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Archive | Business

Watson Rockford celebrates grand opening

The Watson Family of Auto Dealerships, also known as “Watson Country,” has added Rockford as another destination for car and truck buyers to shop. Watson Country is already well known for excellent customer and community service on the west side of Michigan with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat dealerships in Benzie, Manistee, Ludington and Nature and Me RV in Traverse City. 

With several metropolitan auto dealerships expanding to Northern Michigan, Watson’s expansion to the south in Rockford may be a first for a Northern Michigan auto dealer. Watson Country’s expansion outside of Northern Michigan to Rockford is a logical step for the family friendly dealership.    

“I think we may be the first to go south! We’re excited to bring the Watson Country way of doing business to Rockford and the greater Grand Rapids market,” said general manager Cody Watson. “We are very enthused to offer car and truck buyers from Traverse City to Grand Rapids a large selection of products and of course a great price and incredible customer service.”

Watson Rockford started with a temporary location at 4700 14 Mile Rd NE in Rockford. The all-new 23,800-square foot Watson Rockford location celebrated the Grand Opening of their new location at 4395 14 Mile Rd on Friday and Saturday, September 28-29.

The business will employ over 20 people, and they have a large selection of new and previously owned cars and trucks. 

Watson’s operates under one basic premise, “We put your family into a vehicle that we would put our own family in.” Watson believes that Watson Country’s expansion to Rockford also means good things for the local community because the dealerships are heavily involved in the communities that they serve. “It’s all about giving back,” said Cody Watson. “We’re excited about Rockford because this store will be state of the art. We were able to design it from the ground up with the focus on our customers.”

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Benefits of using the business model canvas

 

The Business Model Canvas is an entrepreneurial tool that enables you to visualize, design, and reinvent your business model. Swiss business theorist and author Alexander Osterwalder developed it. For many startups, using the tool can help them develop a clear view of their value proposition, operations, customers, and finances. As a small business owner, you can use it to identify how the different components of your business relate to each other. That’s powerful when deciding where you need to focus your time and attention as you start and grow your business.

“Many start up entrepreneurs and small businesses are so busy trying to get started and survive that they spend little time planning. When they do try to plan, they are often confused and don’t know where to start,” explains Bruce Gitlin, SCORE mentor and business development expert. “This tool sets an overarching framework for developing a business strategy, a detailed business plan, and/or a prioritized action plan.”

According to Gitlin, the Business Model Canvas can help move entrepreneurs to address specific risks and acquire more information (about competitors or a market niche, for example).

The Business Model Canvas has nine different areas of focus that make up building blocks in a visual representation of your business. 

  • Key Partners—Who are the buyers and suppliers you need to form relationships with? What other alliances will help you accomplish core business activities and fulfill your value proposition to customers?
  • Key Activities—What are the most important activities you must engage in to fulfill your value propositions, to secure distribution channels, to strengthen customer relationships, to optimize revenue streams, etc.?
  • Key Resources—What resources do you need to create value for your customers and sustain your business?
  • Value Propositions—What products and services will you offer to meet the needs of your customers? How will your business be different from your competition? What challenges will you solve for your customers?
  • Customer Relationships—What types of relationships will you forge with your customer segments? What are the relationship expectations of each customer segment? How are they entwined with the rest of your business model?
  • Customer Segments—What sets of customers will you serve? Which are most important to your business?
  • Channels—Through what means will you reach your targeted customers and deliver your products and services to them? Which are most cost effective? How are the channels integrated?
  • Cost Structure—What are the key costs your business will face? Which resources will cost the most? Which activities will cost the most?
  • Revenue Streams—How much will you charge for your products and services? What are customers willing to pay for? How will customers pay? How much will each revenue stream contribute to your overall revenue?

According to Gitlin, gaps in planning stand out when using the tool, making it effective for entrepreneurs who are new to starting and running a business. 

“The Business Model Canvas helps visualize what is important and forces users to address key areas. It can also be used by a team (employees and/or advisors) to understand relationships and reach agreements.” 

Further advice on the Business Model Canvas is available from 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.  

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Gordon Water Systems

 

If you are looking for a place that can test your water, or even to supply water to your home or business, you might want to check out Gordon Water Systems, which recently opened at 4680 14 Mile Rd.

