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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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ChoiceOne Bank supports Cherry Health with $50,000 Donation

Cherry Health Foundation and Cedar Springs Superintendent accept donation check from ChoiceOne Bank. Left to right: Chris Shea, CEO Cherry Health; Sharon Barton, Director of Development Cherry Health; Tasha Blackmon, Chief Clinic Operations Officer Cherry Health; Patricia Brown, Regional Manager ChoiceOne Bank; Jim Bosserd, CEO ChoiceOne Bank; Denise Gates, Cedar Springs Manager ChoiceOne Bank; Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Cedar Springs Schools Superintendent.

Cherry Health Foundation and Cedar Springs Superintendent accept donation check from ChoiceOne Bank. Left to right: Chris Shea, CEO Cherry Health; Sharon Barton, Director of Development Cherry Health; Tasha Blackmon, Chief Clinic Operations Officer Cherry Health; Patricia Brown, Regional Manager ChoiceOne Bank; Jim Bosserd, CEO ChoiceOne Bank; Denise Gates, Cedar Springs Manager ChoiceOne Bank; Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Cedar Springs Schools Superintendent.

ChoiceOne Bank is providing a donation totaling $50,000 over two years to Cherry Health, an independent nonprofit and comprehensive primary health care provider. Jim Bosserd, Chief Executive Officer of ChoiceOne Bank, said the money is targeted to fund an overall project totaling $1.17 million, and will go toward two projects in Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids and.

“As the local community bank, it’s important for us to support our families and our communities,” said Bosserd. “Cherry Health provides services to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. A sliding fee payment scale based on income and family size is available to those with no insurance. Healthy families make for healthy communities. That’s important to us at ChoiceOne Bank.”

The projects in Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids and will develop facilities to expand services at these two sites.

In the Red Hawk Building in Cedar Springs, services are provided to all 3,500 students and their siblings throughout the district ages 3 to 21. The facility offers a wide range of services from medical to behavioral, which allows for accessible care when and where students need it. Students and families are currently being served at the health center through the summer and into the 2015-2016 school year.

Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids will move its medical facility from City High Middle School to Innovation Central, which serves approximately 800 students in Grand Rapids. The health center will care for all students ages 10 through 21.


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Coldbreak Brewing coming to town


Area residents who like to make their own craft beer will no longer have to drive to Grand Rapids for supplies. Coldbreak Brewing, a home brewing business currently located in Marne, will be moving into 81 N. Main, the former home of Liquor Hut.

The Cedar Springs Brewing Company bought the building earlier this summer, and was looking for a retail tenant that would complement the brewery.

“We are pretty excited about coming to Cedar Springs,” said Chris Musil, who is co-owner of Coldbreak Brewing, with founder Boyd Culver. “There are a lot of good things happening in Cedar, and it will be exciting to be right next to the brewery.”

He noted that a big draw to moving here is that northern Kent County is an untapped market in the home brewing business. “It’s about 25 miles to the closest store, and that’s in Grand Rapids,” he said.

Coldbreak Brewing will feature a large variety of grain, hops, yeast, and equipment, and will focus on classes ranging from introductory brewing to all-grain, as well as wine, cider and many other brewing related topics. They have been manufacturing quality home brewing and dispensing equipment since 2005.

Musil said they will begin moving some of their manufacturing equipment into the store in the next couple of weeks, and will open the store front by the beginning of October, in time for the Red Flannel Festival.

Visit their website at www.coldbreakbrewing.com.

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Advance Auto Parts


Construction is nearing completion on the Advance Auto Parts store on 17 Mile Road. The auto parts store, located on the lot where the Family Fare gas station used to be, is looking to open in late September, according to Laurie Stacy, of Advance Auto’s media relations department.

Employees of CarQuest, located at 70 N. Main, in Cedar Springs, will be moving into the Advance Auto Parts store. Advance Auto acquired CarQuest in January 2014. “We are excited that customers will be able to work with the same team they are used to working with,” said Stacy.

She said the stores usually have 10-12 employees, but it’s based on the size of the store. More info will be coming closer to the date of the opening.

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ASK SCORE: Customer service


Build customer loyalty by exceeding expectations


So much lip service has been paid to customer service that it’s sounding like a tired cliche these days. In today’s business world, it is not enough to simply say that the customer comes first. Customers know the difference between mediocre service, good service and exceptional service. Without question, they will make their decisions about where to buy accordingly. Your response to the call for exceptional service must be more than good intentions and excuses pinned on being a small business. Here are some perspectives on building customer loyalty.

