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BUSINESS BIT: West Michigan Collision

West Michigan Collision employees, friends and family at recent ribbon cutting to celebrate expansion: (From L to R) Kim Neveau, Jason Behrendt, Rick Ross, owner John Ross, Joe Smith, Kealan Lydell, Bruce Kwekle (BDD Construction) and Elizabeth Ross.

If you are looking for an auto shop to fix your car, you might want to check out West Michigan Collision. The business, located at 4595 14 Mile Rd, was established in 2012. Owner John Ross recently added four stalls to the service repair shop, and a state-of-the-art Hunter Hawkeye Elite alignment machine, which they say is the largest in the area.

They service all domestic and foreign vehicles in both mechanical and collision repair. They offer electronic engine diagnostics and repair, suspension, brakes, tires, and more. They repair cars, trucks, RVs, boats, motorcycles, etc.

They say their business is unique because it has the latest equipment, certified technicians including ICAR Platinum in the collision shop, and an ASE Master mechanic in the service shop. They also offer free loaner cars for overnight repairs. The labor is rate is only $59/hour.

They feel that part of their edge over the competition includes having affordable rates, being honest and dependable, and guaranteeing all work 100 percent. 

They are also working on becoming certified in aluminum repair.

You can give them a call at 616-696-9699 and check them out today. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment on Saturday. 

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Milk plant planned for Greenville

 

by Paul W. Jackson, Michigan Farm Bureau

A Greenville property has been purchased by Foremost Farms for a dairy processing facility.

Foremost, a dairy cooperative based in Wisconsin, announced its plan Nov. 9 for a plant to “receive up to six million pounds of raw milk per day,” depending on pending “approvals of necessary local and state incentives and support, including a long-term wastewater treatment solution.”

“This facility is planned to be operational in 12-to-14 months and would receive up to six million pounds of raw milk per day,” Foremost said in a press release. “Foremost Farms would initially process milk solids for internal use in farmer-owned production facilities in the Upper Midwest, and for sales to customers and to strategic alliance partners.”

The 96-acre property is currently vacant, Foremost indicated in the press release.

“It is our goal to continue to work with our strategic partners/alliances like we have established in the region with Michigan Milk Producers Association at Constantine, Mich., to maximize dairy farmer investments, stabilize the regional milk market and add value for all producers in this market,” said Foremost CEO Michael Doyle. “Foremost Farms’ executive management and board of directors plans to strategically build this facility in Greenville in order to control our own destiny in Michigan and unify our seven-state membership. All of our members produce high-quality milk, and this facility is part of the plan to optimize that value today and into the future.”

What about cheese?

Whether the announcement slows plans for a cheese plant envisioned by Michigan Milk Producers (MMPA), Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Foremost and Glanbia, one thing is expected: if the Foremost plant is built, it will absorb nearly all of Michigan’s current milk overproduction.

By taking another 6 million pounds per day of milk from Michigan dairy farms, the planned plant will certainly help farmers, and not just Foremost members, said Chris Wolf, professor of agriculture economics and dairy expert with Michigan State University.

“More processing means less dumping and less distressed sales,” he said. “And we know that Greenville is close to a lot of milk in Clinton, Ionia and Gratiot counties, and it’s not too far from the highway,” he said. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to begin adding cows, but this plant could take a lot of excess milk. Our milk production growth is slowing, but we’re still growing at about 3 percent above national growth. I think this plant is very good news as long as it doesn’t mean something bad for the cheese facility. If we keep growing in milk production, one plant may not make much difference, but it’s good to take the portfolio approach and have multiple things to address the overproduction.” Ken Nobis, president of the MMPA, agreed.

“We will need more than just a cheese plant in Michigan,” he said. “This announcement by Foremost does not put that in jeopardy, but when you have multiple entities involved in building something, that doesn’t shorten the decision-making process. The cheese plant is moving forward, even if there is one less entity involved. It just takes time.”

While dairy farmers will need to exercise some patience while the Foremost plant and a cheese plant moves forward, there is hope for a better future in dairying, said Chuck Courtade, director of customer relations with DFA.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel now,” he said. “I just hope the farmers can hang on during these low prices.”

Courtade said when both the raw milk plant and a cheese plant are up and running, dairymen could expect a pay increase.