Owners Tom and Steve Duisterhof own several locations across Michigan, and opened this location to better serve its northern Kent County customers. They provide free basic water testing, bottled water, salt, filters, and additives. They also provide nationally recognized PFAS testing, water softeners, iron removal, and reverse osmosis. They will also soon have a you-fill station to offer greater savings to their customers. 

Gordon Water Systems has been helping people in West Michigan have clean, safe water since 1973, and the only authorized dealer of the non-electric kinetico water treatment solutions. They offer a large selection equipment for all budgets. The company is second generation owned and serves 13 counties.

They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 6:30 and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 866-3416 for more info.

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U-Haul rentals land at National Storage Centers in Cedar Springs

 

U-Haul Company of Michigan is pleased to announce that National Storage Centers in Cedar Springs has signed on as a U-Haul® neighborhood dealer to serve the Cedar Springs community.

National Storage Centers at 12505 Northland Drive will offer U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pick-up for boxes.

The arrival of U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 is revolutionizing the moving industry through its more convenient, more secure way to pick up and return a truck. U-Haul live verification technology allows rental transactions to be carried out entirely on a smartphone at any hour—day or night. There are no membership fees. Simply visit uhaul.com to create an online account.

Normal business hours are 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling (616) 696-9637 or visiting https://www.uhaul.com/Locations/Truck-Rentals-near-Cedar-Springs-MI-49319/049743/ today.

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What you must know before buying a business

Rather than building a small business from the ground up, buying an existing company offers the opportunity to move along the path to entrepreneurship more quickly. With all of the startup tasks already taken care of, a staff in place, an established customer base, existing vendor relationships, and processes and procedures laid out, you have a head start. 

But that doesn’t diminish the importance of doing your research before making the decision to buy a business. Acquiring an existing small business requires substantial examination so you avoid the many pitfalls that befall eager entrepreneurs who leap before they look.

According to William Comiskey, a SCORE Mentor at the Southwest Florida SCORE Chapter, “Investing in a business is the same as investing your savings in a mutual fund or stock portfolio to secure both your future and possibly your retirement. You study and review the past performance and the current condition and seek help and advice from professionals on the prospects for the future.” 

Before purchasing an existing business, you need to get answers to some critical questions:

Why is the current owner selling the business? Seek the truth. If the business is in a declining neighborhood or the owner has caught wind of an upcoming market change that will negatively affect revenues or cost structure, you might put yourself at risk of failure from circumstances beyond your control. Uncovering the real reasons for a sale may be difficult. Be wary and realize that smart business owners don’t often walk away from profitable endeavors unless they have strong personal reasons (illness, retirement, etc.), or they have received offers that are too good to refuse.

How is the business doing financially? If it has been losing money or hasn’t been generating a satisfactory profit, you’ll want to dig deeper into the reasons why. Unless you’re confident you can operate it more profitably than the current owner, you might end up with a sinking ship on your hands.

What sort of reputation does the business have? When you buy an existing business, you’re getting the brand reputation along with it. That will either work for or against you. Turning around an existing business’s poor reputation will be difficult and could take years—and it might even be impossible depending on how negatively the company is perceived by customers, suppliers, and the public. 

If the business has a favorable reputation, find out what has made it so. A strong reputation based on personal relationships between the owner and customers might not easily transfer to you. Be particularly cautious of this if the business relies primarily on a few key customers or suppliers. 

Are you getting everything you need to seamlessly take over running the business? Find out if the purchase will include essentials such as: leases and contracts; customer lists; patents, trademarks, service marks, and trade names; key employees who are vital to the business; and other important components. 

As Comiskey suggests, you don’t have to embark on the process alone. Consider tapping the expertise of professionals (such as SCORE mentors) who can help you assess the opportunities and risks of buying an existing business. 

Further advice on the purchase of an existing business is available from 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.  

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Cub Scout presents check to Nature Center

 

Ryan Hess with Howard Christensen board members and Ryan’s younger siblings.

Ryan Hess, of Cub Scout Pack 3220, presented a check of $430.66 to Howard Christensen Nature Center last Saturday, August 4.

“We are so grateful for his donation,” Kim Gillow, on behalf of the Nature Center. “He is the best!”

Ryan needed to raise money for a community project for his Cub Scout badge. His older brother had done a can drive for a student with cancer, so Ryan decided he wanted to do one for HCNC, who had lost money due to an embezzlement. In addition to the can drive, he and his mom invited the Dark Knight of Michigan and the Cosplay Crusaders to the Cedar Springs Historical Society Car Show, where people got a chance to sit in the bike back for a donation. The pack also sold their beef sticks, with the proceeds going to HCNC.

