Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

West Michigan’s economy plodded along to start 2019, growing slowly as it has been for a decade, according to economist Brian Long’s monthly survey of industrial purchasing managers. Key indexes for new orders and purchases in Long’s report for March eased from February and the index for production “retreated” but remained positive.

The Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments this summer on whether the state Legislature could amend laws on paid sick leave and minimum wage increases during the lame-duck session that were passed earlier in the legislative session.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.’s proposed $89 million merger with a similarly sized community bank in Lapeer began last summer when Kelly Potes struck up a conversation with his counterparts.

Craig Hecker had thought about his eventual departure from his family business for a decade or more. A few years before he sold, he began preparing. He spent time “making sure everything was up to date and in good shape,” and even paid off the company’s debt.

Some business exits go smoothly; others, not so much. The key for business owners approaching the time when they’re poised to move on is to plan early and often, and to thoroughly think through their approach to the process.

Life happens. So does death. Professional advisers say business owners need to prepare for what happens to their companies in the event they’re taken out of commission by a sudden life-changing event — such as an illness or injury that leaves them incapacitated or debilitated, or worse. Even if an owner experiences a personal crisis that takes him away from the business for an extended period, it can have crushing effects on the company, especially without prior planning, advisers say.

KALAMAZOO — The $60 million downtown Kalamazoo cancer pavilion is one of a number of capital projects for Bronson Healthcare that are driven partly by the shift toward delivering care at outpatient settings. Along with the cancer facility across from the Medical Office Pavilion on the South Campus in downtown, Bronson plans to develop a new $22 million hospital in South Haven and invest in a $3.8 million project to renovate inpatient rooms at LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and three other Michigan business groups backed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to increase the number of state residents with a college degree and create a scholarship fund to help students go to school after high school.

Hundreds of small businesses in Michigan that use an association health plan for health benefits shouldn't worry yet about a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a 2017 executive order by President Trump. Rob Fowler, president of TranscendAHP, expects that the U.S. Department of Labor will appeal Thursday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia.

Sparta-based ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. plans to merge with Lapeer-based County Bank Corp. in a deal that would create a bank with a combined $1.28 billion in assets.

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