Briefly: Big News In A Small Format


Traverse City web design & development company Byte Productions is showing its appreciatIon for 24 years in business by giving away a website package to a deserving northern Michigan nonprofit in May.

Byte is accepting nominations at from April 1-7. Nonprofits will then be contacted and asked to submit an application to be considered for online voting. Following an online voting period, one of the top three finalists will be chosen by the company’s panel of judges.

The website package includes a custom-designed website, complete content management system, online donation capabilities, two years of free web hosting and website consulting.



Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group (LBBRG) will open in early April at 415 Munson Avenue in Traverse City. The center focuses on individuals who have sustained neurological injuries.

This is LBBRG’s second location; the first opened in Rockford, Mich., in late 2005.

The Traverse City center is designed to rehab clients with expertise coupled with state-of-the-art equipment for neurological rehabilitation, which includes locomotor training with body-weight support systems, aqua therapy, robotics, electrical stimulation and circuit training for fitness.



Traverse City’s Britten Studios has acquired Eyewood Design, an Interlochen-based woodworking company, and created its newest division: Britten Woodworks.

The division produces high-end cabinetry and millwork to both residential and commercial customers. Randy Howard, founder of Eyewood Design, has been appointed as vice president of sales for Britten Woodworks.

Known as the “banner experts,” Britten Studios has been steadily diversifying its capabilities to form a “creative production house.”

“We look forward to serving [the region] as we uphold the 20-year legacy of craftsmanship established by Randy and Carol Howard and their Eyewood Design team,” said CEO Paul Britten.



Critter Control in Traverse City has been purchased by Rollins, Inc., a global consumer and commercial service company that provides pest control services and protection. Some of its other subsidiaries include Orkin, The Industrial Fumigant Company and PermaTreat.

Critter Control will continue to operate independently and be managed by CEO Kevin Clark, who established the pest control company in Traverse City in 1983 and has grown the franchise into the nation’s leading wildlife control company. It has 114 franchises in 40 states and in Canada.

“Rollins bought the brand and the brand will continue,” said Clark. “It is business as usual.”

As far as the sale itself, Clark said, “The timing was right, the market was right … so I pulled the trigger.”



Century 21 Northland was recently recognized by the Century 21 Greater Michigan Broker Councils with several prestigious awards for 2014:

Owner/brokers Brad Platt, Julia Lilley and Jason Kudary were presented with the Double Centurion Office Award for the second consecutive year, acknowledging them as the #1 office and company in the Northern Michigan Broker Councils, and the #1 office by AGC in the Great Lakes region, which places it as the #1 office in the state of Michigan for 2014.

The firm was also presented with the President’s Award for the second consecutive year and the Quality Service Pinnacle Award for achieving and maintaining a 95 percent overall score index for three consecutive years in ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction.

It is the only office in the Greater Michigan Broker Councils to have achieved both Centurion level of production and the Quality Service Pinnacle in the same year for two years running.

A number of agents from the team were also recognized with individual awards for their achievements in 2014.



Clockwork Integrated Marketing, a full-service marketing team, has opened at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. It handles brand identity, web design, television or print advertising and online optimization. The firm is owned by Rachel Tompkins and Bob Rose. The office is located at 800 Cottageview Drive, Ste. 1050.



Northpointe Motors, home of Instant Car Credit, has been serving northern Michigan from their four locations in Traverse City, Kalkaska, Gaylord and Cadillac for 25 years. To celebrate this milestone, it has launched Instant Auto Connect – a half-hour television show featuring quality used vehicles along with financing and purchasing advice. The show is on CBS Thursday mornings, 10-10:30 am, and will run through May.



Local food systems enthusiast, educator and photographer Christina Carson has launched new business venture – Toot Sweet​! Toot Sweet offers photography services and a blog featuring creative recipes, images and stories of local food in northwest Michigan. Photography services focus on working with restaurants, farms, and local food businesses to highlight the edibles coming out of the region, but Toot Sweet is also be available for portraits and event photography.



Local specialty food producer Brownwood Farms has released a new brand design. Owner Jeff Hughes partnered with Detroit-based communications and branding agency Driven to create a fresh look for more than 25 products, including mustards, BBQ sauces, preserves, fruit butters, premium pie fillings and fruit salsa.



Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is now a presenting sponsor of the monthly TRED North newsletter. TRED – which stands for Traverse Region Event Directive – was created to be a central point for the promotion of quality running and cycling events, primarily in the Grand Traverse region but also throughout Michigan.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is sponsoring the TRED North monthly newsletter, emailed to more than 10,000 persons, as an initiative of the Resort’s Barefoot active lifestyle brand.

“We’ve seen an increased interest in race-themed vacations, “ aid Steve Timmer, the Resort’s director of marketing. “Through our partnership with TRED North, we are excited to help support and promote the active lifestyle, competitive races, and fun runs that Traverse City is so well known for.”

TRED North was created in 2010 by Brian Hagerty.



The following agents with RE/MAX Bayshore Properties were recipients of sales and service awards at the recent RE/MAX of Michigan Annual Conference and Awards Gala:

– Maureen Penfold ranked #3 of the Top 5 Individuals in sales and was the top female agent. She also was recognized as a 2014 member of the Chairman’s Club, the highest award for annual sales performance and received the Silver Service Award for 25 years of service with RE/MAX.

