Brad Mooney of Eastbrook Homes and Joel Ruiter of Home Repair Services sit down with Eric Hultgren to discuss the impactful work HRS does in the community. Learn about Home Repair Service’s mission of strengthening vulnerable Kent County homeowners to build strong communities, as well as Eastbrook Home’s tie to the non-profit. HRS offers classes, resources, financial aid, ramp building, and more to the Kent County community. One program they offer is ramp building, which Brad Mooney of Eastbrook Homes has helped with for over a decade. This podcast will delve into various community needs, HRS’ story and mission, and how corporations and individuals alike can make a difference in their community.
Each season in Michigan holds its own magic but there is one season where that magic feels more fleeting than others – the fall. The fall colors in Michigan are a yearly reminder that change is both wonderful and colorful, this year is no different. Eric Hultgren spent 24hrs in Marquette to show you the 6 places to catch the colors before they are gone. On your way into town you can check out both the Iron Ore Heritage Trail and Mt. Marquette, from there head over to Sugar Loaf and the Cr-510 Bridge for some killer fall colors. Finally head 20 minutes out of town to climb Hogback Mountain and finish off near Big Bay at the Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook and you will get photos of some of the best fall colors in Michigan.
Hmm, what goes well with hiking and biking through the great outdoors of northern Michigan? Beer.
What pairs well with holiday shopping at boutiques full of unique, Michigan-made gifts? Beer.
What makes a great match for a romantic escape? A girlfriend getaway? A guy’s weekend? Yep. Beer.
Mmm, good thing Traverse City Beer Week is still happening this fall! Go ahead and take a break from the turmoil of 2020 and get #HoppyinTC from Nov. 13-20.
“2020 has certainly had its share of negativity, but when it comes to sipping beer in northern Michigan we know there’s potential to put people in their happy place,” said Coryn Briggs, director of digital marketing at TC Tourism and the coordinator for TC Beer Week.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered much of our lives this year, and TC Beer Week is no exception. But even with a new look for the event, you can rest assured that the region’s craft breweries are still turning out a wide variety of unique, delicious flavors.
In fact, this year’s TC Beer Week even has some new participants including Stormcloud Brewing Co. The microbrewery in Frankfort will serve up its seasonal Oktoberfest and Pumpkin ales during TC Beer Week, and also expects to have on tap its new harvest ales brewed with freshly harvested, northern Michigan-grown hops!
Here’s how you can enjoy those flavors and many more during TC Beer Week 2020 and win a prize at the same time!
This year’s event is entirely self-guided, so take a look at the special offers at participating breweries on the Beer Week Ale Trail and pick out places to visit. Note that reservations may be required at some places due to capacity limits. Short’s Brewing is taking reservations for its pub in Bellaire, for example. Check out social media or put in a quick call to see if reservations are needed for other breweries you’d like to visit.
If you check in at five or more TC Beer Week businesses, you win a prize of your choice – either a TC Beer Week T-shirt or a Traverse City fanny pack! Remember to wash your hands, wear a facemask and maintain safe social distancing while enjoying great Traverse City beers.
If you stay at a participating Traverse City-area hotel during your TC Beer Week visit, you’ll be entered to win the event’s grand prize: a beer lover’s vacation package with $200 of Traverse City Tourism gift certificates to spend on future lodging, a T-shirt from Short’s Brewing, a howler and gift certificate from Acoustic Mead, a gift certificate to TheLittleFleet.com featuring hard-to-find beers, natural wines and rotating craft cocktails and a gift card from Stormcloud Brewing. Many places to stay are offering Fab Fall discounts from now until early December.
All participants should expect to wear masks, maintain 6 feet of distance and have an awesome time!
“There may not be big events or big crowds this year, but there will be big flavor and fun savings!” Briggs said. “This year’s event is entirely self-guided, so visitors can take their time finding those #HoppyPlace moments while safely sipping around TC.”
