Briefly: Big News In A Small Format

Consolidation In Local Concrete Industry

Traverse City-based Cornillie Concrete and McBain’s Lake City Redi-Mix have combined their assets and operations and are now LC Materials.

The consolidation brings together two established companies in the concrete and aggregates industry in northern Michigan. The company is run by partners Rick Deneweth, Joe Cornillie and Rob Cherry, who also serves as president. LC Materials will service markets in Traverse City, Petoskey, Bear Lake, Lake City, McBain, Gaylord, Cadillac, Houghton Lake, Kalkaska, Grayling, Reed City and Big Rapids.

It will operate 12 concrete plants with more than 60 concrete mixer trucks, 5 concrete boom pump trucks, gravel trains, cement bulkers, three building supply outlet stores and an aggregates mining operation.

Silikids Receives Patent, Expands Distribution

Traverse City-headquartered Silikids, Inc. has been granted a U.S. patent for its silicone sleeves (Siliskins) designed to protect glassware. They have shock absorbers built into the silicone giving added protection to the glassware inside.

Silikids is the first mom-founded brand focused on replacing plastics in the kitchen and offering a better alternative to children’s tableware.

“The issuance of this utility patent will ensure our retailers and consumers are being offered innovative products with the high quality and performance they have come to trust and expect from Silikids,” said Stacey Feeley, co-founder. “The grant of the patent marks a major milestone for us to further protect our brand as we continue to expand the Silikids line.”

The Silikids collection is available at specialty juvenile product stores, gift shops and grocery chains nationwide and online. Silikids also recently expanded its distribution to offer its products in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan and Chile.

New Name, Expansion For Financial Services Company

American Senior Benefits in Traverse City is now Modern District Financial Solutions. One of the largest providers of Medicare supplements in northern Michigan, the nationwide insurance marketing company specializes in the mature market and also offers long-term care, annuity and life insurance products.

The Traverse City office at 826 S. Garfield Avenue is looking to double in size this year and plans to hire 30 new financial specialists.

New Owner For Interphase Interiors

Interphase Interiors, the 2015 Best in Class dealer for west and northern Michigan for Haworth office furniture, has a new owner. David Faasse has acquired the company from Randy DeBoer, who owned Interphase since 2000.

Prior to the acquisition, Faasse served as chairman, CEO and owner of Best Metal Products Co., a Grand Rapids manufacturer, for nearly 20 years. DeBoer will remain with the company as a senior advisor for a transitional period with Faasse taking the role of president.

“When I made the decision to sell Interphase, it was critical that I find a successor who was passionate about the industry, was committed to the Michigan markets we serve and shared the core values that I have built the company around for the past 15 years,” said DeBoer. “It’s an exciting time for the industry overall, and I believe Interphase has enormous growth potential.

Interphase will continue to operate out of its Grand Rapids office and warehouse at 3036 Eastern SE, and Traverse City office at 2588 N. Garfield Rd. Interphase will also continue its relationship with Haworth.

Funding Partnership Announced

Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P), along with Venture North Funding & Development (formally the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation and Chamber Foundation), have launched a zero percent interest promotion for its Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund.

This promotion is available to TCL&P commercial and industrial customers that are making their businesses more energy efficient by investing in infrastructure upgrades.

“Light and Power has a successful energy efficiency rebate program which incentivizes customers to become more efficient,” said Tim Arends, the executive director of TCL&P. “This is just another way the utility is assisting customers in taking control of their energy future.”

Potential applicants will be required to complete a pre-qualification application through Venture North’s website. A designated loan review committee will review and score qualified applications based on criteria such as proven reduction of electric demand at peak times, completion of a comprehensive energy assessment or audit, and ability to pay back loan.

Loan amounts are available up to $50,000 with a loan term of up to five years. For more information: or 231-995-7110.

Great Lakes Potato Chip Company Celebrates Five Years

Great Lakes Potato Chip Company in Traverse City is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The company began when Ed Girrbach and his son, Chris, pulled their Dodge pick-up truck into line behind four semi-tractors to get their first load of Michigan potatoes. That first load held about 1,500 pounds of potatoes – enough for 600 bags of chips.