“If the excess capacity is gone, it would reduce some deductions of their milk checks,” he said. “If more milk stays here, we might get closer to the federal marketing order price.”

It’s been a long wait, but between Foremost’s announcement and the apparent commitment to a cheese plant in the near future, farmers, and especially Foremost suppliers, are anticipating better times that are nearer than they thought just a few months ago.

“Between the two plants, we should be able to even handle some normal growth,” Courtade said.

Among the things that remain unclear is whether the cheese plant will have Foremost involvement.

“I can’t speak to the joint venture (cheese plant), but I can say that this (raw milk plant) is a totally separate facility, a totally different project,” said Laura Mihm, spokesperson for Foremost. “The Greenville property we closed on is about 27 miles from the epicenter of our members. But we are still talking with our strategic alliance about something in the future. We’re always willing to work with others. That’s the cooperative spirit.”

Mihm would not rule out that co-op’s continued involvement with a cheese plant in Michigan, but she said for now, Foremost is excited for its new unilateral Michigan venture.

“We are incredibly energized by this,” she said.

Reprinted by permission. This article originally appeared on Nov. 10, 2017 at https://www.michfb.com/MI/Farm_News/Content/Markets_and_Weather/Milk_plant_planned_for_Greenville/

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Spectrum Health United Hospital receives awards 

Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville has received the 2018 America’s Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ and was also named a recipient of the Healthgrades 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ as measured by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

The hospital was recognized with five-star ratings for clinical quality achievements in four categories: Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Treatment of Pneumonia for three years in a row (2016-2018); Treatment of Sepsis for seven years in a row (2012-2018); and Treatment of Respiratory Failure for two years in a row (2017-2018). Patients treated at hospitals receiving a five-star rating have a lower risk of complications during a hospital stay than if they were treated at hospitals receiving a one-star rating in that procedure or condition. 

“We are pleased to be honored by Healthgrades again this year,” said Spectrum Health United Hospital President Andrea Leslie. “We are very proud of our team for their commitment and hard work to ensure quality care and safe outcomes for our patients and their families.”

Healthgrades analyze clinical outcomes (mortality and complications) for each of 34 condition or procedure cohorts. Inclusion criteria for cohort analyses require at least 30 cases across three years of data and at least five cases in the most current year per hospital. As a result, the number of hospitals that qualified and received a rating ranged from a low of 526 rated for bariatric surgery to a high of 4,098 rated for pneumonia. Nearly 5,000 small acute-care hospitals were analyzed for clinical outcomes.

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Metron of Cedar Springs Earns 2017 Silver National Quality Award  

Metron has been recognized as a 2017 Silver – Achievement in Quality Award recipient by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). The award is the second of three distinctions possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, which was established in 1996 and spotlights providers across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to improving quality of care for residents and patients in long term and post-acute care centers and communities.

“We are honored to be recognized for what we’ve accomplished on our journey to improve quality care,” said Robin Miller, Administrator of Metron Cedar Springs. “Applying for the Silver award has helped Metron to achieve better outcomes as an organization.”

Based on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which is also the foundation of the metric-based AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative, AHCA/NCAL’s National Quality Award Program challenges member providers to achieve performance excellence through three progressive levels—Bronze, Silver, and Gold. At the Silver level, members develop and demonstrate effective approaches that help improve performance and health care outcomes. 

“I am honored to recognize this year’s Silver award recipients for their dedication to delivering quality care,” said Alana Wolfe, Chair of the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Board of Overseers. “I applaud Metron of Cedar Springs’ ability to effectively apply the Baldrige criteria to improve quality performance.”

As a recipient of this year’s Silver award, Metron of Cedar Springs can now advance in developing approaches that meet the criteria required for the Gold – Excellence in Quality Award.

The awards were presented to honorees during AHCA/NCAL’s 68th Annual Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15-18, 2017.

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Credit union or bank: What’s right for you?

(BPT) – The banking and credit union worlds are as much the same as they are different. Both are eager to earn your business and to provide you with loans, mortgages, savings and checking accounts. With that said, there are some significant differences between the two financial institutions. In today’s world, with cutthroat competition for your money, it’s worth understanding the advantages of both, and perhaps making a switch to one or the other to put yourself in a better financial position.