Whatever your reason to travel, you can’t go wrong in Traverse City – especially during TC Beer Week when you can complement your adventure with deals on Michigan’s most inventive craft beer. Here’s a sampling of some of the specials on tap during TC Beer Week at participating breweries:
· Short’s Brewing Co. – BOGO beer flights and growler fills. Plus, check out the new Pull Barn tasting room at the brewery’s Elk Rapids production facility. It’s now open year-round with indoor seating for 50 people and a big, beautiful custom-built bar and restrooms, too!
The home office that consists of hunching over a laptop while slouching on a couch.
The dining table that has been transformed to a makeshift desk.
The constant sitting when there’s no co-workers to stroll over for a chat or head out on a run for coffee.
Increased screen-time before, during and after work.
They’re all adding up to create an ergonomic nightmare with lingering impact – headaches, sore necks, back pain and more.
Gretchen Walsh, a veteran physical therapist, says the COVID-19 pandemic and the pivot to work-from-home environments is taking a toll on adults. Similarly, stay-home and stay-safe orders that have also restricted adult and youth sports leagues are contributing to the impact.
“Our bodies need movement, and the impact of the virus has made many of us more sedentary,” said Walsh, who practices at Advent Physical Therapy. “We’ve also formed bad habits that are causing us to feel aches and pain that shouldn’t be normal. If those are ignored and go untreated, they get worse and the limitations will get progressively bigger.”
Specialists at Advent Physical Therapy’s 15 West Michigan locations have noted an increase in non-injury musculoskeletal problems that can be resolved with a physical therapy treatment plan. The services cover all areas of the body, and Advent has also developed programs to help patients who are recovering from COVID-19.
“We’re seeing a lot more people who have an injury, but can’t pinpoint a day, time or one thing that happened and now they hurt,” said Walsh. “It was an accumulation of issues over time and they didn’t necessarily correlate it with working from home or a more sedentary lifestyle.
“You shouldn’t be in pain, and if you are, your body is signaling to you that something is wrong.”
The progression has left muscles weaker, endurance sapped and bodies breaking down, all symptoms that physical therapy can help overcome.
Advent physical therapists are available to help with or without a doctor’s referral. The group practice pairs patients with experienced professionals for in-clinic visits, through virtual care and even branching out to at-home treatment.
Therapists perform an initial assessment to determine the source of the discomfort and then design an individual plan that can include evidence-based manual therapy and/or therapeutic exercises for pain-free function. In general, recovery programs involve two to three clinic visits per week and daily routines of varying length to stretch and strengthen the affected muscles as well as work on total body conditioning.
“Everything is designed to get you back to where you were and what you were doing,” Walsh said. “We really tailor our sessions and our patient experiences to the individual and their personal goals.”
Successful outcomes occur with less dependence on pain relievers or opioids and often at a lower cost than going to a physician who could simply end up referring patients for a physical therapy regimen.
Advent Physical Therapy has also helped COVID-19 patients bounce back from the virus with a respiratory recovery program and training sessions that restore range of motion, flexibility and strength deficits that developed while ill. Physical therapy begins to minimize any discomfort and offers pain relief, Walsh said.
“We’re another helping hand in recovery,” she said. “Our goal is always to get patients back to what they love as quickly, and as comfortably, as possible.”
What could you do with 200 hours? The average coffee bean’s journey from farm to coffee cup is 200 hours and mutliple stops along the way. Biggby wants to change that, and is taking steps now to be 50% farm direct by 2023 – a move which will benefit farm employees, communities and sustainability.
Check out the video below to learn more, as Eric Hultgren explains how many steps it takes for a coffee bean to become a cup of coffee on National Coffee Day.
Football is a tough ticket this fall, with high school crowds in the southern half of Michigan limited to friends and family members and the Detroit Lions playing games in an empty stadium. Some fans already have gone to extraordinary heights just to catch a glimpse of the action.
But even though the fall football season is much different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, autumn in the Traverse City area is its usual beautiful self.