Last year the company was named one of the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” by Michigan Celebrates Small Business. This award is presented to companies known for their exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, creation of innovation or use of innovation in creative ways, and their sustainable competitive advantage.

Today, the company offers five permanent flavors of the kettle cooked, skin-on potato chips, two flavors of tortilla chips, two flavors of salsa and four seasonal potato chips. A new production line that will double capacity is in the works and employee count is expected to hit 25 this year.

TC Physician Relocates

Glen H. Henbest, D.O. has moved his practice to Digestive Health Associates of Northern Michigan. He practices out of the Copper Ridge office in Traverse City. He has been practicing in northern Michigan since 2011 and is board certified in gastroenterology.

Family Medicine Practice Moves

Patrick H. Friedli, M.D. has moved his practice to Bay Area Family Care, located at 906 Business Park Dr. in Traverse City. He is board certified in family medicine and serves as medical director of Munson Medical Center’s Healthy Weight Center.

Northern Lakes CMH Awarded Three-Year Accreditation

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health (CMH) in Traverse City has been accredited by CARF International for a period of three years (through May 2018) for thirteen of its programs.

The latest accreditation is the fourth consecutive three-year accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has awarded to Northern Lakes CMH since its formation in 2003.

According to the formal report issued by CARF surveyors, “It is apparent that the organization provides much needed services to an underserved and challenging population that positively impact the lives of the adults and children and adolescents served and their families. There is a strong sense of caring and commitment by skilled staff members throughout the organization’s programs.”

Northern Lakes CMH is a nonprofit organization with offices in Cadillac, Houghton Lake, Grayling, and Traverse City. It serves adults with mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

NMC Named Top Spot For Drone Training

Northwestern Michigan College has been ranked 10th out of the top 15 Best Drone Training Colleges by

NMC is one of the premier colleges in the country for UAS operator training. More commonly called drones, unmanned aircraft represent a sector of aviation that will undergo exponential growth over the coming years. The potential commercial uses of unmanned systems are extensive, including disaster response, weather forecasting, agricultural survey, power line and pipeline survey, and aerial photography for fields such as real estate, construction, film and entertainment and accident investigation.

New Business: Traverse Beauty Bar

Cosmetic Skin & Laser Center will soon open Traverse Beauty Bar, a beauty and brow studio at the corner of East Front and Park Streets in downtown Traverse City.

Services will include brow sculpting and brow tinting, men’s and women’s facial service offerings, full body waxing, and retail medical grade skincare product lines with professional advisement.

HBAGTA Recognizes Partners
The Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area (HBAGTA) recently recognized several industry partners for their dedication achievements and involvement with the HBA. They are: Jeremy Orth, Outstanding Member award; Christine Press, Customer Service award; Geri Johnson-Pasinski, Emerging Leader award; Dale Bush, Humanitarian/Community award and Geri Nelson, the Jim Alpers Associate of the Year award.

CBSR Earns Ranking

Traverse City-headquartered Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors has been ranked 33rd in the United States in transactions, according to RISMedia’s 27th Annual Power Broker Report. Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors reported 10,958 closed residential transactions in 2014.

GT Bay YMCA Elects New Officers

The Grand Traverse Bay YMCA recently held its 51st annual meeting. Stever Merten of Larkin Group and Carolyn Helmlinger of Conlyn Properties were named to the board and Kerry Kalbfleisch was named new board president. Lynn Schultz was recognized for her serve as past board president and Marc Judge and Jill Fenton-Jones for their years of service to the YMCA.

Top EXIT Agents

Tom Alflen, Nicole Gentry, Matt Hodges and Marilyn Taylor of EXIT Realty Paramount in Traverse City were recently recognized in the Top Five Agents listing for closed transactions in Michigan for the month of May by EXIT Realty of Michigan.

