The Great Electric Debate

Plant shutdowns, energy choice, renewables – What does the future hold for Michigan energy? Few issues are more complex – and more important to northern Michigan businesses – than the generation and delivery of electric energy. Lawmakers periodically have enacted sweeping changes in state energy policy, and...

Northwest Michigan’s Food Economy Leads Way

Two years ago Mark Abbott envisioned FarmRaiser, a company that would take a new approach to school fundraisers by giving kids the chance to sell locally grown food. Buying local had become a major economic driver in just about every corner of the country. People...

Latest Pairing: Wine & Renewable Energy

Three local vineyards are proving that the 8,000-year-old art of winemaking can co-exist happily alongside new environmentally-friendly, cost-saving technologies. Chateau Chantal on the Old Mission Peninsula and Brengman Brothers/Crain Hill Vineyards across the bay in Leelanau County are going big with harnessing solar power. Meanwhile, the...

Who Knew They Made it Here?

Since its beginning in 1988, a Traverse City company has grown into one of the largest independent manufacturers of store fixtures and commercial casework in Michigan. Strata Design, at 1645 Park Drive, designs, builds and installs all types of modular commercial cabinets, laminate counters, store fixtures...

Protect Investments To Stay Pointed In The Right Direction

Economic indicators such as unemployment rates, stock prices or consumer confidence levels can be tricky, even misleading statistics. Typically issued on a wide scale to reflect the economic condition of a country, state or region, they don’t always reflect the reality of smaller communities or...

Real Estate As Economic Powerhouse

Many discussions are had each year about the regional economy and what drives economic prosperity for northwestern Michigan. Industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, service and health care always top the list. Noticeably missing, is real estate. Yet every one of these key industries share a...

From Hiring To Firing (And All The Issues In Between)

Let’s say you’re a business manager or owner suddenly dealing with a difficult employee. You’re not sure whether to fire the employee or try to work things out. If your company has a full-time human resources department, no problem; they can deal with it. But if...

Propane: A Barrier To Affordable Development

Though there are numerous obstacles to improving the region’s affordable housing concerns, many feel dependence on propane in northern Michigan is chief among them. For homeowners, propane can mean compounding costs, especially during winter and periods when supply is strained. For affordable housing developers, propane-only infrastructure...