While you wait to root for the green and white Spartans or cheer the maize and blue Wolverines on TV later this year, you can come to Traverse City right now and celebrate the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of a fall color tour. You can mimic a football tailgate by checking out some of the Traverse City area’s nearly 20 breweries and 40-plus wineries. You can grab a seat at the bar and enjoy some classic football food at one of the region’s many unique restaurants and watering holes.
And guess what? It’s easy to get a season pass to all the glories of fall, too. Money-saving Fab Fall packages are available in the Traverse City area from now into December with lodging deals as well as discounts on dining, shopping and attractions.
With the calendar cleared of football road trips to Ann Arbor, East Lansing or Ford Field, you have a fall full of weekends to visit Traverse City and enjoy everything else that’s great about Michigan’s best season of the year. Here’s a look at just some of the ways to get your fall fix in the Traverse City area:
Pre-game coin flip – Breweries or wineries…or both? You don’t need tickets to a football game to enjoy a great tailgate party! The Traverse City area long has been a delicious destination for wine lovers, its vineyards blessed with ideal grape-growing geography and climate. The region also is home to a burgeoning microbrewery scene featuring the popular Short’s Brewing Co. in Bellaire along with nearly two dozen other innovative craft beer makers each with their own unique fall flavors to taste.
On defense – Protect your pocketbook by getting a head start on holiday shopping with great fall deals at the unique shops, galleries and boutiques all over the Traverse City area. Whether browsing the tree-lined streets of downtown Traverse City, the one-of-a-kind Village at Grand Traverse Commons or one of the area’s quaint port towns, you’re sure to find some special treasures – and a tasty bite or two – as you enjoy a memorable fall day.
Special teams – Don’t punt away another opportunity to experience the beauty of fall in northern Michigan. Now is the time to see what makes autumn in the Traverse City area so special. Be sure to visit a U-pick farm where you can pluck apples right off the tree, pick out a pumpkin for the porch back home and allow yourself the simple pleasure of navigating an old-fashioned corn maze. And don’t forget to indulge in some donuts and cider, of course!
Halftime show – COVID-19 has done a number on live events this year, including cancellation of many events typically held in the fall. Fortunately, not everything is on hold. For example, you’ll find local musicians performing at restaurants, breweries and wineries throughout the Traverse City area all fall. Plus, the annual Traverse City Beer Week is still on tap for Nov. 13-20! You can plan your visit around Beer Week or any of these upcoming events.
Post-game festivities – At the end of each day’s fall adventure, retire to one of the Traverse City area’s many unique hotels, resorts and B&Bs where you can relax and recharge for more fall fun the following day. Save money by booking your place to stay with a Fab Fall package!
Mike McFall has a lot to say about being an entrepreneur.
Most of the advice and strategies are not what you’d expect to hear from the co-founder and co-chief executive of Michigan-based Biggby Coffee, a 25-year-old, $100 million franchise with more than 250 locations in the Midwest.
Here’s a sampling of outtakes about the book from a recent conversation with McFall:
“People will talk about market research, price points, competition, the commodity, but you never hear anyone talk about the mentality and mindset that you have to have to do the work. Being an entrepreneur is not a get-rich-quick idea. If you’re not willing to invest 7 to 10 years of your life and be the most dependable part of the business, you’re going to fail.”
“Are you comfortable being a salesperson because 83 percent of CEOs on the Inc. 500 list were the only or primary salesperson in their business. If you’re scared of sales, if it’s not your thing, you really have to think about if this is a good idea.”
“Being an entrepreneur is no super power. The real key is you have to understand your strategic abilities and be clear about what you don’t know, can’t do or who you need to bring in to get the job done. You can’t have an ego that you know everything.”
“Partnerships have all the complexities of a marriage without the benefit of the hanky panky. Just like committing your life to someone, you have to make sure you’re right for each other.”
The book project has been a decade in the making for McFall as he evaluated how Biggby’s growth mirrored – or more importantly didn’t reflect – what he had read in other books about entrepreneurship. The others, McFall said, were either written from the perspective of jet-setting, ultra-successful billionaires who were looking back through rose-colored glasses or written by academics who were presenting their theories and case-studies.