– Bob Brick ranked #5 in the Top 5 Individuals among RE/MAX of Michigan agents

– Marsha Minervini, Matt Dakoske and Bob Brick were admitted to the Platinum Club for outstanding sales performance in 2014.

– Dean Baker, Rick Stein, Tim Reid, Lisa Rossi, Jules Yates, Sandy Gunning, Gary Roberts, Randy Dye, and Ted Lockwood became members of the 100% Club for their 2014 sales performance.

– Brett Nichols, Ron Tousain and Rick Stein were recognized as members of the Executive Club for 2014 sales achievements.

– Randy Dye of RE/MAX Bayshore Properties Frankfort received the Hall of Fame award for achieving $1,000,000 in commissions throughout his career with RE/MAX.



Dr. Donald J. Funk has opened Structure and Function Chiropractic and Rehab in Traverse City, offering non-invasive physical medicine and rehabilitation for pain relief and athletic performance enhancement. Dr. Funk is also the new head varsity wrestling coach for the Traverse City Central wrestling program, bringing additional expertise of nutrition, fitness, and sports medicine to the Traverse City community.

The clinic is located at 310 W. Front St., Ste. 310b; 231-421-3968;



PB&J, a Traverse City-based creative agency, received seven Gold Awards and a Judge’s Choice Award at the 2015 West Michigan ADDY Awards. The agency received this recognition for work, including billboard and poster campaigns, created on behalf of client Maxbauers Market.

PB&J competed against larger firms from the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo market. The Traverse City firm received the most Gold Awards of any agency in the competition.

PB&J’s work will now advance to a district competition where it will compete with work from around the Midwest. It may then advance to the larger national competition.



FAST Physical Therapy in Traverse City is now FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers. The name change is a result of a group of private practice owners who have joined together to add a state of the art balance program to their existing programs.

In addition to therapy for sports injuries, orthopedics, spine and joints, and pre/post surgery, Fyzical has now expanded to include the SOS Fall Prevention System: a state of the art balance, dizziness, and fall prevention therapy system.

Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers remain locally owned at both Copper Ridge and Fit For You Health Club locations.



NeXt I.T., an IT solutions company with a location in Traverse City, has earned recognition on The Channel Company’s 2015 CRN Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list as one of the MSP Pioneer 250 award winners. This annual list distinguishes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose leading approach to managed services enables their customers to improve operational efficiencies, elicit greater value from their IT investments and successfully leverage technology to achieve greater competitive advantage.



Northern Michigan’s first cigar bar opened in late January in downtown Traverse City. Owner Mike Nolan, president of the Michigan Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailer’s Association, was integral in getting an exemption to the statewide smoking ban to permit the new business.

Nolan has operated Nolan’s Tobacco, a leading purveyor of premium cigars in Traverse City, since 1978. Joining the likes of Churchill’s of Birmingham, La Casa de la Habana and Jenuwine’s Cigar Lounge in the Detroit area, Nolan’s Cigar Bar at 336 E. Front Street offers a premium selection of bourbon and scotch, cocktails, beer and wine.

The bar is open Monday through Saturday, from 2pm-12am.



Lifelong Traverse City contractor Luke Schwartz has launched Turning Leaf Fine Homes, Inc., a full-scale design/build/contracting service. He brings more than 14 years of experience building homes in the area to his new design business. Included in his service are 3D renderings to give clients the “feel of their home” before the construction process even begins. 231.409.2464;



Talent Ventures, LLC, a Florida-based company that specializes in the representation of musical and theatrical entertainment on local, national and international stages, is pleased to announce its national expansion with the appointment of Elizabeth Sexton Rivers of Traverse City as director of corporate sales in northern Michigan.

Rivers is responsible for developing relationships with corporate clients on a national level and creating opportunities for the artists Talent Ventures represents in the growing meeting and incentive travel marketplace. 231-534-4532.



Dingeman & Dancer in Traverse City has received a First Tier ranking from U.S. News & World Report, Best Lawyers: one of the recognized guides to legal excellence in the United States for more than 30 years.

The ranking is achieved via feedback from clients and peers as well as information obtained from the firm. Best Lawyers ranks more than 10,000 firms in 118 practice areas in 170 metropolitan areas and eight states.

Established in 1990, Dingeman & Dancer is a full service law firm serving clients in the business, government and nonprofit sectors, as well as individuals.



Integrity Home Health Care in Traverse City has opened Integrity Health Training School, offering a Nurse Aide Training Program that prepares students to become certified nurse aides.

Executive Director Greg Hall said the school was formed specifically to meet the growing demand for quality health care services and health-related education in the region.

“There continues to be a substantial shortage of highly qualified caregivers in the greater Grand Traverse region, and we felt compelled to do something about it,” said Hall.“ The training school will allow us to give our own caregivers, and the community at large, the necessary training and education to meet the increased demands we are seeing in the health care industry. Additionally, it will allow us to do our part to improve employee retention and wages in an industry that traditionally suffers in these areas.”

Because home health care companies are not regulated in Michigan (no background checks, etc.), the local business pursued state approval for a program to elevate the standard of care locally.

The class runs approximately three weeks – the next session starts April 6 and the $599 tuition includes all books and both classroom and clinical training. There is a scholarship for the cost of the class available to one student. Prospective students can apply for it by sending us a short essay describing why they want to be a caregiver and why they deserve the scholarship to

Upon completion, students are qualified to take the Michigan State Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) exam.

More information by calling 946.3000.