Briefly: Big News In A Small Format


Anna Lammers, O.D recently purchased the practice of Dr. Paul Kropf on Munson Avenue in Traverse City and renamed it Bay Family Vision Care. Dr. Lammers returned home to Traverse City after finishing a residency in pediatrics and binocular vision. She provides comprehensive eye exams, glasses and contact lenses for patients of all ages.


Armor Express in Central Lake has finalized a financial and strategic agreement with Generations Management, a family-owned business based in Traverse City.
Armor Express designs, develops, manufactures and distributes a full line of high-performance hard and soft body armor, helmets and other accessories for law enforcement, military, correctional and other tactical personnel.
Generations has investments in varied interests including oil and gas, manufacturing, retail, venture capital, private equity, securities and futures trading, and real estate.
“This investment is particularly meaningful to us, as we have followed the company’s success for many years, and are proud to participate in an acquisition that will keep manufacturing jobs in northern Michigan,” said Keith Nielson, principal at Generations.
The partnership is backed by Spanos Barber Jesse & Co., a San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas-based private investment firm.


Cellar 152 has opened at 152 River Street in downtown Elk Rapids, offering a gourmet to-go food menu, wine, specialty foods and home accents. The previous owners of the Elk Rapids Wine Shop, Rob Crandell and Mary Sawyer, have partnered with Mark & Kerri Wayne on the new venture. The Waynes purchased the building last year and completely renovated its interior while preserving the structure’s original design and architecture. Crandell and Sawyer run the daily operations, overseeing the wine collection and food preparation. The Waynes handle business operations and marketing.


Golden-Fowler Home Furnishings in Traverse City has been honored with the Hometown Business of the Month. The Hometown Business of the Month is a program by First Community Bank, which recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of local businesses.
Each month First Community Bank will recognize a hometown business in the region and present it with a plaque, as well as a $550 award to the business and a $550 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice. Monthly contributions total $1,100 to represent First Community Bank’s 110th year anniversary in 2015. Golden-Fowler donated to Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan’s Element program.


Robert Follett Appraisals in Acme is now Acme Appraisals North Inc. The firm specializes in mortgage refinancing, marketing and sales valuation, estate planning appraisals, date of death valuation and values for divorce settlement. Follett has been serving clients across the Grand Traverse region for 30 years. Staff members Bob Bell, Jeff Miller and Jeff Wichern remain with the firm.; 946.1160.


After 18 years in Suttons Bay, Michigan Artists Gallery has relocated to 317A East Front Street in downtown Traverse City, one block east of the State Theatre and directly across from the Larry Hardy Parking Deck.
“It seemed the perfect timing to add a new, yet well established gallery, to the growing art scene in Traverse City,” said Owner Sue Ann Round.
Local artists Larry Fox and Elizabeth Paxson helped transform the space into the art gallery.
“We are directly on the river’s edge with beautiful bay views and hope to attract a tenant on each side of us to continue transforming this ever-evolving block,” said Round. “It’s incredible space for a retailer or restaurant, with views unlike any other space in downtown.”


CooLED, a Traverse City-based company and distributor of commercial and industrial LED lighting systems, is expanding its northwest Michigan base as well as targeting distributorships in other parts of the country. The company has hired Donald Valentino as business development manager to lead the expansion efforts.
CooLED is in its 5th year of business and attributes its steady growth to the continued awareness of the financial and environmental benefits of LED lighting for businesses.


Walmart in Traverse City recently held a grand re-opening to celebrate and expanded line of offerings to customers, including a fabric department and expanded sporting goods department and food section.
Walmart representatives also presented a check for $150,000 to Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan as part of the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program. The grant will provide a refrigerated food truck for the nonprofit that will help deliver food to area residents in need.


EXIT Realty Paramount in Traverse City was recently awarded Top Office in Gross Closed Sales and Closed Ends for June 2015 by EXIT Realty of Michigan. EXIT agents Jennifer Blain, Matt Hodges and Marilyn Taylor were also named in the Top Five for Gross Closed Sales for June 2015. Holly Streit is the broker/owner of EXIT Realty Paramount.


Sue Smith, owner of the local Fish Window Cleaning, was recently recognized for top sales at the annual Fish Window Cleaning Convention.
“I appreciate all of my customers and am so blessed to be in an area that has continued to grow over the years I have owned Fish Window Cleaning,” said Smith.
Smith was recognized for adding over 500 accounts to her customer base in 2014. She also received the Navigator Award for her work with prospective franchisees.


Mark Hoffmann, D.C and Nathan Reed, D.C. have relocated their practices with the opening of 14th Street Chiropractic at 115 East 14th Street in Traverse City. The doctors provide care for all ages and together bring more than 30 years of experience to the Grand Traverse region. They are joined in the practice by licensed massage therapist Mike Nangle. 231-943-1767.


Century 21 Northland in Traverse City recently recognized its Pacesetter Platinum Agents for outstanding sales achievement and performance in 2015. Pacesetter Platinum provides recognition for January through June, and offers the Century 21 Northland team an opportunity to evaluate mid-year performance while looking toward their annual goals.
The following sales associates are recognized as being on track to receive a 2015 Century 21 award: Suzanne Voltz, Century 21 Northland Sleeping Bear Realty office in Frankfort; Cory Beuerle, Century 21 Northland office in Suttons Bay; and Andrea Galloup, Barb Cooper, Bridget Carefoot, Camille Campbell, Carolyn Collins, Connie Kroll, Matt Geib, Meagan Luce, Mike Annelin, Molly Buttleman, Ron Williamson and Steve Scheppe, Century 21 Northland office in Traverse City.