“I didn’t see any who were in the middle of it,” McFall said. “I wanted to bring the practical side of starting a business with the voice of somebody who lives it day in and day out. It’s not a textbook.”
Grind tracks different situations that McFall and his co-founder/co-CEO Bob Fish encountered while building their business from a single location in Lansing. He writes about a loyal customer’s willingness to buy them outdoor furniture so that others could sit and relax, and how that gesture left an impression that helped form the company culture.
The book also tracks successes and pitfalls from both the Biggby perspective and franchisees who achieved beyond initial projections, as well as those that weren’t able to make it and why they came up short.
McFall shares how he and Fish made Biggby work by defining clear expectations and roles, and the importance of holding each other accountable while also not meddling.
Throughout Grind, McFall shares the necessity of entrepreneurs to be themselves while being aware of others. Leaders need to be brave but balance it with humility and display a willingness to understand differing perspectives.
“In 25 years, we’ve not had one knockdown, drag out battle, and that’s because we approach each other with a high degree of respect,” McFall says when talking about being a leader and a partner. “We can call each other out and do it while listening to why we feel so strongly and so passionate about something.
“If you can’t do that, maybe you shouldn’t be in business together.”
Praise for the book has come from business leaders, educators and investors, including:
Tasha Eurich, New York Times bestselling author (Bankable Leadership & Insight): “If you have ever wondered what it might be like to open your own business, read this book. Even if you have no interest in starting a business, the insights in this book are valuable for life in general.”
Michael Williams, Director of Entrepreneurship Activity & Director of the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic, University of Wisconsin, Madison: “This is a must read for every new start up. Every entrepreneur needs to learn how to sell and discern good advice from bad. Mike does a great job breaking all of this down through real life examples.”
Michael Soenen, Partner, Valor Equity Partners: “If more entrepreneurs considered this message it would be great for my business, as I would have more late stage companies to invest in.”
McFall said readers have offered great feedback and engagement since Grind’s debut in August.
“It’s been fun to listen to what others took away from it or how they got through some of their start-up positions,” he said. “Being an entrepreneur is satisfying, but it takes commitment and desire. You can’t walk in talking about an exit strategy or accumulating wealth. It has to be about being the best at what you do and giving everything you have. If you don’t do that, it probably won’t work.”
When the reality of COVID-19 hit, things came to a screeching halt in mid-March. For The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, that meant the cancellation and postponement of more than 100 events and performances.
The Mendel Center, located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, features two performance stages and 12 meeting spaces. It hosts everything from weddings to business gatherings to national touring acts – but things are different this year.
“It was a good year we had to slam the brakes on,” said Mike Nadolski, executive director of The Mendel Center. “When it first started happening, there was a little disbelief. We had a kicking the can down the road mindset.”
But that mindset didn’t last long. As an event venue meant to bring in large amounts of people for a connected experience, The Mendel Center faced obvious hurdles in the midst of stay-at-home orders. Despite the difficult times, Nadolski and The Mendel Center set out to find new ways to serve its southwest Michigan communities.
“We moved from kicking the can to pivoting,” Nadolski said. “We moved to see what we could do online. We created the Remotely Interested program. We are still a community center; we are about connecting people.”
Remotely Interested is a series that features local and regional artists who will perform from the comfort of their homes or studios while the audience sits back and enjoys online. From musical performances to interviews, The Mendel Center was able to provide artists a platform.
As time progressed, The Mendel Center continually sought ways to innovate and pivot as a means to stay active in the communities as restrictions remained. They started hosting micro-weddings, where attendance is limited to fewer than 10 people and is broadcasted to everyone else to view at home.
Recently, a drive-in concert series — aptly named Drive-In Live! — was also launched.
“With almost all of the usual summertime activities in the region cancelled due to the pandemic, the Drive-in Live! concerts fill a void and create a sense of connection in our community that has been missing during these challenging times,” Nadolski said.
