MMDC Awards Economic Development Achievements at Annual Meeting
Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC) hosted its annual meeting and breakfast on May 24, 2023 at the Courtyard Marriot at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. Approximately 130 local community leaders attended the event to celebrate the annual achievement awards that MMDC presented to local individuals and businesses. Attendees also enjoyed the keynote address from Brian Calley, President and CEO of the Small Business Association (SBA) of Michigan.
Eight achievement awards were presented by MMDC President Jim McBryde in the following categories.
- Business Attraction Award: Renosol Corporation, a polyurethane processing plant located in Bay City, Michigan, suffered a major fire to their facility during the Summer of 2021. The owner, Dennis Ressigguie, who had roots in Clare, evaluated the situation and felt that coming back to Clare County might be best for his company and his employees, as many of them had roots in Clare as well. MMDC, along with Clare County Commissioners, assisted Renosol in securing the last remaining parcel in the Clare North Industrial Park.
- Business Expansion Award: Bandit Industries, Inc. has had a long tenure serving as one of the top employers for our communities, and it's incredible growth continues today. The company has pioneered premium tree chippers, stump and horizontal grinders, and forestry mowers. In 2018, it was also an early adopter of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) model, in which it announced that 100 percent of the company would be made available to its employees. Early 2023 brought about another major expansion for the company, when it announced the addition of its Union Township location, a project expected to result in 200 additional employees at that location alone. For their incredible growth, advancement, and leadership in manufacturing and innovation, we are proud to award Bandit Industries the Middle Michigan Business Expansion Award for the second year in a row.
- Small Business in Clare County Award: Cardinal & Clover, for their work in creating and launching a business incubator in downtown Clare, MI. The Collaborative now hosts 10 businesses, with eight of them new to Clare. After brainstorming and consulting with the Mid Michigan SBDC, Christine and Joe Smith began brainstorming how this building could further support economic growth in downtown Clare. MMDC is excited to see their "market" type vision come to life and the businesses that will grow in our region as a result of this space.
- Small Business in Gladwin County Award: Beaverton Tavern, for their commitment to restore and resurrect an establishment vital to the Beaverton community in the face of unprecedented challenges. Owners Robin Smith-Martin and family have dedicated their time and effort to bringing this building and business back to life in order to support Beaverton's downtown and maintain the quality-of-life restaurants and food establishments bring to the communities they serve.
- Small Business in Isabella County Award: Pleasant City Coffee, in Mt. Pleasant, MI, for completion of their project funded, in part, by a Match on Main grant received. Through this funding, they were able to expand their square footage through the addition of outdoor patio seating and renovating their entire building in order to serve coffee AND Michigan wine. A staple in the downtown community, business owners Joshua and Rachael Agardy show their commitment to the region every day. Their business creates a sense of place for those who visit and those who stay.
- Small Business in Osceola County Award: Juneberry Cottage, June-Marie Esser, owner of Juneberry Cottage, isn’t afraid to think outside of the box. Her quilting store is an anchor tenant in downtown Evart and you can often see June-Marie’s smiling face on Michigan Main Street posts highlighting the value she brings to the community. Additionally, June-Marie has helped facilitate bus tours in downtown effort and recently received a Match on Main grant to bring in her first line of sewing machines, something you won’t find anywhere else within a two-hour radius.
- Collaborative Partner Award: Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce, for its noted recommitment to economic development and the work we do collectively. Although the Mt. Pleasant Chamber of Commerce has always been a partner to the MMDC, under Liz Conway’s leadership, the partnership between MMDC and the Chamber has only gotten stronger. Together, the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce and the MMDC have facilitated events that support area businesses and foster positive discussions on how we can sustain and grow the community.
- Mike Finney Innovation Award: Trisha and Tammy Galloway of the Longer Table, Mike Finney was one of the most innovative economic development leaders that our state and even our nation has ever seen, which is why this particular award is named after him. Tammy and Tricia Galloway embody that innovative spirit, having launched not only their own business in downtown Harrison, MI, but by inspiring and encouraging other women in the area to consider bringing their own idea to life right here in Middle Michigan. Hosting monthly Women in Entrepreneurship meetups, this dynamic duo is serving as a beacon for those who want to emulate their success and create a prosperous, locally driven economy through the businesses they launch.
During his keynote address, Brian Calley reminded attendees that all Michigan Communities need to work together to address Michigan’s talent needs. By addressing these needs, Michigan can continue to compete as a top state by maintaining and growing its workforce.
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