The Baraga Radio Network has officially opened its doors at a new headquarters located in Traverse City after relocating from Indian River. Founded in 2007 as Baraga Broadcasting, this move marks a new chapter of growth for this non-profit Catholic radio network. The network consists of six radio stations located in Traverse City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace, Gaylord, Alpena and Tawas. The new office is located at 1020 Hastings Street, Suite 101.

Michigan Writers in Traverse City announces three new board members: Leslie Donaldson, director of the College for Creative Arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts; Kevin Avery, creative writing and composition instructor and published author; and John Pahl, retired communications instructor from Northwestern Michigan College and published author.


Munson Medical Center and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital have signed an agreement that supports improving the quality of care for patients and enhancing rehabilitation services at Munson Medical Center.
This agreement brings Munson Medical Center into the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network, an alliance of hospitals and providers throughout Michigan. The network was established in 2011 to extend Mary Free Bed’s expertise to other settings, creating a seamlessly integrated system of rehabilitative care for patients.
Mary Free Bed will now collaborate with Munson Medical Center to manage day-to-day operations of the hospital’s inpatient and several outpatient rehabilitation services in the Traverse City area.
“Munson Medical Center has worked with Mary Free Bed for years to coordinate care for patients who need intensive inpatient rehabilitation,” said Derk Pronger, chief operating officer at Munson Medical Center. “Working together to raise the bar on our own rehabilitation programs just makes sense.”
Munson Medical Center provides intensive rehabilitation in the hospital’s 12-bed inpatient unit and outpatient physical therapy services at two locations in Traverse City and in Kingsley.
The agreement does not change ownership of Munson Medical Center’s inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services or locations. Rehabilitation services operated by other hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system are not affected.


Short’s Brewing Company received a $35,164 grant to install solar panels on the roof of its production facility in Elk Rapids. USDA Rural Development provided the funds through the Rural Energy for America Program.
The new solar array will help power the facility with an annual energy output of 49250 kWh. Approximately 7 percent of the energy used annually will be supplied by the solar array. The installation work was done by CBS Solar in Copemish.


Hagerty in Traverse City has been recognized by Great Place to Work and Fortune as one of the 10 Best Workplaces in Insurance. This ranking comes from an anonymous survey of insurance employees administered by the workplace culture experts at Great Place to Work. Hagerty leaders said the honor is exceptionally notable because the company believes that the well-being of its employees is directly tied to its continuing success.
“At Hagerty, we live by the motto ‘We May Sell Insurance, But We Live Classics’ and that shows throughout our workplace,” said Richard Hutchinson, president of insurance. “Our employees are our most valuable asset and they bring not only a passion for the classic lifestyle, but also camaraderie, pride and a deep knowledge of our industry to the office every day. Because of the feedback and ideas we’ve received from employees, we have an internal recognition system that includes peer-to-peer recognition, paid time off to serve in their community, an on-site gym and café, and other benefits.”


Junior Achievement of Northwest Michigan has launched an online experience that is a one-stop shop for teens and their parents in helping them make decisions that will affect their futures. The new interactive web experience, called JA My Way, is made possible by a grant from the Citi Foundation and OneMain Financial.
JA My Way helps teens learn about careers, starting a business and managing money. The experience combines games, rewards, information and social media to help teens explore these topics in a fun way. It also includes relevant information for teenagers, such as the costs that go along with owning a car, how much money needs to be saved for college, and what is on a W-2 tax form.


Local full-service marketing agency Greenlight Marketing has expanded its client base to include corporations with national reach: ZeekBeek, a new online legal resource; RXQ Compounding, LLC, an FDA-approved compounding outsourcing facility; and JRK Ventures, featuring the book “Super Bowl 50: Celebrating Fifty Years of America’s Greatest Game.” RXQ Compounding is based out of Ohio and ZeekBeek and JKR Ventures are based in Traverse City.


Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay has joined the Discovery Center-Great Lakes as an affiliate off-campus partner.
“It just makes sense that we work together collaboratively to impact the greatest numbers of individuals with our important work,” said Executive Director Fred Sitkins.
Discovery Center-Great Lakes is comprised of the Maritime Heritage Alliance, the Watershed Center, and the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, and is the future home to a sailing program directed by Traverse Area Community Sailing.


Traverse City-based Electro-Optics Technology (EOT) is slated to move next month to its new building in the Peninsula Business Park off Three Mile Road – a nearly $4.5 million investment in the brand new build.
EOT makes components for the high power laser industry that serve markets in medicine, industry, scientific research and defense.
The East Bay Township building will span approximately 40,000 square feet, offering nearly double the manufacturing space as EOT’s M-72 location.
“Our current building is so cramped that we have no space to set up new product production,” said Electro-Optics President and Co-founder Dave Scerbak. “Further, EOT’s unique facility requirements did not coincide well with the existing inventory of buildings in the Traverse City area and a new building was required to adequately address these unique requirements.”
The facility will feature 15,000 square feet of “clean room” space.
“All of our current optical production would benefit from assembly and test in a cleaner environment,” Scerbak said, “so we’re moving it all to the new clean room space and spreading it out so that cleanliness remains a top priority for us.”
Adding this feature has pushed the price tag of the building closer to $4.5 million, he added.
As for the old building, the machine shop will likely remain there until the clean room production move is complete. In the long run, the company might use the existing building for “different product platforms and extra vertical integration, such as coating and/or fabrication of small run custom optics,” said Scerbak, who’s been leading the company for 28 years.
Electro-Optics, which has been supplying enabling components and diagnostic equipment worldwide for manufacturers and users of high power laser systems since 1987, has 85 employees and holding.
“Although our new building positions us for further future expansion, in the near term we’re planning to hold our employee base largely constant as we assimilate costs associated with new building equipment and furniture – as well as some surprisingly large health care cost increases,” he said.
Over the past few years, EOT has experienced significant growth globally. It began shipping from its China facility last November.