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Huntington Bank to purchase area banks

A large national bank is buying up several Bank of America locations in mid-Michigan. We'll take that as a good sign of faith in the financial communities locally.
Huntington Bank, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, announced it will acquire 11 bank branches from Bank of America centered around Saginaw and Bay City. 
The locations include Kochville Township, Saginaw Township, Midland, Port Huron, St. Clair, Algonac, Alma, East China, Fort Gratiot and Richmond as well as Saginaw and Bay City. The acquisitions will bring Huntington Bank's locations in Michigan up to 173. 
The deal is expected to be closed by the end of 2014.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Huntington Bank

Biggby's Coffee comes to Midland, Bay City

Biggby Coffee is a well-established chain in Michigan, and has its roots in mid-Michigan, so it's about time Midland and Bay City were home to one of the franchise's locations.
The chain, founded in 1995, is based in East Lansing and already has locations in Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant and Alma. One of the founders of Biggby's, Bob Fish, recently traveled through the area (he's on a tour of all the Biggby Coffee shops), which accompanied the announcement that two new stores would open in Midland and Bay City.
The Midland location would be at 961 S. Saginaw Road, while the Bay City location will be at 604 N. Euclid Avenue. 
Fish spoke locally at the MidMichigan Innovation Center as part of its Innovator Spotlight speaker series, focusing on how he and co-founder Mary Roszel built the chain from one East Lansing coffee shop to what is planned to be 300 locations across the U.S. by 2015.
Biggby Coffee menus focus on coffee and tea drinks, and the stores' stated mission is to "be happy, have fun, make friends, love people and drink great coffee." Nothing wrong with that.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Biggby Coffee/MidMichigan Innovation Center

New chop house opening in Flushing

The former Speakeasy Restaurant in Flushing has re-opened with new owners, a new name--new everything, in fact. 
It's now the Signature Chop House, located at 1537 East Pierson Road, near the corner of East Pierson and North Elms roads, and right between downtown Flushing and the Dalton Airport, which makes it a nice high-traffic location. It's been under renovation by the new ownership since 2011, and hosted a "soft opening" in late March.
Among the changes greeting new customers are a wide variety of wines, a new menu featuring steaks (as you might guess from the name), an entirely remodeled upscale interior, and new staff and owners, of course.
The Signature Chop House also is home to a bar and a large banquet facility, which is available for reservations for up to 500 people. 
To see the new look and try the new menu, the chop house is now open from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and on Sundays; and from 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Later in the season, outdoor patio seating also will be available.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Signature Chop House

Baker College in Flint opens doors on new business school

Baker College in Flint is taking steps to transform its business education programs into a business school of the future. 
It opened the doors on a new Center for Business in late March, hosting an open house so the community could get acquainted with the new school of business' home. A major focus of the newly designed school is partnering with local businesses for problem-solving and collaboration. 
The new center has 10 classrooms, a business conference center, a boardroom and an auditorium that enables interactive video displays on all four walls. Baker College has put millions of dollars into the renovated building, formerly part of the undergraduate studies building. 
Classes started in the new, 10,000-square-foot center in January. Among its features are interactive whiteboards that connect notes and presentations to cloud storage; classroom iPads for each students; webcams for video conferencing with business professionals; and easily reconfigurable classrooms.
"The Center for Business was created to encourage students to collaborate, solve problems and gain real-world business experience while earning their degrees," says Baker College of Flint president Julianne Princinsky. "The design of the Center, its technology, our instructors and our curriculum are all focused on developing and fine tuning higher order critical thinking skills in our students in order to make them job-ready at graduation."
The programs offered include bachelor's and associate degrees in accounting, marketing, management, and supply chain management; associate degrees in administrative professional, digital media design, entrepreneurship, general business, human resource management, and interior design; and a certificate in clerical bookkeeping.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Baker College of Flint

Pisanello's Pizza expands in Mt. Pleasant

The popular Pisanello's Pizza in downtown Mt. Pleasant is expanding. But it's not going anywhere, don't worry; it's doubling in size to the space next door. 
Owner Jim Jacobs renovated the other half of the Pisanello's building  at 110 North Main Street, and expanded his dining room into it, to better serve customers. 
Among the new features are about 40 more seats, more bathrooms, more entrances and exits. The menu remains the same, however, including the lunchtime pizza buffet.
Pisanello's Pizza in Mt. Pleasant is one of 21 Pisanello's locations; the others all are in Ohio.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Pisanello's Pizza

Olvera's Texas Pit BBQ opens in Saginaw

Olvera may be a more familiar name to mid-Michigan food fans than you first realize. 
The new Olvera's Texas Pit BBQ is now open at 6099 Gratiot Road in Saginaw, with it's first day welcoming customers as March 17, St. Patrick's Day, although the beef isn't going to be corned--more like slow-smoked brisket. 
Olvera's is owned by Dave Olvera, whose roots in the restaurant industry started with his parents, Paul and Esther Olvera, who owned the Mexican restaurant Casa del Rey on Bay Road in Saginaw for many years. 
Dave cut his chops along with his father in the competitive barbeque world, and has been cooking barbeque for decades at competitions, festivals, events, and now at the new restaurant. 
Paul Olvera came to Michigan from Austin, Texas, part of the reason Olvera's Texas Pit BBQ got its name.
Olvera's Texas Pit BBQ is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. They'll be holding a ribbon cutting celebration soon; stay tuned to the restaurant's Facebook page to find out more.
You also can find their homemade BBQ seasoning for sale locally, or have Olvera's cater an event.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Olvera's Texas Pit BBQ

Kerkau Manufacturing expands in Bay City

Kerkau Manufacturing in Bay City is making some new changes this spring, including more than $1 million invested in machinery and equipment--which in turn is leading to plenty of new jobs. 
Kerkau makes precision machined components like pipe flanges. It announced in February that it added new high-precision machinery that will help factory productivitiry, along with a twin spindle turning center and measuring technology. 
Over the last five years, Kerkau has invested more than $7 million into its Bay City facility, including creating dozens of new jobs.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Kerkau Manufacturing

New chiropractic practice opens in Midland

A new chiropractic office is open in downtown Midland. Dr. Melanie Waskevich has opened the doors on Waskevich Family Chiropractic at 901 E. Indian Street.
Waskevich has been caring for chiropractic patients in Midland and surrounding communities for the last 10 years, but it was time to open her own practice.
She is welcoming new patients of all ages, and specializes in expectant mothers, children and families. Waskevich treats spinal pain, headaches, migraines, nerve pain, numbness, soft tissue injuries, sciaticia, pregnancy-related pain, sports injuries, auto accident injuries, TMJ and other personal injuries.
She is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa and Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Waskevich Family Chiropractic

Element 22 expands to meet client needs

A Midland fitness studio is expanding into the lifestyle realm by partnering with two other small locally-owned businesses. 
Element 22, located at 223 E. Wackerly Street in Midland, has been offering barre, Pilates, Zumba, yoga and other fitness classes since 2012. Now, it is also home to two mini-boutiques: Athalia's Boutique and Earth Food Farm. 
Athalia's carries on-trend women's clothing and accessories, while Earth Food Farm offers handmade natural foods like granola mixes, muffins and gluten-free cookies. All three businesses are owned by Midland-based female entrepreneurs. Element 22 is co-owned by Jennifer Glackin and Amy Jaster; Athalia's Boutique is owned by Jacqueline Bradley; and Earth Food Farm is owned by Kristina Knopic. 
Both the product lines complement Element 22's mission of helping women live healthy lifestyles.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Element 22

New Pathways expands with new office, more staff

Change is good, right? If you're New Pathways Counseling Services of Midland, it definitely is. The company, which was founded in 2012, has been consistently growing since it first opened its doors. So much so, in fact, New Pathways has new staff, new offices and expanded services and insurance coverage. 
New Pathways Counseling Services originally opened at 2801 Ashman Street, but has since expanded into an adjacent building, located at 2805 Ashman. There, complete renovations of the interior and remodeling of the exterior have taken place, and now new staff and offices occupy the building. 
Katherine Arkell, who formerly had a therapy practice in Akransas before moving to Midland, has joined New Pathways. In addition to being a therapist, she is also a registered play therapist supervisor and works with children ages 3-17. 
To help better serve clients in that age range, New Pathways also added a kid-friendly playroom known simply as the Kid Cave. 
For more information, visit New Pathways website.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: New Pathways Counseling Services

Common Grind Specialty Coffee Shop opens in Saginaw

If you're anywhere near the Cardinal View shopping center in Saginaw and you get an urge for some awesome coffee, then you should probably aim yourself toward the newly-opened Common Grind Specialty Coffee Shop, located at 2903 Pierce. 
The shop, which is co-owned by Tamir Halees and Phyllip Taylor, offers up the expected variety of beverages like coffee, latte and cappuccino (I'll take a Red Eye, please!), they also have soup, salads, sandwiches and other food items. 
You can find out more about Common Grind Specialty Coffee Shop, including some of their tasty menu items, by following them on their Facebook page
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Common Grind Specialty Coffee Shop

Wade Trim moves to new technology park location

Detroit-based surveying and engineering firm Wade Trim is making a move in the mid-Michigan area, quite literally. 
The Bay City Wade Trim office moved to a new address in Monitor Township, at the Valley Center Technology Park. While the company has had several addresses in the Bay City area since it opened here in 1957, the latest move is one that's designed to be centrally located in the Great Lakes Bay Region and make the best use of available office space.
The office now is located at 1403 South Valley Center Drive, and its phone and fax numbers are staying the same. All of the current 25 employees, including engineers, surveyors, field technicians and administrative staff, are also remaining with the company.
Most recently, Wade Trim has worked on road improvements in Kawkawlin Township and Saginaw, and site and utility in improvements in Ogemaw Township. It serves business and governmental customers all over mid-Michigan.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Wade Trim

Barberi opens new law office in Midland

Favorite Mount Pleasant lawyer Joseph Barberi is expanding to a new office in Midland. 
His firm, Joseph T. Barberi, PC, has been in business in Mount Pleasant since 1989, and focuses on family and divorce law, criminal cases, personal injury cases, and estate planning.
While Barberi and the five attorneys on staff have already been serving clients across mid-Michigan, the Midland office will provide a physical location for Midland clients to work with their attorneys. It's located at 1618 Denver Street, in the Astrike Financial Building. 
Mount Pleasant clients can still find Barberi at 2305 Hawthorn Drive in that fair city, as well.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Joseph T. Barberi, PC

Yeo & Yeo extends reach with merger

MidMichigan Health's Stratford Village to expand

Stratford Village in Midland, a residential rehabilitation and assisted living home owned by MidMichigan Health, has expanded and is inviting the public to see what's been done.

MidMichigan Stratford Village is located at 2121 Rockwell Drive in Midland and will host an open house and ribbon cutting on Friday, Jan. 10 at noon, with tours of the additions to the facility.
There are two expanded units which will open to residents Jan. 15, named Woodbridge and Meadowbrook. They consist of 10 all-private rooms each and are designed for patients with memory care diagnoses, like Alzheimer's, as well as patients with short-term rehabilitation needs, like those recovering from surgeries.
Woodbridge, which is an addition of 7,397 square feet, adds access within Stratford Village in a new "neighborhood" home-like setting that is designed to help patients with Alzheimer's, dementia and other memory conditions feel at home with calm colors, a safe environment, and even a quieter communication system for the staff, which helps to avoid anxiety for residents.
Meadowbrook, on the other hand, is designed for short-term rehabilitation residents, like those recovering from joint replacement and other surgeries, and includes bariatric treatment rooms and additional rehabilitation equipment, and larger community areas in its added 8,174 square feet.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MidMichigan Health
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