• Hire the best possible staff that your budget allows. Your sales and service staff members are on the front line, whether physically or on the phone. Are they trained and do they receive ongoing training? Are they knowledgeable about the products they represent? Are they empowered to judiciously waive policies without consulting you, when it can be done ethically and without taking an unwarranted  toll on your revenue picture? Maintaining a competent, trained staff costs money. If that gives you heartburn, consider the revenue forgone when indifferent and incompetent employees cause you to lose customers.

• Reward  your best customers. If you can offer your best customers better prices on frequent purchases, an up-front price break on their next project with you, or a discount for their prompt cash payment, you will communicate your awareness that they are important to the success of your business.  Customer reward programs are easy and cost-effective to implement once you know what your customers value.

• Offer referrals. Who do you know who might want to do business with your customers? When it’s appropriate, help your loyal customers by passing along leads you come across that can improve either their business or personal lives.

Exceptional service entails treating a customer’s problems as if they were your own-even if it costs you more money. Occasionally you may even have the opportunity to fix a problem caused by a customer’s use of one of your competitors’ products or services. And it is an opportunity: to switch their allegiance.

Exceeding expectations is the icing on the cake of customer satisfaction-knowing what your customers expect you to provide and then adding another layer of value. What can you do today to create the satisfied customers of tomorrow?

Through surveys, comment cards, and simply talking with your customers, you can learn what considerations make the biggest impression on your best customers.

To learn more about ways to meet and exceed customer expectations, contact SCORE Grand Rapids at (616) 771-0305 and talk to one of our counselors who will provide free and confidential business counseling. Call 1-616/771-0305 to talk to a SCORE counselor, or find a counselor online at www.scoregr.org.


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Women’s group donates to NKCS 

Pictured (L to R): Sharon Stiansen, Linda Southwick, Kathy Florentine, Claire Guisfredi, Taryn Chatel.

Pictured (L to R): Sharon Stiansen, Linda Southwick, Kathy Florentine, Claire Guisfredi, Taryn Chatel.

Women Who Care Kent County, a local philanthropy group, donated $11,900 to North Kent Community Services on June 25. Kathy Florentine and Sharon Stiansen, founders of the group, toured NKCS and presented the generous gift.

NKCS was selected as this quarter’s recipient of funding from Women Who Care Kent County, a group of 100-plus women who collectively pool their money to make one large donation to a nonprofit group in our community. Three charities were given the opportunity to make a pitch at the June 4 event at Blythefield Country Club; afterword each woman in attendance votes and writes a $100 check to the charity that garnered the most votes.

“This gift is significant for North Kent Community Services,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “The donated money will be a huge help as we gear up for our next round of educational programming this fall. We are trying to move people out of poverty and Women Who Care Kent County is helping us do that.”

North Kent Community Services is the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, serving families and individuals from 5 Mile to 22 Mile Roads and east and west to the county lines. They provide food, clothing, Senior Meals on Wheels, tax preparation and more to those in need. The Thrive Empowerment Program, launched in September, equips women in the area to empower themselves by advancing their education, starting a business or finding livable wage employment.

Since its founding in 2013, Women Who Care Kent County has raised more than $95,000 for local nonprofit organizations. “It’s amazing to see the impact 100 women can make in just one hour,” said Florentine. “All women in Kent County are invited to join and be a part of this incredible group.”

The next gathering is Thursday, September 3 at Blythefield Country Club. For more information, visit their Facebook page by searching Women Who Care Kent County.

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Online moped parts dealer generating complaints to BBB

Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan (BBB) is issuing an alert about 1977 Mopeds, LLC, a Kalamazoo-based online moped parts business. 1977 Mopeds LLC has an “F” grade with BBB, the lowest possible.

1977 Mopeds, LLC, which also operates as Dellorto Direct, has generated 10 complaints and 80 inquiries in the past 6 months. Complaints have been received from 18 states in the past 3 years.

Complaints primarily concern delays in shipment and delivery of goods. Consumers also report difficulty in reaching the company to check on the status of an order or refund.

While the company has responded to some complaints, they have failed to resolve the underlying cause and pattern of complaints. At this time, BBB files contain seven unanswered complaints.

“BBB is a non-profit organization that works with businesses and consumers to build a trustworthy marketplace,” said Phil Catlett, BBB President and CEO. “Two keys to building trust are delivering what you promise, and being responsive to customer concerns. “

BBB offers the following tips when buying merchandise online:

*Research the business and owners carefully before paying any fees. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at BBB.org or by calling 616-774-8236.

*Ask for references and contact them.

*Read all terms and conditions carefully before completing a purchase. Make sure to read and understand all warranty information. Know your options in the event you receive an item that was not as advertised.

*Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to dispute the purchase.

If consumers have a complaint against this company, they are advised to file a complaint with BBB serving Western Michigan and file a dispute with their credit card company.

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