and in business. Just ask The Right Place President and CEO Birgit Klohs, who next year will have worked in economic development during the terms of five different Michigan governors. Still, with all the uncertainty surrounding international trade and politics, now is not the time to wreak havoc on the state’s economic development policies, she said. 

Sunday, 23 December 2018 14:15

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Edwin Collazo, City Built Brewing Co.

In 2019, City Built Brewing Co. hopes to add a rooftop bar and a street parklet so it can offer outdoor seating during the warmer months at its location in Grand Rapids’ Monroe North neighborhood, according to co-founder Edwin Collazo. “We’re right on the river. We’re going to take advantage of those things that bring people to this area anyways.” 

Sunday, 23 December 2018 14:10

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Jim Sheppard, Tillerman Seeds

After completing the acquisition of Legacy Seeds Inc. in August 2018, Tillerman Seeds LLC aims to continue executing on its growth strategy and supporting its portfolio of seed companies. President Jim Sheppard said the goal is to find the right fit when acquiring new companies. 


Friday, 21 December 2018 11:53

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer

On Jan. 1, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer will take the oath of office to become the 49th governor of Michigan, succeeding Republican Rick Snyder, who was term-limited after eight years in office. Whitmer spoke with MiBiz Editor Joe Boomgaard earlier this week as the contentious lame-duck legislative session came to a close. 

Sunday, 09 December 2018 17:18

Editor's Notebook: Bills to eliminate economies of scale for some craft brewers

slate of lame duck legislation has the potential to stifle growth for Michigan’s $2 billion craft beer industry. 

Sunday, 09 December 2018 17:12

Bills would uncork changes for Michigan’s craft beverage industry

series of bipartisan bills fast-tracked for the state Legislature’s lame-duck session would redefine the laws governing how Michigan-based alcoholic beverage producers operate. 


Sunday, 09 December 2018 16:53

Amptech sells to PE-backed vehicle lighting maker

MANISTEE — A Northern Michigan-based manufacturer of electronics and electrical assemblies has been acquired by a portfolio company of New Water Capital Partners LP of Boca Raton, Fla. 

Sunday, 09 December 2018 16:50

Entrepreneur jumps back into ownership role with deal for Performance Die Cutting

GRAND RAPIDS — Steve Weber’s purchase of Performance Die Cutting and Finishing LLC proves it’s hard to stifle the will of an entrepreneur to be his own boss. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018 21:50

Tribal firm acquires historic Kendall Building in downtown GR

GRAND RAPIDS — The non-gaming arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi has acquired a downtown building for its headquarters as it looks to grow its federal contracting business, MiBiz has learned. 


Sunday, 25 November 2018 20:46

Med device makers look ahead to growth despite regulatory challenges

West Michigan’s medical device manufacturers are reaching a tipping point. The region’s fledgling industry has begun to mature, especially around contract manufacturing, which draws on the legacy of industrial knowledge across West Michigan.

Friday, 16 November 2018 13:23

With pending $13.2 billion deal, JCI to fully exit West Michigan auto supplier operations

HOLLAND — Johnson Controls International plc would exit its last remaining automotive industry manufacturing operations in West Michigan if it completes a transaction announced this week.

Sunday, 11 November 2018 21:50

Tepid Yeti IPO gives DeVos firm cooler-than-expected payout

GRAND RAPIDS — A lukewarm initial public stock offering by drinkware and cooler-maker Yeti Holdings Inc. spelled a smaller-than-expected payout for a prominent West Michigan family office. 


Sunday, 28 October 2018 15:46

Niche law firm relocates HQ to downtown GR

GRAND RAPIDS — A niche law firm plans to relocate its Michigan headquarters to downtown, MiBiz has learned. 

Sunday, 14 October 2018 10:07

For Zeigler, love of dealmaking started early in career

Aaron Zeigler fell in love with the car business as a teenager.

Saturday, 13 October 2018 18:02

Let’s Celebrate Deals: M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Years Awards Article Index

MiBiz, in conjunction with the Association for Corporate Growth Western Michigan, is pleased to present the sixth-annual M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Year Awards.


Saturday, 13 October 2018 17:07

Commercial-scale malting facility a ‘game-changer’ for state’s craft beverage supply chain

A group of investors plans to open a commercial-scale malting and grain-processing facility about an hour east of Kalamazoo to serve the region’s growing craft beverage industry.

Sunday, 23 September 2018 17:00

Brewery Vivant to open second Grand Rapids-area brewery taproom

Brewery Vivant is planning to open a satellite facility that will help ease space constraints and give the company a broader reach into the greater Grand Rapids area, MiBiz has learned.

Monday, 27 August 2018 12:28

Railtown Brewing sues planned Byron Center brewpub, alleging confusingly similar name

An established Grand Rapids-area craft brewery is suing a nearby Byron Center-based brewpub in planning, alleging that the startup’s name is confusingly similar.


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