Ryan in the Critter Room and Interpretive Center.

He is optimistic that they will be able to pay some bills or get another animal for the critter room. 

“I’m lucky I got to get in the $400s. It feels awesome,” he said. 

“Thanks to Cub Scout Pack 3220, The Dark Knight of Michigan, Cosplay Crusaders, and Cedar Springs Historical Museum Car Show and our community for making Ryan’s project successful!” said Ryan’s mom, Dana Hess. 

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Cedar Springs Brewing Company beer found across Kent County

 

Brewery announces draft distribution of their Küsterer Bier brand beers

Cedar Springs Brewing Company is proud to announce a new partnership with West Side Beer Distributing. The brewery’s historical and traditional Küsterer Bier brand lagers and ales are now available on tap at bars and restaurants in Kent County.

“We are very excited to partner with Cedar Springs Brewing Company and help grow the Küsterer brands’ distribution throughout the Kent County market,” said West Side Beer Distributing Key Account Manager Kyle Klopcic.

West Side Beer Distributing is a beer wholesaler based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company provides Anheuser Busch products as well as over 40 craft and import beer brands to customers in the Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Romulus areas. 

In June, the distributor began providing Cedar Springs brews on draft at its retailers within Kent County. 

“We are fortunate to have some outstanding wholesalers available within our home market, but we felt West Side was the best fit for us and will allow us to service our retail customers more efficiently,” said David Ringler, director of happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company. 

Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s Küsterer Bier line is named for Christoph Kusterer, a German immigrant who arrived in West Michigan around 1844. One of the earliest brewers in Grand Rapids, Kusterer helped establish a brewing legacy that lasted over a century.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company pays homage to that legacy with their eponymous brand. The beers in the Küsterer Bier brand are brewed following German and Bavarian traditions and include a variety of Weissbiers (Hefeweizens), Pilsner, Märzen, Bocks, Dunkels and other lagers. Find them on draft throughout Kent County now. 

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Coming soon: Flo’s Wood Fired Pizzeria

 

If you’d like to try an authentic Sicilian wood fired pizza, you shouldn’t have long to wait. Flo’s Wood Fired Pizza will be opening in late August at 4425 14 Mile Rd (formerly the site of the old Crazy Horse saloon).

This will be a brand new location and concept for Dan and Davide Uccello, who own several restaurants in northern Kent and Montcalm County. “This will be the first wood fired pizzeria in our restaurant group,” they said.

The pizzeria will offer authentic wood fired pizzas, traditional appetizers, salads, and flat bread sandwiches. What is unique is that patrons will see them do it. 

“We will provide an open kitchen concept so you can watch us make your food, and we also imported a meat slicer to slice all meat per order,” they explained.

For those who would like a glass of wine with their pizza, St. Julian’s Winery will have a tasting room right next door.

The brothers said they plan to grow this concept into 10-plus locations over the course of 10-12 years.

Visit their website at floswoodfired.com, or their Facebook page to get updates on when they will open.

Business hours will be Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight.

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Angel Nails

Are you feeling like a nice relaxing pedicure? Do you need to get your nails done? Angel Nails at Cedar Springs Meijer is under new ownership and owner Jennie Nguyen is excited to show you what they can do.

Nguyen said one thing customers will like is that they have more nail techs than the previous owners. They do full set manicures, pedicures, waxes, and more. And new customers get $10.00 off. Just mention you saw it in the Post that they get $10 off.

Nguyen said what makes her business different from other nail salons is that Angel Nails has a nice, friendly atmosphere. “The customer is our first priority. We always take time with our customers; there is no rush. And we offer good services at a decent price,” she said.

Their hours are Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call 616-696-2988. You can also follow them on Facebook at Angel Nails at Cedar Springs Meijer.

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Culver’s opens for business

Tom Goldsmith cuts the ribbon. Photo courtesy of video supplied by Gary Kuhlmann.

Residents in Cedar Springs will have another option to choose from now when dining out.

Culver’s, a fast food restaurant specializing in butter burgers and frozen custard, had their grand opening and ribbon cutting Monday morning, July 16, at 9 a.m. Owner Tom Goldsmith gave a short speech before cutting the ribbon, and then the workers gave out free custard to the many people on hand for the event.

Culver’s is located on White Creek Avenue, just south of 17 Mile.

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