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Red Flannel Festival earns first place at MFEA convention

Red Flannel board members at MFEA convention. Left to right: Mark Laws, Brynadette Powell, Michele Tracy, Rick Knapp and Steve McBride.

Red Flannel board members at MFEA convention. Left to right: Mark Laws, Brynadette Powell, Michele Tracy, Rick Knapp and Steve McBride.

Michigan Festivals & Events Association (MFEA) announces Red Flannel Festival of Cedar Springs, as the first place winner in the MIFun Awards Promotional Budget $20,000 – $50,000 category. “It’s such an honor to win such a prestigious award at a State level for Red Flannel Town,” said Festival President Michele Tracy. “The Board works very hard to have an outstanding, professional marketing portfolio. We’re proud of our track record of consistent wins!”

The Red Flannel Festival competed against three other entries in their category.

The MFEA MIFun Award winners were recently honored at an awards ceremony and luncheon held November 6 during the 23rd Annual Michigan Festivals and Events Association Convention at the Boyne Mountain Lodge in Boyne Falls, MI. Red Flannel Festival Board members Michele Tracy, Mark Laws, Brynadette Powell, Rick Knapp, Jr. and Steve McBride all attended the conference.

The MFEA MIFun Awards competition draws entries from festivals and events throughout all of Michigan. Entries are divided into three budget levels; Promotional Budget under $20,000, Promotional Budget between $20,000 & $50,000 and Promotional Budget over $50,000. The prestigious “Peoples’ Choice Award” goes to the entry deemed the favorite of all MFEA Convention Attendees.  There were 10 entries representing proud communities that celebrate and promote Michigan’s heritage, agriculture, talents, four seasons, history, products, sports, foods and magnificent waterways.

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Ask Score: Business start-up


Ask the right questions before you open a small business


If your goal is to open a small business, chances are you have many questions. And that’s a good thing. For example, if you haven’t already, sooner or later you may be wondering:

How do I get a business loan?

Where are good places to advertise?

What workplace safety laws govern my business?

Should I be a sole proprietor or form a corporation?

What should my pricing formula be?

Can my community support another business like mine?

How do I interpret an advertising rate card?

Should I run the business from home or rent space?

Where will I find suppliers?

Should I trademark my business name?

Is my product marketable online?

What goes into preparing an employee handbook?

Should I have an attorney review all my documentation?

One proven resource for getting the right answers to all of these questions is SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit association that aids the formation, growth and success of America’s small businesses. SCORE Grand Rapids has 35 volunteer business experts who donate their skills, experience and insights through free, confidential counseling.

SCORE’s business counselors have worked for successful small businesses as well as companies known worldwide  such as Hewlett Packard, IBM, Xerox, Steelcase, Herman Miller and Fifth-Third Bank. You can be mentored by bankers, accountants, marketing experts, computer programmers, line managers, human resources professionals or CEOs. SCORE brings expertise that encompasses both the general issues every business must face and such specialized areas as contracting, marketing, design and manufacturing.

 To learn more about SCORE, visit our national website at www.score.org  or the local SCORE website at www.scoregr.org.These Internet resources provide information on starting, financing and expanding your business. In addition, SCORE’s Web site offers how-to information.

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Crackdown on debt collectors using illegal tactics

*BUS-Crackdown on debt collectors

Do you get harassment calls from debt collectors? Do they threaten to take you to court, have you arrested, or garnish your wages?

The Better Business Bureau gets calls every day from consumers who are dealing with questionable collection agencies.  This week the Federal Trade Commission announced the first coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. This is a crackdown against collectors who use illegal tactics such as harassing phone calls and false threats of litigation, arrest, and wage garnishment. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission offer the following information on fair collection practices:

Debt collectors may not contact you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., unless you agree to alternative times. They may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax; however, they may NOT contact you by postcard.

Consumers can communicate with collectors via their personal email if they so choose. This may help to reduce the number of phone calls and allow consumers to maintain better records of their interactions with debt collectors. If a consumer wants email communication, they must put it in writing to the debt collection agency.