Credit union and banks: The differences

The primary difference between a credit union and a bank is that a credit union is a not-for-profit cooperative, meaning it’s owned by its members or customers. Profits made by credit unions are returned back to members in the form of reduced fees, higher savings rates and lower loan rates. A bank, on the other hand, is for-profit, owned by shareholders and focused on its stock value.

Joining a credit union is fairly simple, and membership is inexpensive—typically a one-time fee of between $5 and $25. Depending on where you live, many credit unions serve a geographic area, such as a state or metropolitan area, and are open to anyone who lives in that area. Some credit unions are employer-sponsored, so that anyone (including family members) who works for that organization can join.

There is no membership fee to “join” a bank. All you need to provide is some money to open a checking or savings account, a government-issued ID card, and some personal information (address, Social Security number, etc.).

Credit union advantages 

Credit unions, by and large, are able to provide better rates to their members. Unlike a for-profit bank, credit unions return their “profits” to members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher interest on deposits and more personalized services. Other advantages of a credit union are that they tend to have lower fees on checks, withdrawals and electronic transactions, and many offer checking accounts with no minimum balance and without a monthly service charge. Finally, because credit unions are smaller and have a focus on member service, they may be more flexible when it comes to working with someone with financial challenges.

Bank advantages

Banks, because of their size and scale, tend to offer more financial products than credit unions. For example, a credit union may have two or three different types of checking and savings accounts, whereas a bank may have dozens to choose from. Depending on where you live, banks will most likely have more locations for convenient access and more advanced online and mobile banking capabilities. Because of their geographic reach and wider range of offerings, a large bank could be a better fit for someone who wants specialized financial products (annuities, trusts) and needs access to nationwide locations.

Credit unions catching up

Depending on where you live, you may have numerous options for selecting a credit union. Some credit unions may have only one location and offer basic financial services like auto loans, checking and savings accounts. Other credit unions may have a large footprint in a market or state and offer the breadth of services you’d find in a bank. Most offer free, nationwide ATM access, and since many credit unions belong to cooperatives, members can access accounts across the country through other credit union branches. Bellco, for example, offers a full range of financial products and services, including mortgages, auto loans and checking accounts. Today, Bellco has more than 300,000 members who benefit from the advantages of a credit union, including lower interest rates on loans, higher yields on savings and access to thousands of ATMs nationwide.

Choosing a bank or credit union

Depending on where you live—urban vs. suburban vs. rural—your banking and credit union options will vary considerably. If you are in an area that offers both, there are several features to weigh and consider:

  • Services: Compare the basic banking services and access to specialized financial products, including advanced online services and mobile banking.
  • Rates and incentives: Look at the current rates, fees, and incentives – as well as overall benefits to being a customer or a member of the bank or credit union. Are there good reasons for joining one over the other?
  • Location: Evaluate options to access your accounts, whether it’s branch locations or ATMs or mobile banking services, and decide whether a national footprint is a requirement for your banking. 

Finally, it’s important to note that both banks and credit unions insure your money up to $250,000 per person, across a group of accounts (checking, savings, and CDs would be considered one group). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures banks, and credit unions are backed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

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American Legion Auxiliary donate backpacks for back to school

 

Pictured are (left to right) Tricia Schenefield; Beth Whaley; Auxiliary Unit President Deborah Chambers; Miranda Latimer; Auxiliary Unit Education Chairman Mary Anne Yuncker; and Carol Franz.

School recently started again, and the need for school supplies is expensive. For students and families who have a hard time affording the required items, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #287 was there to help. The Auxiliary provided 50 backpacks filled with school supplies to the Cedar Springs elementary schools.  The bags were presented to the school principals at the August School Board meeting and divided between the schools.

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Display Pack donates water filling station to CSHS

Mr. Hansen with Josh Cooper, the faculty advisor for the Cedar Springs Interact Club

Members of the Cedar Springs High School student senate and high school Interact Club, which is a junior division of the local Rotary club, have been teaming up to raise funds for water bottle filling stations throughout the high school. The idea is that it will encourage students to drink more water, and that it will drastically cut down on pollution because students can reuse water bottles, or fill containers from home easily.