At the concerts, each vehicle is issued two parking spaces, one for parking and one for tailgating. An FM radio signal provides the audio, while a large projection screens shows all the action occurring on stage. Additionally, each concert features trivia contests and prize giveaways. Beer, wine and soft drinks are also available for purchase via cell phone and delivered directly to each tailgate zone.
Nadolski said precautions are in place to protect the health and safety of the concertgoers.
There are two concerts left in The Mendel Center’s Drive-In Live! series. On Saturday, September 19, Siusan O’Rourke & Zig Zeitler, Sankofa and The Big Payback perform. On Sunday, September 27, Mike Talbot, John Latini and Alex & Erin take the stage. Tickets are $10 per person with up to six people per vehicle. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 6 p.m.
Through all the challenges of putting events on this year, Nadolski said the southwest Michigan communities and sponsors have been incredibly supportive in making it all a reality.
“I’m emotional just thinking about it,” he said. “Some of these businesses are struggling as much as we are. It’s nice to know there is a community out there that’s appreciative of what we do. It can make us come back stronger than ever.”
Nadolski highlights southwest Michigan’s vibrant arts scene as a reason The Mendel Center managed to push through the difficult times this year.
“They trust us if we are bringing something new or different in,” he said. “They know our standards are high.”
With generous communities and supportive sponsors behind them, The Mendel Center managed to stage unique, creative events. The show goes on.
The death of the lumbering industry in the late 1800s helped bring about the birth of the sugarbeet industry to the Saginaw Valley’s farming and food-processing economies.
After loggers had cleared the pine forests in the area, the land was virtually unusable due to the massive expanse of tree stumps left behind. State and local leaders were searching for a substitute for the jobs and money generated by now-departed lumber barons. A solution was needed that could be replenished each year, bringing a stabilizing influence to the economic base of the region.
Enter the sugarbeet.
In 1884, during a trip to Germany, Joseph Seemann, a Saginaw printer, observed how well the sugarbeet was doing in that country. He sent a sample of seeds to his partner, who forwarded them to Robert C. Kedzie, professor of chemistry at Michigan State Agricultural College. Kedzie’s enthusiasm for the beet’s potential earned him the title “Father of the Michigan Beet Sugar Industry.”
He imported 1,500 pounds of seeds from France and distributed them to farmers across Michigan. The success of the planting helped encourage people to clear the stumps and better utilize the once-again valuable acreage.
Michigan Sugar Company was founded in 1906 when six smaller sugar companies merged their operations. In 2002, Michigan Sugar Company became a grower-owned cooperative and in 2004, it merged with Monitor Sugar Company to form the company that exists today.
Headquartered in Bay City, Michigan Sugar Compay has sugarbeet processing facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing. Its nearly 900 grower-owners plant and harvest about 160,000 acres of sugarbeets each year in 20 Michigan counties, as well as Ontario, Canada. Those beets are sliced at the factories and turned into about 1.1 billion pounds of sugar annually. That sugar is sold to industrial, commercial, and retail customers, primarily under the Pioneer Sugar brand.
In 2020, the company launched its new line of red retail bags for its white granulated, Golden Light Brown, Dark Brown and Confectioners Powdered sugars. The company sells white granulated sugar in retail sizes of 2 pounds, 4 pounds, 10 pounds and 25 pounds. The brown and powdered sugars are sold in retail sizes of 2 pounds and 7 pounds.
Michigan Sugar has 930 year-round employees and an additional 1,100 seasonal workers. The company’s annual payroll is more than $65 million and its annual local economic impact is about $500 million.
Michigan Sugar Company runs robust Young Farmer and Youth Project programs, offers internships, and provides a variety of scholarships, including the annual Michigan Sugar Queen Scholarship. The company annually donates upward of 100,000 pounds of sugar to food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across the state and supports countless community events and festivals throughout its growing region.
Of the nine sugarbeet processing companies in the United States, Michigan Sugar is the third largest and Michigan is one of 11 states where sugarbeets are grown in the country.