You may stop a collections agency from contacting you at work by sending a registered or certified letter with the request. Once the agency receives your letter, it may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact, or to notify you if they intend to take a specific action.

Collectors must send a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe and the name of the creditor that you owe the money to. If you believe the company contacted you in error, you must write within 30 days after the initial contact; upon receipt of your letter, the company must cease collection activities. If the company can provide proof of the debt such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed, the company may renew collection proceedings.

Prohibited Practices 

Debt collectors may not:

1. Use threats of violence or harm against the person, property, or reputation

2. Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau)

3. Use obscene or profane language

4. Use phone calls to repeatedly harass you

5. Fail to identify themselves on the telephone as a debt collector

6. Advertise the debt

7. Indicate that actions such as a lawsuit will be taken against you, which legally may not be taken, or which they do not intend to take

8. Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless allowed by law

9. Take a payment arrangement prematurely

10. Use false, deceptive or misleading statements when collecting a debt.

For more information go to bbb.org or ftc.gov.

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The Rustic Roof


Are you looking for that special something to make a room feel comfortable and homey? How about some vintage and rustic décor? Look no further than the Rustic Roof, 6 S. Main, in Cedar Springs. They may have exactly what you are looking for.

The shop, opened by Dawn Reyburn, specializes in floral design, rustic wedding décor, wooden signs, antiques, candles and more.

Dawn feels that the different talents of the artists, builders, and wedding planners they use make their business unique, and their prices give them an edge over the competition.

“We hope to grow into a prosperous business for people to come to for all their decorative needs,” said Dawn.

The business is open 9 to 4 Monday and Tuesday, 9-7 Wednesday, 9-3 Thursday, Friday 9-4, and Saturday 9-2. For more information call (616) 696-2516.

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Advance Auto now open

On September 24th Advance Auto held a ribbon cutting ceremony

On September 25th Advance Auto held a ribbon cutting ceremony

Advance Auto, the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in the United States, opened a new store at 4177 17 Mile Road, on September 24, and held a ribbon cutting September 25.

Company officials said they chose this location for the store because it’s convenient to where their customers live and shop, as well as the garages where they take their vehicles for repair.

Advance Auto bought CarQuest in 2014, and employees of the local CarQuest, 70 N. Main Street, are now all working at Advance Auto. “CarQuest has been a legacy in this town,” said Scott Horn, manager at Advance Auto. “They have been filling the need for auto parts for many years, and that’s our goal, too. We are happy to have been able to bring them over and have added jobs, too. We have combined our expertise, and are really excited to be here.”

The new store offers customers a wide range of parts and recognized national brands as well as several free services. Store team members will provide free installation for your new windshield wipers and also offer a complimentary check of the vehicle’s electrical system and old battery, as well as provide free installation of a new battery with purchase on most vehicles. They also provide free checks on alternators and starters.  The store also services local commercial customers, and offers fast parts delivery to local commercial customers, such as professional mechanics and garages.

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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Rotarian receives award from Lions

Rotarian Aaron Gauger (left) receives the 2015 outstanding service award from Lions Club member Art Probst (right).

Rotarian Aaron Gauger (left) receives the 2015 outstanding service award from Lions Club member Art Probst (right).

The Cedar Springs Lions and Rotarians recently shared an evening of fellowship, food, and service opportunities at their annual picnic. The Lions and Rotary clubs are the two largest service organizations in the world.

Rotarian Aaron Gauger, of White Creek Lumber, was awarded the 2015 outstanding service award by Lion Art Probst. The decorated door has become a traditional award the clubs share.

Most all of the 36 club members and their spouses were in attendance.

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New building at Montcalm fairgrounds


There is a brand new addition to the Montcalm County Fairgrounds. This new building was the result of a generous anonymous donation and the hard work done by members of Montcalm County Horse Leaders. The structures main purpose will be to serve as an escape from the weather, as well as hosting events. The pavilion is handicap accessible and provides electrical outlets to fairground patrons. Along with these features, the pavilion will also provide a shaded area to view events, as well as tables for eating. It is expected to be a highly beneficial addition to the fairgrounds.

