Briefly: Big News In A Small Format

40UNDER40 Hits 10 Years – Nomination Period Now Open

The Traverse City Business News is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Hagerty Traverse City Business News’ 40Under40!
Now in its 10th year, this celebration recognizes individuals in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie and Kalkaska counties – under the age of 40 – who are impacting their community, the region and the economy in a big way.

If you fit this description, or know someone who does, complete the form at A list of frequently asked questions is also available online.

The nomination deadline is Fri., June 30, at 5pm. Nominations received after that time will not be accepted.


Traverse City company Versus Technology is being acquired by Midmark Corporation of Dayton, Ohio. Founded in 1988, Versus specializes in real-time locating systems for the health care industry. The technology is used by more than 800 hospitals for patient tracking, bed management, asset tracking and nurse call automation – all designed to make health care systems safer and more efficient. Midmark is a leading provider of medical, dental and veterinary equipment solutions, specializing in workflow solutions.

“We are very excited for the opportunity this collaboration will provide for our system integrators and end-user customers,” HT Snowday, president of Versus, said in a release about the merger.
Versus’ core operations will remain in Traverse City.


Glen Arbor-headquartered Cherry Republic will open its fifth location in Michigan – this time in Frankenmuth – by Memorial Day weekend.

“We found a nice spot and we’re really excited about it,” said Founder and President Bob Sutherland, of the location it’s leasing at River Place Shops, a German-themed outdoor shopping mall. He expects to hire 15 employees to staff the shop.

Sutherland said Frankenmuth sees a customer who doesn’t necessarily make it to northern Michigan.

“They get a lot of tour buses … a lot of groups on their big, once-a-year trip,” he adds. “I think we’re going to find a new customer base.”

Sutherland said new locations for the company are critically important, especially so to its home base. “With more stores and more sales, the more we can hire locally,” he added. “Ultimately a store down in Frankenmuth may mean a couple of new positions up here.”


Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City was recently recognized by the state of Michigan for its partnership with Traverse House Clubhouse. Traverse House is a community-based psychosocial rehabilitation program for people with a severe and persistent mental illness.

For more than seven years, Right Brain has been committed to helping people who disabilities obtain employment at the brewery, in hopes to dispel the stigma of mental illness. Right Brain currently staffs one employee that helps maintain the cleanliness of the pub.

“Not many employers are able to provide these types of opportunities to those with disabilities,” said Right Brain owner Russell Springsteen. “We’re lucky to be able to partner with the Traverse House and take great pride in working with an organization that shares our ideals of treating all people with compassion, dignity, and respect. As a result of receiving this award, we hope it will serve to inspire other companies to get involved with the Traverse House Clubhouse.”


Rehmann Financial has been named to PlanAdvisor magazine’s “Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers” list for 2016 – spotlighting advisor individuals and teams that stand out in terms of quantitative measures. The firm was recognized in the “mega team” segment based on its plan client base of more than 250 plan advisory clients.

“This great news reflects Rehmann Financial’s efforts to deliver outstanding service,” said Rehmann Financial Managing Director and Principal Ryan Sullivan of the Traverse City office. “We’re looking forward to providing even more in the years to come.”


A Grand Traverse Pavilions employee and a trustee of the Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation were recently recognized by LeadingAge Michigan for their accomplishments in elder care.

Cindy Weber, a certified nurse aid at the Grand Traverse Pavilions in Traverse City, was awarded the Caring Spirit award, which recognizes frontline staff and direct care employees who have made a significant impact on the lives of older adults. Weber has worked as a nurse aid at The Pavilions for 34 years.

Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation Board Trustee Evelyn Richardson was named Trustee of the Year. Richardson has served on the board for 15 years, as a past president, vice president, and treasurer. As part of the SwingShift and the Stars dance-off for charity she raised $155,472 for PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), which the Pavilions is working to bring to northern Michigan.


Britten Studios in Traverse City is now offering SoundCheck acoustic panels designed to reduce excess noise in office spaces, reception areas, conference rooms, restaurants and shopping centers.

SoundCheck panels are wrapped in acoustically transparent fabric. The fabric can be custom printed with any artwork or design of your choosing. Noise is trapped inside the panels by insulation that absorbs 95 percent of all sound waves. The panel frames are handcrafted in the company’s woodworking facility.


Michigan Insurance Company recently recognized Peterson McGregor & Associates in Traverse City as an Agency of Distinction. Michigan agencies of distinction are independent agencies that have demonstrated exceptional performance in business and customer service as they relate to Michigan Insurance Company.


Floor Covering Brokers Carpet One in Traverse City was recently featured in national trade magazine Floor Focus.

“We are so excited to be recognized in the industry and are so extremely proud of the team of professionals that we employ in northern Michigan,” said Dennis Lauterbach, owner Floor Covering Brokers Carpet One.


Local foods distributor Cherry Capital Foods has named Lee Michaels vice president of operations, and Evan Smith executive director of outreach and policy, in an effort to maximize the talents of the long-time staff members.

Smith has been with the company since 2009 and Michaels since 2010.

From its growth to more than 60 employees, the tripled size of its home offices and warehouse space at 1610 Barlow Street in Traverse City and its expansion into new markets in Lansing, Smith said the changes are just in time to meet the expectations and projected growth for 2016.

