Category Archives: Chamber News

Muskegon’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence Announced

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s annual “E-Awards” recognize the lakeshore’s most innovative entrepreneurs. A luncheon event celebrating Muskegon’s entrepreneurial spirit will be held on April 19 to recognize eleven Entrepreneurs of Excellence that have made a lasting impact on the community. During the luncheon, one will be named Muskegon’s 2017 Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has a long history of recognizing innovative business leaders and has awarded an outstanding entrepreneur(s) each year since 1982. The awards program was recently rebranded and reinvented to better highlight the Lakeshore’s many successful entrepreneurs and showcase the rich foundation of entrepreneurial spirit in the Muskegon business community.

The 2017 Entrepreneurs of Excellence are:

• John and Besty McIntyre, Anderson Global

• Ed Babbitt, Babbitt’s Sports Center

• John Essex, CORE Realty

• Denise Kanaar, D & D Logistics

• Ed Dombrowski, Industrial Metal Cleaning Corporation

• Rob Riegler, Lakeside Surfaces

• David Bayne, Muskegon Awning & Fabrication

• David Ramos, Ramos & Sons Body Shop

• Craig Hindes, Scott Meats

• Randy Mulder, SERVPRO of Muskegon

• Kristi Kettler, Sparrow Boutique

The entrepreneurial stories of this year’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence will be shared at the Annual E-Awards Luncheon. These awardees are chosen by a committee comprised of past Entrepreneur Award winners.

Also hear from past Entrepreneur of Excellence, Kathleen Riegler, founder of The Cheese Lady. In 2004, Kathleen Riegler resigned from her job and decided she wanted to sell cheese at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market. In less than 3 weeks, she had a name, a license and a sign. The Cheese Lady now has 6 different locations and continues to grow.


What: E-Awards Luncheon Celebrating the Spirit of Entrepreneurship along the Muskegon Lakeshore.

When: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Where: Muskegon Country Club, 2801 Lakeshore Drive

Cost: $40/chamber members, $60/general admission, $325/corporate table of 8

About: Recognition of the lakeshore’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence, the announcement of Muskegon’s 2017 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award Winner and hear from past Entrepreneur of Excellence, Kathleen Riegler, founder of The Cheese Lady.

If you would like more information about the award, program, or to register for the event, contact the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce office at 231.722.3751 or visit

New Artists Coming to Muskegon

Final artists for this year’s 2017 Muskegon Lakeshore Art Festival have been selected. “We are pleased that this year, jurors selected local favorites as well as up and coming artists who will bring new style and energy to this event. Approximately 110 new artists will be participating for the first time,” according to Carla Flanders, Lakeshore Art Festival Director. Over 300 artists and crafters from all over the country have been selected to showcase and sell their art July 7th and 8th in downtown Muskegon.

A jury of artists and craft professionals review each application to verify all pieces are unique and handmade by the artist. “Careful attention is made to make sure there is variety and diversity of items displayed throughout the show,” says Carla Flanders. The focus of the Lakeshore Art Festival is to present one-of-a-kind art to attendees that is available to purchase, not just for display.

New this year is a Student Art Showcase for young artists (K-12 grade) that will be displaying and selling art for the first time in their lives! This special area has been organized in partnership with the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. Additionally, the show has created openings for Emerging Artists. These limited spaces are reserved for artists just learning how to apply to and become part of a large scale art event.

The festival will continue to host “fine art” in beautiful Hackley Park, while handmade crafts will be displayed on beautiful Western Avenue and 4th Street. Artists travel from as far away as Texas and California to participate in the destination event which has been named one of the “Best Small Town Art Shows in America” according to

The Lakeshore Art Festival includes street performers, a children’s area, music and food. Additional NEW 2017 festival features will be announced at a later date. For more information go to

Click Here to view the News Release

March 2017 E-news

March 2017 E-news

Muskegon County Silent Observer Steps up Their Game

The Muskegon County Silent Observer Committee has invested in new technology to increase the number and quality of crime tips entering the system.  “The new software makes it easy for people to provide information in a completely confidential manner”, says Tom Schultz, Chair of the Silent Observer Advisory Committee.  Police have reported that the quality of the information they are receiving is much improved in recent months.  Recently, a Muskegon Area Resident received $1,000 for information that led to a murder conviction.  “This new interactive software is making the process more effective for people who provide tips and for members of law enforcement who follow up on the tips received”, according to Schultz.