Students have gone to many local businesses and asked for donations, in hopes of pooling the money together to add these stations in different wings of the high school. The cost of each of these is around $750 a piece. Vic Hansen, president of Display Pack, recently donated the full $750 to add a station all by themselves. Mr. Hansen cited his enthusiasm for our students, and desire to build a relationship with the school and students moving forward, as the driving force behind this donation. Once the station has been installed, a plaque will be placed near the station to commemorate this tremendous gift. The plaque will read, “This fountain donated by Display Pack, Inc” and will include the quote, “Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise,” which is from King Solomon.

Mr. Hansen is pictured here with Josh Cooper, the faculty advisor for the Cedar Springs Interact Club. There are still more stations needed, so any local businesses or private donors that would like to contribute can contact Mr. Cooper at the high school, if they would like to donate to this cause at (616) 696-1200.

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Two new businesses hold grand openings

 

Ryanne Donahue State Farm held their ribbon cutting on July 15.
Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

State Farm

Ryanne Donahue State Farm Agency, located at 60 N. Main Street, held their grand opening and ribbon cutting on July 15. Donahue believes in the “good old days” approach to business. “In the world of 15-minute insurance quotes, we want to take the time to get to know the people we serve,” Donahue told the Post earlier this summer. “We try to always remember that people need their insurance agent most when something bad or scary has happened, we don’t want to be a stranger in those times; we want to be a trusted friend.”

Ryanne and her employees are all local residents from Cedar Springs, to Kent City, to Sand Lake. “We know the community and have the same worries, goals, dreams, and fears as our clients. We offer a wide range of services to help cover every day risks, all backed by State Farm!” she said.

They are open from 8 am to 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. You can check them out at ryannedonahueinsurance.com or give them a call at 616-696-1329.

My Community Dental Center

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and My Community Dental Centers (MCDC) partnered to open a new dental facility at 14111 White Creek Avenue in Cedar Springs earlier this summer. They held their grand opening on July 20, with a ribbon cutting.

According to the Kent County Health Department, gaining access to dental care is an issue for nearly 72 million children and adults who rely on Medicaid or other public insurance. The issue disproportionately affects seniors, minorities, people who are economically disadvantaged and those who live in rural locations.

The Cedar Springs location is the second MCDC location in Kent County. In 2014, MCDC opened a dental center at the KCHD South Clinic in Kentwood. More than 15,000 patients have made nearly 32,000 visits since. “Many of those patients tell us that they are from northern Kent County and have been forced to travel to find affordable dental care,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “Studies have found that people often list income and transportation barriers as factors that inhibit their ability to see a dentist. This new MCDC facility in Cedar Springs will help address both of those issues for many people.”

“When dental health is ignored or neglected a person’s overall health suffers” says Dr. Zachary Brian DMD, MCDC, Cedar Springs. “With the pain comes societal costs. People tell us that their job opportunities have been limited and many times they have gone to emergency rooms when the pain has become too intense. Emergency rooms are unable to do anything for the underlying causes but carry a high price tag for individuals and taxpayers through increased healthcare costs.”

My Community Dental Center provides an array of services, and can provide care to the entire community. They are accepting new patients, and accept most insurance, including Medicaid, HMP, Delta Kids, and most private insurance.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of our patients and enhance community health by setting the highest standard of oral care,” send a MCDC spokesperson.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register as a new patient, call 877.313.6232 or visit mydental.org and fill out a form.

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Set reasonable business goals and objectives

ASK  SCORE

SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business

 

Both long-term and short-term goals will shape what your business becomes. Therefore, they should govern every component of your business’s operations, structure and vision. Capturing them in writing, with timetables, gives you a working blueprint, even with the frequent adjustments you may choose to make to remain flexible in the early stages.

First, consider your long-range goals. Do you want to be an industry leader or simply a dominant player in your own local community? Are you content to make a stable living for you and your family, or do you aspire to earn enough to retire by a certain age? Be honest with yourself. These goals will help you set the overall direction and identify, with two or three viable short-term objectives for your business under each goal.

To further clarify your goals and objectives, develop criteria for measuring  your performance  against reasonable  targets within your industry or service area. Measurement  is essential to keeping an objective eye on your progress. Each performance point should have an action plan and timetable, including milestones and contingencies.

