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New photography business opens doors

We love to hear about young people returning to Michigan to start up new businesses, which is just what Clare native Ryan Watkins is doing.

Watkins, a professional photographer, has recently graduated from the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusetts, where he earned the school's Highest Academic Excellence Award.

He's back in mid-Michigan and starting a portrait photography and retouching business called Ryan Watkins Photography. He specializes in weddings, senior photos, family and child portraiture, corporate head shots, and high-end retouching.

Among the products Watkins offers are gift and standard size prints; canvas, wood or metal prints; portrait albums; thank you, save the date and graduation cards; Facebook collections and timeline photos, iPhone cases and high-definition slide shows.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Ryan Watkins Photography


MCG Plastics expanding

Bay County plastic injection molding company MCG Plastics announced it will double its facility size and expand its workforce.

The Bangor Township company will invest more than $600,000 into the expansion, which will add 15,000 square feet to the facility for warehousing, and allow owner Mario Garza to hire up to five new employees.

"MCG Plastics, Inc. is dedicated to continuing to grow their company and workforce in Bangor Township and Bay County," says Trevor Keyes, Bay Future economic development specialist. "We are very excited about the chance to continue to work with them during and after this expansion."

Among the incentives MCG received toward the expansion was a 12-year, 50 percent tax abatement. The company was founded in 1992.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Bay Future

First State Bank expands in Bay City

A Bay City bank will be taking on a new name this fall, as Saginaw-based 1st State Bank will take over a Bank of America branch which had been scheduled to close.

The branch is located at 3907 Wilder Road and Henry in Bay City, and will close as a Bank of America on November 1. 1st State says it will re-open the banking location in mid- to late November as its second Bay County location, and the fourth in the region.

"There's a very vibrant business community surrounding that branch," says 1st State President and CEO Rick Goedert. "It's important that those businesses have options when it comes to nearby, convenient banks to service them. 1st State has been looking for an opportunity to expand its presence in Bay City, and this seemed like the perfect time and a great place to do it."

1st State Bank was founded in 2004 by a group of Great Lakes Bay Region businesspeople and specializes in business lending and deposit services. Since then it also has added more services, like cash management, remote deposit and free courier service. Its other Bay City location is at 601 N. Madison, and it has two locations, including its headquarters, in Saginaw.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: First State Bank

HPIL Holding announces two new cooperation agreements

HPIL Holding of Saginaw announced two new cooperation agreements with companies in the energy and communications fields. HPIL is a global investment firm with interests in a lot of industries, from health care to sustainability.

The first-announced agreement is with 2Evolution Studios, an Italian web hosting, design and communications company that will work with HPIL Holding during a term of two years to develop possible projects through investment. HPIL is doing the investing through its communications-industry subsidiary, HPIL Globalcom.

Second, the company announced it will partner with O.R.C. SRL, an energy investment company also based in Italy, to extend and develop its interests in the energy sector, for a period of one year. That agreement was made through HPIL's subsidiary in the energy field, HPIL Energytech.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: HPIL Holding

SPACE, Inc. expands warehouse

A design firm with a badly designed warehouse--that's kind of like the old saying about how the plumber's house is the last one to get its pipes fixed.

Midland-based interior design firm SPACE needed help with redesigning its warehouse to be more efficient and serve its customers better, so it turned to the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development center for the Great Lakes Bay Region.

SPAE director of operations Paddy Hobohm worked with MI-SBTDC growth group specialist Kevin Kuhl to help figure out how the company could move forward and streamline the storage capacity it as outgrowing.

Now, the SPACE warehouse is reopened with Lean storage practices, consolidated and automated inventory systems, more available storage space, and a much faster delivery turn-around time. Lean practices involve the elimination of wasted space and time, and improved work flow. In the SPACE warehouse, that meant more vertical storage, organization of like components and fixtures, and a new product tracking system.

Hobohm says SPACE customers can now expect better service, faster delivery and up-to-the-minute inventory.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source SPACE, Inc.

Placement Management Center Staffing re-opens in Flushing

Staffing agency Placement Management Center is celebrating a re-opening and expansion this week at its Flushing office.

Placement Management Center has been in Genesee County since 1995, providing staffing for medical and industrial businesses. It has expanded over the years and now includes solutions for staffing issues, like payroll applications and human resources consulting.

The grand re-opening celebrates the new services and welcomes customers and employers to stop by the new offices for PMC, which is part of the Panter Group.

Part of the celebration includes a ribbon-cutting and open house, planned for August 8 at the agency's 114 E. Main Street location in Flushing.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Placement Management Center

Chalgian and Tripp open Midland law office

There is a new law office in Midland, located at 5820 Eastman Avenue and specializing in estate planning, special needs planning, elder law and probate litigation.

Chalgian & Tripp recently opened the doors to the new office, which will be staffed by Ramon F. Rolf Jr. and Joseph D. Weiler Jr., both of whom have previously had well-estabslihed practices in Midland and live in the area.

"We are thrilled to be opening our Midland office," says Amy Tripp. "We've been serving the needs of clients in the area for years and this development will help us to better serve our clients in the region. And, with the additions of Fred Rolf and Joe Weiler we will not only have the facilities, but the horsepower to handle the elder law and estate planning needs of Midland and surrounding communities.”

Rolf has been in the are for quite awhile, working in the areas of elder law, estate planning and estate and trust administration while Weiler began practicing law in the area in 2008 and focuses on elder law and Medicaid planning.