“This is just one example of what has been achieved on the fairgrounds through volunteer efforts. The Montcalm County Horse Leaders should be commended for the dedication and pride they have displayed through their efforts on the fairgrounds,” said a spokesperson for the Montcalm County Fair Association.

For more information, please visit www.montcalmcountyfairgrounds.com.

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Cedar Springs Brewing Company


Cedar Springs Brewing Company held an open house on Red Flannel Day, to give residents a sneak peek inside. They served their homemade sodas and brats. They are still waiting, however, to finally get the go ahead to finally open.

“It was wonderful to see so many people turn out for our sneak peek open house,” said owner David Ringler. “We hope you enjoyed everything you saw, and please know there is more to come. We are still several weeks from opening as we await our permanent occupancy permit, Michigan Department of Agriculture approval and our final MLCC inspection.”

If you want to be informed, you can sign up for their emails on their website at www.csbrew.com. They are also taking orders for their Stammtisch Club at www.csbrew.com/stammtisch. Ringler said that members would be the first people invited in when the time comes.

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Spectrum Health United Hospital opens walk-in clinic


You asked, Spectrum Health United Hospital has listened.

The Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic, located at 1202 W Oak Street, across from the United Hospital, opened October 5 and is making primary care more “convenient” by offering extended hours and weekend access to all.

Spectrum Health recognizes that health care doesn’t always follow a doctor’s schedule. The Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic is open Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The concept for the Walk-In Clinic was developed based on feedback received from the community, who expressed a desire to have an alternative to the emergency department for after-hours primary care,” said Brian Brasser, President of United and Kelsey Hospitals. “The feedback was evident in our recent Community Health Needs Assessment, it has been brought forward by our Patient and Family Advisory Council, and also during one-on-one conversations out in the community.”

The clinic will be staffed with a Physician Assistant and a team of registration and clinical staff.  Dr. Kaushal Kalra from Greenville Family Medicine is the supervising physician for the clinic.

Whether you are a current patient or not, the Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic can provide the care you need, when you need it, and your care will be coordinated back to your provider. “Our priority is to grow and support the network of really amazing primary care providers in our community, and the clinic is not intended to replace that provider/patient relationship. Rather, it is designed to be an affordable and clinically effective way to support that relationship by providing access when the provider is not available,” said Todd Boonstra, Physician Assistant.

Patient financial responsibility varies with insurance coverage, but typically, Urgent Care and Emergency room visits will have higher copays and costs to the patient. The Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic is designed to offer additional access options at a more affordable price similar to the costs of a primary care office or specialist.

“The clinic will care for needs such as insect bites, rashes, coughs, congestion, flu-like symptoms, sore throats, and sports physicals for school. After seeing us for this visit, we send a full after-visit summary of care back to the primary care physician so they are aware of care given outside of their management and can continue follow up care for the patient as needed,” explained Juliane Giles, Practice Manager. “If your need is more severe and cannot be treated in the clinic, we will immediately notify the ER of the need and direct the patient from our office to the ER.”

For more information about the Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic, please call 616.754.4685.

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Cedar Springs Brewing Company update

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

The work at Cedar Springs Brewing Company, at the corner of N. Main and W. Maple Streets, is humming along. Signage on the north side of the building went up in the last week. What many people want to know is, when will they open?

“We’re hoping to have a “sneak peek” opening for Red Flannel with a Grand Opening to be announced shortly thereafter,” said David Ringler, of Cedar Springs Brewing Compnay. “We’re targeting mid-October.”

He said the goal is to have at least one or two beers for people to sample on Red Flannel Day, and a couple of food items. He noted that they are also doing a beer for the Red Flannel Festival’s Grand Lodge.

The business will seat 130 inside, and 90 outside in their biergarten.

They recently introduced details of their mug club. Visit www.csbrew.com for more info, and watch their Facebook page for more updates.

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