There are countless places in Marquette County with incredible views, and lots of ways to find them – driving, hiking, biking, paddling and more. To get you started with a plan, here are five top sites to see Michigan’s best fall color this year:
Marquette – Not to be confused with the Marquette Mountain ski area, Mt. Marquette offers a sweet vista overlooking the entire cityscape alongside the Lake Superior shore. It’s a steep drive up the 1,200-foot-high mountain, so a 4-wheel drive vehicle is advised. You can also park down below and hike or mountain bike up to the top.
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail that winds through Marquette County is perfect for a walk or bike ride through the heart of Michigan’s best fall color.
Iron Ore Heritage Trail – A 47-mile multi-use trail that runs (bikes, hikes or walks) mostly east and west across Marquette County along U.S. 41, the Iron Ore Heritage Trail has it all – from the dense forests of the Marquette Iron Range through historic towns to the Lake Superior shoreline. While there’s gorgeous fall color the whole way, you could start at the Jackson Miners Park Trailhead in Negaunee where there’s about 2.5 miles of asphalt path ideal for a color tour on foot, bike or inline skates.
CR 510 bridge – An old bridge makes great pictures. So does fall color. Combine the two and you have the makings of something really special. The CR 510 Bridge west of Marquette toward Negaunee presents a quaint scene over the Dead River. The historic truss span is the longest of its kind in Michigan and is now open only to pedestrian traffic. A modern bridge just to the west offers a great spot for viewing and photographs.
Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook – About 25 miles north of Marquette on an impressive drive through cut rock on CR 550, or 25 miles north of the CR 510 Bridge on a gravel road through the Huron Mountains and tunnels of fall color, you’ll find a trail to the underrated Thomas Rock View near Lake Independence in Big Bay. It’s a relatively easy hike along a dog-friendly, wheelchair-accessible path to a rock outcropping that’s a natural lookout. Nearby, about six miles south of the CR 550 junction on CR 510, there’s a parking area near the bridge over the Yellow Dog River where you can hike a trail to Yellow Dog Falls. A large boulder splits the water as it flows over the impressive 20-foot drop on its way to Lake Superior.
Harlow Lake Recreation Area – From the shore of Lake Superior to one of the highest
Harlow Lake Recreation Area offers a wide variety of trails for hiking and biking with panoramic scenic overlooks.
points in the Upper Peninsula, Harlow Lake Recreation Area has a diverse geography with a variety of fall color experiences. There are nearly 40 miles of trails for hiking and biking including some of Michigan’s best single-track mountain bike trails. Avid hikers can try to summit Hogback Mountain, from where you can see all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula on a clear day. Other visitors might prefer relaxing by the peaceful, serene Harlow Lake.
From driving through tunnels of trees to biking along a trail through the woods to paddling across a lake, there are many ways to take in Marquette’s beautiful fall colors. (Photo credit: Pure Michigan)
The warm sunny days and cool, clear nights of autumn in the Marquette area are perfect for turning out the best fall colors. And with a heavily forested landscape that features many miles of rivers and waterfalls, too, Marquette has a beautiful canvas from which those striking colors emerge. It’s no wonder USA Today readers voted Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the best place in the country for fall foliage.
Plus, Marquette County offers your first opportunity to see fall colors this year. While trees in most parts of Michigan stay green well into October, you can find leaves starting to change around Marquette by the end of September. And you can find peak color somewhere in Marquette County pretty much throughout all of October.
“If you go inland out to the west end of the county, the colors tend to change a little sooner there than in Marquette where it takes a little longer along the shore of Lake Superior,” said Susan Estler, executive director of Travel Marquette.
Lake Superior makes a magical setting for fall colors in Marquette County. (Photo credit: Pure Michigan)
“There’s so much more dense forest than anywhere else in the country, and to get all those colors to turn with the lakes, rivers, waterfalls and Lake Superior as a backdrop, it’s absolutely breathtaking.”