The software used in the program has always concealed the identity of the tipster, however, the new software in the Silent Observer app allows for more dialogue in a way that is completely anonymous.  The tipster is given a code number for communications that blocks out any phone number from being seen or recorded.  It is important that the tipster monitors their own code number to see if their tip qualifies for an award once a conviction is obtained. No identification is required to pick up the cash rewards, only the correct code number. A tipster can submit a tip by phone, the Silent Observer website, or through the Silent Observer App.

Over the years, the Advisory Committee has developed an air tight system that works to protect the identity of area residents as well as the officers involved.  “It is a win/win for helping to keep our community safe”, says Schultz.  For more information, go to

February 2017 E-news

February 2017 E-news

January 2017 E-news

January 2017 E-news

Baker College students take two of three top spots in Muskegon Elevator Pitch Competition

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Baker College students again represented the Muskegon campus well, winning second and third places, at the 2016 Elevator Pitch Competition for college and high school students, Dec. 8, at Muskegon Community College.

Marketing major Tracy Stremus, of Montague, won second place and $750 with her pitch for a mobile beauty salon, “Beauty Bus.”

Taking third place was La Antonette Anderson, a business major from Muskegon Heights, with a pitch for an after-school program, “Muskegon’s Kids of Character.” She was awarded a $500 prize.

Linda Meyers, program director of marketing, entrepreneurship and human resources management at Baker College of Muskegon, said the competition is about helping students develop the skills necessary to be successful in business.

“It can be quite intimidating to present in front of judges, family and friends,” she said. “I credit everyone who competed. Some won money to further investigate starting a business, but all accomplished a big step toward becoming business professionals.”

Meyers noted that an elevator pitch is basically an executive summary of the presenter and their proposed business that sells the business, product or service. Students who participate in the event are honing their skills to create just such a selling tool that they’ll be able to use no matter where they ultimately work.

Elevator Pitch competitors had two minutes — about the time it takes to ride an elevator — to pitch an idea, product, service or business before a panel of judges. No props or presentation slides were allowed. Students were evaluated on the quality of their presentations: how well they got the attention of the judges, understood their competition, and clearly defined their idea, its unique features, benefits and market.

Most of the ideas for the proposed businesses were solutions to problems the students identified in their own experiences. For example, Stremus is a hairstylist and has provided services to many bridal parties in cramped locations because everyone wants to be together on that joyous day. Her Beauty Bus provided an alternative to an uninviting environment.

Stremus and Anderson competed against other students from Baker College as well as from Muskegon Community College, Grand Valley State University and area high schools. The competition was coordinated by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce along with Baker College of Muskegon and MCC.

“Tracy and La Antonette exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation,” said Lee Coggin, J.D., Baker College of Muskegon president. “Investing the time and energy to make a new business thrive is at the core of each successful enterprise, and these students are off to a great start on their careers.”

Event sponsors included the coordinating organizations and Start Garden, Hines Corp., Nichols, Eagle Alloy Inc. and Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub.

For information about Baker College’s entrepreneurship program, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at 231.777.5200 or, or visit the Baker College website,

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including applied technology, business, education, engineering, health science, information technology and social science. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,

December 2016 E-News

December 2016 E-News

Muskegon Establishes New Partnership with Grand Valley State University

Click Here to view the News Release

Lakeshore Art Festival Leaves $1.5 Million Economic Impact

Click Here to view the News Release

Other ways to get involved

Volunteer for the Lakeshore Art Festival

A unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the shoreline in historic Downtown Muskegon. More than 300 artists and crafters will be showcased with fine art in the park, crafts, children’s activities and Michigan food market – all wrapped up in a huge downtown street party atmosphere!   Come out and join us on July 7th,  and July 8th, 2017.

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Join Watch Muskegon

Muskegon has more to offer than ever before. Join the conversation, movement and Watch Us Go!

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