Making It in Northern Michigan: Alfie Logo Gear

Bonnie Alfonso sees a higher purpose in branding – one that goes beyond simply maximizing sales. “It generates pride and connection,” said Alfonso, president of Traverse City-based Alfie Logo Gear, which opened its doors in 1990. Feeling connected as part of a larger purpose keeps employees engaged...

Making It in Northern Michigan: Quantum Sails

by Clark Miller One of the largest – and arguably most innovative – manufacturers of boat sails in the world is headquartered in Traverse City. The reason is simple. When industry veteran Ed Reynolds was asked to become president of Quantum Sails by majority owner Doug DeVos,...

Making It in Northern Michigan: Anchor Lamina

by Clark Miller With 150 employees, Anchor Lamina, an international producer of components for stamping dies, ranks as an important employer in Bellaire. So when the pandemic hit, General Manager Tom Davidson took quick action to keep it that way. “We worked through the entire pandemic, only slowing down...

Making It in Northern Michigan: Dutchman Manufacturing Co.

by Clark Miller Dutchman Manufacturing Company recently doubled its workforce. Since founding the company in 2011, Tom Van Fossen has relied solely on just two very special “employees.” Both of them work tirelessly, accurately and profitably – and without pay. They are computer numerical control (CNC) devices....

Graceland Fruit ‘Focused and on a Great Path’

For nearly 50 years, Graceland Fruit has played an important role in the Up North tart cherry industry. Founded as a growers’ cooperative that processed and helped market the annual harvest, the company later pioneered fruit drying processes that helped create year-round utilization of fruit. Graceland’s...

Making It In Northern Michigan: Padded stirrup covers gain traction

Not every new invention has to be complicated. Based on everyday experience, Boise, Idaho-based urologist Dr. Autumn Bridger identified a simple but persistent problem at her practice: Her patients found exams and medical procedures uncomfortable. In particular, they found cold, metal foot stirrups unwelcoming, which some doctors...

Making It in Northern Michigan: Hayes Manufacturing

Not all business marriages work. However, the purchase nearly a year ago of Hayes Manufacturing in Fife Lake by the much larger CK Power in St. Louis seems to be doing just fine. There are concrete reasons for that. First, this is not a case of...

Progressive Business Strategies Pay Off for Strata Design

The middle of the 2007-2009 Great Recession seems like a uniquely poor time to buy a business, especially one related to construction. Undaunted, Tyler Cerny bought Traverse City-based Strata Design, a commercial cabinet and countertop manufacturer. The gamble paid off. Armed with a materials science engineering...

Stormcloud Brewery a year-round anchor for Frankfort residents

Stormcloud Brewing in Frankfort has grown up fast. After seven years in business, it has an ultra-modern brewery that sports solar panels, charging stations for electric cars and the latest in lighting, heating and cooling technology. The decision to make such a major capital investment isn’t...