Chalgian & Tripp also have offices in East Lansing, Jackson, Ithaca and Battle Creek.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Chalgian & Tripp


Market opens with new name, offers Michigan-made products

The Landing convenience store on East Wackerly Street in Midland has gone upscale, changing its offerings and even its name.

The store now is The Landing Market, which reflects its new approach that highlights premium and Michigan-made foods and drinks. Beer and wine from Michigan are one focus, as are Michigan-made snacks and chips.

Other offerings include the usual party goods and convenience merchandise, but with more of a focus on local products and specialty foods. It also will contain a sandwich bar, soft-serve yogurt from the Yogurt Tap, and coffee with in-store seating.

The Landing first opened in October of 2010 and is owned by Alex Lundahl. It's open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays at 203 East Wackerly Street in Bell Plaza.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: The Landing Market

Culver's opens restaurant in Midland

A new Culver's restaurant is opening this month in Midland, the fortieth in the state. It's owned by local owner Pete Spohn, who will also welcome Culver's restaurant chain CEO Craig Culver and president and CEO of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, Sid Allen, for a ribbon cutting on July 18.

The doors will officially open a few days before that, on July 15, so Midland residents can come get a taste of the restaurant's staple menu items, handmade burgers and frozen custard desserts.

"We're thrilled to bring handcrafted, high-quality meals and desserts to the community of Midland," says Spohn. "We think it's a wonderful area and we are excited to become a contributing and active member."

Culver's of Midland will employ 67 team members and be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Culver's of Midland

Kremin, Inc. to build new location

Saginaw-based manufacturer Kremin, Inc. announced it will start construction on a new, 19,000-square-foot facility in Frankenmuth.

The building will add 25 full-time jobs over the next two years, doubling the machined component manufacturer's employment base, and also will serve as the main operations and corporate offices of the company.

It also means expansion in terms of technology, equipment and capacity.

"We are excited about this opportunity and for the future of Kremin Inc. We look forward to working with the city of Frankenmuth and becoming a part of the community," says Mike Grossi, co-owner of Kremin Inc.

Kremin plans to move into the facility in the first quarter of 2014.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Kremin Inc.

Impact Analytical opens doors to new facility

Midland's own Impact Analytical has made the leap to a new, 17,000-square-foot facility that brings the testing laboratory more space, the most state-of-the-art equipment available, and room for more staff and services.

Impact Analytical is a full-service, contract analytical testing lab that serves many industries, including more than 300 pharmaceutical, plastics, consumer products, medical device, packaging and chemical companies.

"This facility is truly state-of-the-art for laboratory testing and expands our capacity by more than 20 percent," says Impact Analytical business manager Eric Hill. "It was designed to maximize efficiency, safety and standardization, so we are able to better serve our customer's needs. The laboratory spaces were designed specifically to match our work process."

The new building is in a new location, at 1940 N. Stark Road in Midland. It has six areas for elemental analysis, gas and liquid separation, microscopy, molecular characterization, thermal and mechanical properties, and employs 35 scientists currently, with many of those recent hires.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Impact Analytical

New Thai bistro comes to Midland

A new restaurant open in Midland offers diners a taste of something new; northern Thai cuisine with a homey style.

The Basil Thai Bistro is owned by Hugh Miller, and it's definitely a family affair, as the recipes not only derive from his Thai family's style of cooking at home, but several family members also contributed restaurant experience, cooking and décor to making the bistro a success.

Miller recently retired from the Dow Chemical Co. and had a longtime dream of opening a Thai restaurant that offered something a little different from the typical Thai food found in the United States, which usually are based around southern Thai cuisine. Instead, the recipes at Basil Thai Bistro hit on notes like basil, cilantro, chili and lemongrass.

The bistro serves a wide variety of appetizers, stir-fries, entrees, soups, curries and drinks, including popular tapioca smoothies, sometimes called bubble tea, with tapioca beads.

Basil Thai Bistro is at 225 West Wackerly Street, in Wackerly Square. It's open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the hours are from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 10 p.m.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Basil Thai Bistro

New Marriott hotel opens in Saginaw

If you're looking for an extended stay in the Saginaw area and would like something with some modern amenities, you may want to consider booking a stay at the newly-opened TownePlace Suites in Saginaw, which is part of the Marriott chain of hotels.

The hotel, which opened at 5368 Fashion Square Blvd., has 73 suites and is close to Saginaw Valley State University, Nexteer and business districts.

The hotel offers an indoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness room, wireless internet and onsite business services. Additionally, the hotel is pet friendly and has laundry facilities for use by guests.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: DML Management Inc.

Two Bay County MDOT grants to support business growth

Bay County is among eight Michigan counties getting major economic development grants from the state Department of Transportation.

The county had two projects approved for funding; the first is at Dow Corning's Auburn site on Eleven Mile Road, which is not currently an all-season route. That causes problems for trucking and costs the company a lot of fuel and shipping money, as well as causing truck traffic congestion. MDOT will improve the road to all-season condition, helping Dow Corning maintain a $117 million investment in building two new product lines in Michigan as opposed to other sites.

The cost will be about $1.54 million including $813,000 in local matching funds.

In Williams Township, Mersen Midland will consolidate its operations in a new 90,000-square-foot building that's projected to bring 32 new jobs to the area. To support the construction, MDOT will build up Flajole Road, realign the intersection with Salzburg Road, and bring it up to large trucking standards and all-season condition, which will allow Mersen to put a freight entrance on the road. The cost is about $369,000, with about $121,000 coming from local matching funds.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Transportation

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