Among its expansion efforts, Cherry Capital Foods has also developed into a regional food hub, which has positioned the company to assist regional second-tier businesses, preparing them for the next phase of growth within the Michigan food system.


Conde Nast Traveler magazine recently recognized Crystal Mountain as the top U.S. resort for family reunions. Crystal Mountain is one of only two from the Midwest, joined by Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minn., that ranked third.

This latest accolade represents the third national recognition in the last eight months for the Benzie County-based resort, also earning a spot on Fodor’s list of Best US Resorts for Fall Getaways and a place in Parents magazine’s Ten Best Snow Resorts for a second time.

Conde Nast noted the resort’s locale and four-season appeal: “What this 243-unit Midwestern ski resort doesn’t have in altitude, it makes up for in amenities. In winter think eight new “Backyard” runs, fast lifts, a serious spa, and high-end cottages right in the village. In summer, a prime location means you’re just a short drive from the stunning ocean-like-views of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.”


Century 21 Northland in Traverse City recently received the President’s Award for the third consecutive year from its corporate office. The award is granted to those agencies that earn the Century 21 Centurion Award and the Century 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Award in the same calendar year.

Century 21 Northland’s Traverse City office was ranked #1 individual office in the state of Michigan as well as the Great Lakes Region. Corporate Century 21 also recognized and ranked the Traverse City office 23rd in the nation and the company as whole came in 46th. This is the company’s 10th year of being in operation.


Traverse City Light & Power’s (TCL&P) board recently appointed a new chairperson, vice-chairperson, and reappointed its secretary. Jan Geht, who has served as the vice-chairperson for the past two years, was elected chairperson; Jeff Palisin was elected vice-chairperson, and Tim Arends, TCL&P’s executive director, was re-elected secretary. Each will serve a one-year term.

“Local control, with community focus is a major benefit of a municipally-owned electric utility.” said Geht. “There will be many items to consider in the coming year that falls within TCL&P’s mission of providing public power benefits of safety, lower rates, high reliability, local control and exceptional customer service. I look forward to working with staff and the Board as we work to continue our mission and accomplish the tasks that come before us.”

Geht has been on the TCL&P board since 2013. He practices law with Bowerman, Bowden, Ford, Clulo & Luyt, P.C. in Traverse City. Palisin has served on the TCL&P board since 2013. He runs a small manufacturing company located in Garfield Township.


Electrical Codes and Standards Training Institute (ECSTI), a division of Certified Training Institute, recently won the 2016 Product of the Year Award for the training software category. The award was presented by EC&M Magazine, the largest electrical construction and maintenance publication in the United States.

ECSTI was selected for its design and technological advances in interactive online training for the electrical industry. As winner of EC&M Product of the Year 2016 in the training software category, ECSTI is now eligible to win the overall Product of the Year 2016.

Certified Training Institute, owned by Teri Francis, has been a leader in the trades education industry since 1999, providing classroom and online licensing and continuing education courses in electrical, building and construction, architecture, real estate, engineering, and drone technology.


Wolverine Cabinet Company, founded in 2006 in Wolverine, Mich.,  has opened its third location – this time in downtown Traverse City. Founder and president Brian O’Connor formed a partnership with a small Amish-run cabinet factory in southern Indiana and the family-run facility builds Wolverine cabinets to O’Connor’s specifications.

The company is holding an open house celebration on Fri., May 13, 11am-7pm, at its new location at the corner of Eighth and Cass streets. The company also has showrooms in Wolverine and Petoskey.

A local office supply store and a long-time community businessman were recently named the 2016 Citizen and Business of the Year for the Kalkaska community. Advanced Office Supply and businessman and property developer Robert Murray were honored at a special luncheon last month.

Murray started in the real estate business in the mid-1970s at the old Ski and Shore Realty office and later bought the company. He continued working in real estate for several years and eventually sold his firm, known as Preferred Properties, to the Coldwell Banker chain in 2003. He developed numerous subdivisions in and around Kalkaska. When members of the community approached him several years ago about the need for a hotel/resort in the village, he developed the All Seasons Hotel & Resort, where he remains a co-owner today. The hotel is among the Top 10 finalists in the Traverse City Area Chamber’s 2016 Small Business Celebration.

Advanced Office Supply, located at 332 Cedar Street in downtown Kalkaska, has been owned and operated by Katina Banko since 2001. Advanced Office Supply was described as “great ambassadors of the community” by nominators who said the store is a “business hang out” where local residents and business people frequently gather. Advanced Office Supply offers a customer business center and the store has diversified in recent years to include printing services and offers daily delivery service to communities throughout the area.


JDA Worldwide, with an office in Traverse City, has acquired Hanon McKendry, with offices in Grand Rapids and Colorado. Hanon McKendry was founded in Grand Rapids in 1994 and grew to become the largest branding and advertising agency in Michigan, outside of Detroit. It had since merged with The CSK Group in Colorado Springs. JDA Worldwide is a full service agency specializing in research and strategy, media planning and buying, advertising, branding and design.

RE/MAX Bayshore Properties Opens Manistee Office

RE/MAX Bayshore Properties has opened its fifth location in northern Michigan with an office in Manistee. According to the firm, the downtown Manistee area is seeing more activity, there is easy access to Lake Michigan, acreage ownership is possible and the prices are right.
The new office, located at 327 First Street, is staffed by one associate broker and three agents.
There are also RE/MAX Bayshore franchises in Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Benzie counties.