Edward Jones Lauded

For the seventh time, Edward Jones financial advisors rate the firm “Highest in Employee Advisor Satisfaction among Financial Investment Firms,” according to a newly released study by J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power 2015 Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study ranked six financial services firms. Edward Jones financial advisors gave the highest satisfaction ratings in all of the study categories, with a score of 925 points out of 1,000. This compares to the industry average of 701. Financial advisors also scored the firm’s professional support, client support, and technology support extremely high.

‘Best’ Workplace For Millennials

Kalamazoo-based Greenleaf Trust, with a location in Traverse City, has been named to the Best Places to Work for Millennials list by the Center For Generational Kinetics. The list identifies companies that excel at recruiting, developing and retaining top millennial performers. The full list is available at

Greenleaf Trust, an independent Michigan-chartered, trust-only bank exclusively focuses on wealth management, trust and estate administration, and administration of company-sponsored retirement plans.

Pets Naturally Receives Rescue Award

Pets Naturally health food store in Traverse City has received a 2015-16 Retailer Of The Year Outstanding Rescue Partner Award from Pet Product News. Pets Naturally regularly holds adoption events for dogs and cats looking for their forever homes.

TC Marketing Agency Recognized

PB&J, a Traverse City-based creative agency, has been recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). PB&J created an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the new blood alcohol level law in El Paso, Tx. The campaign’s theme, “Out For Blood,” along with the supporting marketing materials, received praise from MADD representatives for creativity in educating the public about the new drunk driving laws. The campaign included posters, banners, radio spots, a dedicated website and other support materials.

“Most Wired” Designation For Munson Healthcare Hospitals

Seven Munson Healthcare system hospitals have been recognized by the American Hospital Association’s journal Hospitals and Health Networks as “Most Wired” hospitals for 2015: Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, Munson Medical Center, Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital and West Shore Medical Center. Otsego Memorial Hospital was recognized as Most Wired – Small and Rural.

Realtors Recognized

Bob Brick, Matt Dakoske, Sandy Gunning, Maureen Penfold, and Tim Reid of RE/MAX Bayshore Properties in Traverse City were named among America’s most productive agents as a part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents, the newly-issued ranking report produced by REAL Trends and sponsored by Zillow Group. This group of highly successful real estate sales agents represents less than 1 percent of all real estate practitioners in the United States.

Munson Healthcare Establishes Affiliation With Mackinac Straits Health System

Mackinac Straits Health System and Munson Healthcare have signed a regional affiliation agreement that gives the St. Ignace-based provider access to a broad range of Munson Healthcare system services.

The agreement does not change ownership or management of Mackinac Straits Health System, its clinics, facilities, or services. It remains a private, not for profit, independent organization.

With eight other hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system, Mackinac Straits Health System expects to increase access to a wide array of medical specialists and other clinical and operational expertise. As a critical access hospital, Mackinac Straits Health System also will benefit from closer collaboration with other critical access hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system, including Charlevoix Area Hospital, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, and Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Frankfort.

Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness noted that as the Munson Healthcare system evolves, it is focused on two priorities – preserving and improving local access to care, and developing a regional health care delivery system that meets patient needs.

Greenspire School Receives Education Grant

The Greenspire School in Traverse City recently received funding to support place-based environmental education for its students, and will be featured in a nationally distributed case study about the work.

The funds come from a $150,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant that was awarded last July to the Great Lakes Fishery Trust on behalf of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. Greenspire School works with the initiative’s regional hub, the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative, based at the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

Bridal Shop Relocates

To Have and To Hold Bridal Boutique has relocated to The Mercato at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. In addition to the move, it is now offering Sunday hours, a new line of dresses that are more casual and cater to northern Michigan brides. The business is owned by Courtney Guy.

Fundraiser For Affordable Homes

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region (GTR) is partnering with Habitat Michigan and Consumers Energy to raise money to build affordable housing for local families. All the money raised will go toward finishing the Depot Neighborhood project, an innovative net-zero housing community in Traverse City. Donations can be made here: