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Michigan Brewers Guild announces 2020 Board of Directors

David Ringler, Owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company

David Ringler (Cedar Springs Brewing Company) elected VP

(KALAMAZOO, Mich) – The Michigan Brewers Guild recently elected its 2020 Board of Directors at its annual meeting, January 9, at the Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza Hotel. Each board position is a two-year term, elected in alternating years (4, 3).

This year, four people were elected to the Guild board:

David Ringler, Owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs, was elected to his second term and will serve this year as Vice President;

 Peter Manthei, Owner of Beards Brewery in Petoskey, was elected to his first term;

 Edward Stencel, Owner of River Rouge Brewing Co., in Royal Oak, was elected to his first term on the board after being appointed in late 2019 to fill a vacancy;

 Kim Collins, Owner of Guardian Brewing Co., in Saugatuck, was elected to her first term on the board.

Additional board members include:

Isaac Hartman, “Ambassador of Great Beer” from New Holland Brewing Company, continues his sixth term on the board and was named President of the association;

Rick Schmitt, Co-Owner of Stormcloud Brewing in Frankfort, continues his first term and will serve this year as Treasurer;

Aubrey Martinson, Co-Owner of Chelsea Alehouse in Chelsea, continues her first term and will serve as the organization’s secretary.

 The conference was a record-breaker in many ways for the organization, with more than 750 attendees including nearly 130 vendors in the Allied Member Trade Show. The Guild also reported 267-member breweries at the close of 2019, up from 256 at the end of 2018.

The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes more than 14,000 full-time jobs, $662 million in labor income / wages with a total economic impact of over $2 billion. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #4 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

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Display Pack announces next president

Andrew Blackmore to oversee leading Display Pack into a new era

Andrew Blackmore

Cedar Springs, Michigan—Display Pack, a leader in custom and stock, food, retail and industrial thermoformed packaging, announced that it has appointed Andrew Blackmore as the next President. This change of leadership has been effective as of January 1, 2020.

Mr. Blackmore brings 17-plus years of industry experience and success to his new role, most recently serving as the company’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Thanks to Victor Hansen’s guidance, our great team and many clients, Display Pack continues to be well-positioned for a dynamic future. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such a company as ours,” said Blackmore.

Victor Hansen has been Display Pack’s President/CEO since 2004 and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. Mr. Hansen has lead the company through many positive changes and growth over the years, – most notably the company’s move from Grand Rapids, MI, to a world-class manufacturing facility in Cedar Springs, Mich., in 2016.

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Study: More jobs might mean more flu

MUNCIE, Indiana – Businesses should take precautions in advance of flu season to keep sick workers home and reduce infection rates that send people to physicians in droves, says new research from Ball State University.

 “The Effects of Employment on Influenza Rates” found that a 1 percentage point increase in the employment rate correlates with increases in the number of influenza-related doctor visits by about 16 percent. These effects are highly pronounced in the retail sector and health care sectors—industries with the highest levels of interpersonal contact.

Erik Nesson, an Associate Professor of Economics at Ball State, said labor market-based activities, such as using public transportation and carpools, working in offices, putting children in daycare, and having frequent contact with the public, might help spread the flu.

“Employers should consider differences in the lost productivity from many employees becoming infected with influenza versus the lost productivity from a few infected individuals taking sick leave,” Nesson said. “Workers concerned about missing pay or losing their jobs as the result of staying home from work due to illness will be less likely to heed early signs of influenza infection and stay home. Since a person may be infectious while experiencing mild symptoms, this greatly increases the probability that the virus will spread to other workers in the firm. This implies that firms should consider more generous sick day policies, particularly during the flu season.”

The study was recently published by Economics & Human Biology. Nesson was joined on the research project by Sara Markowitz, a Professor of Economics at Emory University, and Joshua Robinson, an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The team used state-level data on the prevalence of the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nesson points out that employment conditions can be forecast, to a fairly accurate degree, several months in advance.

 “This information could be used by the public health community to plan for the severity of an upcoming flu season,” he said. “For example, if the economy is on an upswing, the public health community should plan for an above normal increase in flu incidence.

“Our results imply that employment in service industries—particularly retail and health care—is a particularly strong mechanism for flu spread. If our economy continues to shift to more service-oriented employment, the results presented here suggest there is greater potential for flu spread in the future.”

You can access the study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X18302417.

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Reasons for people to file a 2019 tax return

While many people are required to file a tax return, it’s a good idea for everyone to determine if they should file. Some people with low income are not required to file, but will need to do so if they can get a tax refund.

Here are five tips for taxpayers who are deciding whether to file a tax return:

Find out the general reasons to file

In most cases, income, filing status and age determine if a taxpayer must file a tax return. Other rules may apply if the taxpayer is self-employed or can be claimed as a dependent of someone else. There are other reasons when a taxpayer must file. The Interactive Tax Assistant can help someone determine if they the need to file a return.

Look at tax withheld or paid

Here are a few questions for taxpayers to ask themselves:

Did the taxpayer’s employer withhold federal income tax from their pay?

Did the taxpayer make estimated tax payments?

Did they overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, they could be due a refund. They must file a tax return to get their money.

Look into whether they can claim the earned income tax credit

A working taxpayer who earned less than $55,592 last year could receive the EITC as a tax refund. They must qualify and may do so with or without a qualifying child. They can check eligibility by using the 2019 EITC Assistant on IRS.gov. Taxpayers need to file a tax return to claim the EITC.

Child tax credit or credit for other dependents

Taxpayers can claim the child tax credit if they have a qualifying child under the age of 17 and meet other qualifications. Other taxpayers may be eligible for the credit for other dependents. This includes people who have:

Dependent children who are age 17 or older at the end of 2019

Parents or other qualifying individuals they support

The Child-Related Tax Benefits tool can help people determine if they qualify for these two credits.

Education credits

There are two higher education credits that reduce the amount of tax someone owes on their tax return. One is the American opportunity tax credit and the other is the lifetime learning credit. The taxpayer, their spouse or their dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for one academic period to qualify. The taxpayer may qualify for one of these credits even if they don’t owe any taxes. Form 8863, Education Credits is used to claim the credit when filing the tax return.

More information:

Publication 972, Child Tax Credit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-972

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Changes to Curves/Jenny Craig

You may have noticed that Curves/Jenny Craig is no longer located at 55 N. Main Street in Cedar Springs.

According to owner Christine Holman, they have moved their location to 5359 Plainfield Ave NE, in Grand Rapids, and the business is now only affiliated with Jenny Craig. The new location officially opened on January 2, 2020.

“We moved our location to better serve our clients and to provide a more centralized location to the West Michigan area,” explained Holman. “Jenny Craig provides individuals with over 100 Chef Crafted Organic Meals and nutrition counseling to meet their weight loss goals.” 

For more information, you can contact them at 616-323-3139.

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IRS opens 2020 filing season for individual filers on Jan. 27

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that the nation’s tax season will start for individual tax return filers on Monday, January 27, 2020, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2019 tax year returns.

The deadline to file 2019 tax returns and pay any tax owed is Wednesday, April 15, 2020. More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2019 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the traditional April tax deadline.

“As we enter the filing season, taxpayers should know that the dedicated workforce of the IRS stands ready to help,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We encourage taxpayers to plan ahead and use the tools and information available on IRS.gov. The IRS and the nation’s tax community are committed to making this another smooth filing season.”

The IRS set the January 27 opening date to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems and to address the potential impact of recent tax legislation on 2019 tax returns.

While taxpayers may prepare returns through the IRS’ Free File program as well as many tax software companies and tax professionals before the start date, processing of those returns will begin after IRS systems open later this month.

“The IRS encourages everyone to consider filing electronically and choosing direct deposit,” Rettig said. “It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund as quickly as possible.”

Filing electronically flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Taxpayers can get free help preparing and filing taxes through IRS Free File online or free tax help from trained volunteers at community sites around the country. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don’t have to wait until January 27 to start their tax return or contact a reputable tax preparer.

In addition, IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov, the official IRS website, where people can find answers to tax questions and resolve tax issues online. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide (PDF) links to these and other IRS services.

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Congratulations on your Milestones of Success!

Area businesses are recognized for their success with an exclusive ad listing the year they established their business, Name, Address, Phone, and how many years they’ve been in business. Click link below to download…


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Considerations When Marketing A Niche Product


SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business

While no product or service can be a good fit for everyone, niche products have an even narrower market than most.

If your business is focused on meeting a specialized need in a specialized market (for example, wholesale vegan spa products), the strategies and tactics others use to market their products and services may or may not be as effective for you. Marketing a niche product starts with creating a marketing plan that’s in step with your business plan.

Begin with rigorous market research. Resources like Reference USA and RMA financial profiles can provide valuable information, and, finding answers to these questions:

• Is the product new to the world, or are others like it already available for sale? 

• How can you differentiate your product from those that are similar? 

• How large is the niche, is it growing, and at what pace? 

• What’s the buying process? 

When you’re targeting a niche market, having a detailed profile of the customers to whom you’re selling is also essential. 

For starters, ask yourself these questions about the customers in your niche market:

• What are their needs?

• What are their expectations in terms of quality, price, speed of delivery, etc.?

• Where can you find them (virtually and physically)?

• How do they shop for products and services like yours?

Answering these and other questions will help you determine the ways to most effectively attract the attention of potential customers. 

Some possibilities might include:

• Networking at events and industry conferences that draw your target market

• Targeted social media advertising (online social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. offer pay-per click and pay-per-impression opportunities to present ads to customers who are in specific geographic areas, who fit certain demographic criteria, who have specific interests, etc.)

• Editorials in industry and trade magazines

• Radio spots during a program that draws listeners from your target market

• Guest posts on well-respected blogs that customers in your target market follow

Niche product marketing can be very cost-effective because you don’t waste time and money on people who have no interest in or need for your product in the process of reaching those that do. 

Test market your product…your unique selling proposition…your customer value to confirm your assumptions and validate your marketing assessment,” advises Burgum. “Although you can never be 100 percent certain about your conclusions, don’t be a victim of paralysis by analysis. Learn what you need to in order to minimize risks…and then go!

If you need guidance in marketing a niche product for your small business contact SCORE, a nonprofit association offering a wealth of information resources, training, and free counseling designed to help entrepreneurs nationwide build productive, profitable businesses. 

A SCORE Counselor can serve as a sounding board and will provide valuable unbiased feedback on how to improve things. The SCORE Counselor can also look at the business from the perspective of a bank or other investor, and raise questions you may have overlooked.

All SCORE counseling is offered as a free and confidential community service. There are 30 counselors in the Grand Rapids office of SCORE. Call 616-771-0305 for an appointment with a knowledgeable counselor or e-mail us at score@grandrapids.org.  

Free and Confidential Counseling

SCORE, 250 Monre Street NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503



e-mail: score@grandrapids.org

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Cedar Springs Brewing announces Küsterer Brauhaus

The brewery is introducing its German-inspired brews to Grand Rapids’s West Side

Cedar Springs Brewing Company announced this week that they plan to develop a second location on the west side of Grand Rapids at 642 Bridge Street, a historically German neighborhood in Grand Rapids.

Küsterer Brauhaus will join New Holland Brewing Company, Harmony Hall, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and the soon-to-come Arktos Meadery on Bridge Street.

The new location is named after Christoph Kusterer, who immigrated to Grand Rapids from Germany in 1844. Kusterer started a brewery in 1847 less than a mile away from what will become Küsterer Brauhaus in 2020.

“We’re excited to return Küsterer Bier to its historical roots, just down Bridge Street from the location of their original brewery and into the evolving ‘Brewery Row’ on the West Side,” said David Ringler, founder and Director of Happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing.

Cedar Springs Brewing opened its doors in Cedar Springs, Michigan in 2015. Heavily inspired by the German tradition of beer brewing, its menu features a mix of Bavarian-inspired food and drink and American pub fare and craft beer.

The new location promises a traditional and authentic German beer hall experience. It will serve the brewery’s signature Küsterer Biers, including traditional Bavarian hefeweizens and lagers, as well as Cedar Springs brand ales and location-specific beers.

“This area was home to several German and Central European beer halls prior to Prohibition, so we look forward to creating a traditional, Munich-style hall as a positive contribution to this vibrant neighborhood,” Ringler said.

Küsterer Brauhaus will have its own three-barrel brewery on site, manufactured in the U.S.A. by Fronhofer Design. The project is being developed by Weber Developments, LLC.

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Howard City Dental

Howard City Dental, established in 1985 by Dr. Wemmer, has a new owner: Dr. Adam Hoard. Dr. Hoard took over in June 2019 when Dr. Wemmer retired. The staff all remains the same except for an assistant that also retired in June.

Howard City Dental provides comprehensive family dentistry for all ages. They see patients from all around the area, including from Rockford, Big Rapids, Lakeview, Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, Newaygo, Pierson, and more.

Dr. Hoard said that what makes their business unique is that they emphasize comfort for their patients. “We take the time to form relationships with our patients and ensure all questions concerns are addressed,” he explained. “We truly care about our community and strive to improve overall health. We care for our patients like they are our own family.”

If you have questions about the services they provide, give them a call at 231-937-5725. They are located at 205 E. Edgerton St, Howard City. They are open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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