Whether you are opening a business for the first time or have operated a successful company for years, consider getting an objective evaluation from an expert source. A great place to start is SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit, volunteer service organization dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business. For the SCORE chapter nearest you, call 1-800/634-0245, or find a counselor online at www.score.org.

These ASK SCORE articles are submitted by the Grand Rapids Chapter of SCORE where there are 35 counselors ready to serve you and your business needs. Call the Grand Rapids SCORE office at 616-771-0305, or find a counselor online at www.scoregr.org.

Free and Confidential Counseling

SCORE, 111 Pearl Street NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 771-0305   wwwscoregr.org

E-mail:  score@grandrapids.org

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Brides-to-be: use best practices with bankrupt retailers

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette called attention to best practices to be used by Michigan consumers, in this case brides-to-be, when protecting themselves from bankrupt retailers. This notice results from the nationwide shutdown of bridal gown retailer, Alfred Angelo, which has left brides across Michigan wondering if they’ll be without a dress and without a refund on their wedding day.

“When businesses announce bankruptcies overnight, employees and consumers alike are left with frustration, fear, and uncertainty,” said Schuette. “The best thing to do is to take the necessary steps to limit your financial loss, protect your privacy, and reach a solution.”

Concerned customers can visit the Better Business Bureau’s report on Alfred Angelo’s closure at http://bbb.org/h/jubg where updates will be posted as more information becomes available. If you wish to be contacted regarding your order status once information is available, you can send an email to: alfredangelo@mjstrustee.com.

In the meantime, Schuette warned Michigan residents to beware of online donations and crowdfunding pages. When unfortunate events occur, it attracts potential scammers who are looking to take advantage of the situation. Beware of anyone who claims they can help you retrieve your dress from a store for a fee, or any crowdfunding pages looking to raise money for a dress they lost. Only communicate with a designated bankruptcy trustee.

Business Sudden Closure Consumer Tips

Additional best practices are listed in the Attorney General’s Business Sudden Closure Consumer Alert, and include steps to take to protect yourself when any business suddenly closes. (Go to Michigan.gov/ag and click on consumer alerts under resources, then shopping for products and services, then sudden business closures.) Most important, consumers need to act quickly to protect their rights and to help the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division investigate, and hopefully resolve, disputes that arise when a business suddenly closes.  Specific steps include:

The First Step: Limit Your Financial Loss

When faced with the sudden closure of a business, consumers who made purchases but have not received all of the goods or services they contracted for should immediately determine their method of payment and act accordingly:

  • If you paid with a credit card, contact your credit card company to dispute the charges and have all related charges removed from your bill.  You should be able to find information regarding how to dispute charges on your monthly statements.
  • If you paid by check, contact your bank to determine if you can stop any payment.
  • If you arranged for long-term financing, contact the financing company and dispute any payment for goods or services that have not been delivered.
  • If you arranged for some form of automatic payment plan, contact your bank or credit union to immediately stop any future withdrawals from your account.

The Second Step:  File a Complaint If a Business Closes And They Fail to Deliver Goods or Services

If a business unexpectedly closes, and they fail to deliver goods or services, you should file a complaint as soon as possible to help minimize any potential loss and maximize the Consumer Protection Division›s ability to intervene.  The Consumer Protection Division will try to recover as much as possible for consumers before a business files for bankruptcy.

  • Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388, and file an online Consumer Complaint using our website: michigan.gov/ag
  • If a business is located out of state, also file a complaint with that state’s Attorney General.
  • Gather receipts, invoices, or bills that show what items were ordered, what you paid, and when delivery was promised.
  • Document all transactions in order to assist investigators and to support any possible legal claims.
  • Keep any phone records or any notes that indicate which company employees you spoke with and when those conversations occurred.
  • Try to contact the company’s headquarters or “customer service” line or use their website to lodge a formal complaint with the company.

Protecting Your Privacy: A Business Closure and Your Personal Information

Even if a business suddenly closes, that business is still required to protect your personal financial information.

Complaints

Consumers may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division:

Consumer Protection Division

P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140, Fax: 517-241-3771

Toll free: 877-765-8388

Online Complaint Form

https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx

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