Category Archives: Chamber News

July 2017 E-news

July 2017 E-news

West Shore Bank brings wealth management services to Grand Rapids and Muskegon

Ludington, Mich. – West Shore Bank is pleased to announce a significant expansion of its wealth management services with the acquisition of Ellis Capital Management of Grand Rapids and Muskegon.


Based in Ludington, West Shore Bank currently offers wealth advisory services through its seven-branch network, which spans from Oceana County to Benzie County. The acquisition of Ellis Capital Management will extend West Shore Bank’s wealth management services even farther south, encompassing the population centers of Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.


“Ellis Capital Management has a longstanding reputation for client-centered service delivered with uncompromising integrity,” said Raymond A. Biggs, President and CEO of West Shore Bank. “Their approach to business complements the West Shore Bank brand. It’s an honor to combine our strengths under the same name.”


Ellis Capital Management was founded by David K. Ellis in 1997 to deliver wealth management services to West Michigan families, businesses and nonprofit organizations.   Following the acquisition, Ellis and his team will join the West Shore Bank – Wealth Management group.  Ellis will join as Senior Vice President, primarily responsible for growing the Grand Rapids and Muskegon regions.  The two Ellis Capital Management offices in Grand Rapids and Muskegon will be rebranded with the West Shore Bank – Wealth Management name.


“We’ve always coached clients to take the long view, looking beyond investment strategy to consider advanced planning,” Ellis said. “It is also the cornerstone of West Shore Bank’s wealth management philosophy.”


West Shore Bank – Wealth Management provides a variety of investment, trust and insurance services to help clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth. The group guides clients through every stage of life, whether just starting out, building net worth, or making decisions about substantial assets.


“Ellis Capital shares our resolve to provide peace of mind through advanced planning,” said Brian D. Moore, Senior Vice President – Wealth Management of West Shore Bank. “Our approach encompasses prudent asset management, safeguarding net worth, tax mitigation, charitable giving, leaving a legacy—a lifetime of guidance regarding financial matters.”


The West Shore Bank – Wealth Management team looks forward to delivering its longstanding client-focused approach and long-term wealth management planning expertise to an expanded West Michigan geography.


West Shore Bank was advised by the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. Ellis Capital Management was advised by the law firm of Parmenter O’Toole, PC.



Ludington-based West Shore Bank is a locally owned and managed community bank with seven branch offices in Frankfort, Hart, Ludington, Manistee and Scottville, as well as a loan office in Muskegon. West Shore Bank – Wealth Management provides investment, insurance and trust services to help West Michigan clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth.

Exhibitors Report Record Sales!

PHONE: 231-724-3176


July 11, 2017

Exhibitors Report Record Sales!

MUSKEGON, MI – Tens of thousands of Muskegon residents and visitors from all over the U.S. attended the Lakeshore Art Festival in Downtown Muskegon this past weekend. Attendees raved about the variety of the activities and the overall quality of the show. Exhibitors were ecstatic about their exposure and sales! Multiple exhibitors commented that on Saturday they broke their all-time one-day record sales.


“The show has grown in so many ways!”, says Event Director, Carla Flanders. “We’re thrilled with the response from the exhibitors and guests who have recognized the positive changes, enhanced product quality, and overall festive atmosphere. Our show is being recognized on a national scale and exhibitors are coming from across the country to be in the Lakeshore Art Festival!”


Over 110 exhibitors in the Fine Art and Fine Craft were juried by professional artist and Grand Valley State Art Professor, Renee Zettle-Sterling. Awards totaling $3,000 were presented to winners. The ‘Best in Show’ award was presented to Doyle Borntrager for his “Knarley Knot” wooden goods, second place was presented to Heather Miles for her abstract paintings, and third place went to Jonathan Kesler for his one-of-a-kind clay stoneware. Honorable Mention was awarded to Emre Tekeli for her handmade jewelry, and Committee’s Choice went to Charity Mendoza for her textured artwork. (see photos attached)


The public was also invited to chime in and vote for their favorite booth in the People’s Choice Award hosted by the Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce. First place went to Airika and Maxwell Kolenda for their hand made wood and home decor, second place went to Robert Knoll for his unique wooden furniture, and third place went to Dale McClain for his gourmet dip mixes.


For decades, art has been a driving force in Downtown Muskegon, and Lakeshore Art Festival strives to continue that tradition. This year’s festival welcomed multiple live art experiences. TerraLynn Lake used chalk to create a larger than life replica of Edward Curtis’s Thunderbirds & Whales (see photo attached) while Sarah Landstrom painted a vibrant kayak which was then sold at the festival. (see photo attached)


The Nuveen Center also hosted “Color Muskegon” where 8 large panels were painted by guests during the show and auctioned off during the festival. (see photo attached) A few panels are still available for purchase. For more information on purchasing these one-of-a-kind panels contact or call 231-893-2524.


Newest additions to the festival this year were the Wine and Craft Beer Garden and Chalk the Walk. Attendees were able to sip and savor craft beer and wine while browsing the Fine Art in Hackley Park as well as create their own chalk art between the lines of nearly 300 sections of walkway down Western Ave. Chalk the Walk was hosted by Downtown Muskegon Now First Fridays. Both new activities were a huge success!


Lakeshore Art Festival is nationally ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine 200 Best, and was voted Favorite Small Town Art Fair by Visit for more details.



Lakeshore Art Festival 2017 kicks off with large crowds, music, art

MUSKEGON, MI – With almost 300 exhibitors and lots of new offerings, Lakeshore Art Festival 2017 had downtown Muskegon hopping on its first day, Friday, July 7.

Festivities began at 10 a.m., and the downtown area quickly filled attendees who watched street performers, contributed to community art and browsed the craft and fine art booths on West Western Avenue, Third Street, Clay Avenue, Fourth Street and in Hackley Park.

One early highlight was a U.S. Army band on the Olthoff Street Stage on Third Street. The band entertained with songs such as “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne.

This year’s festival is scheduled for 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, July 7, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, July 8.

The annual event typically draws tens of thousands of people to downtown Muskegon.

For the first time, Lakeshore Art Festival is offering a beer garden, featuring wine and craft beer in Hackley Park. While the park isn’t fenced off, festival workers are asking people to finish their beverages before leaving the park. The garden is coordinated with the Greater Muskegon Jaycees.

On Friday morning, visitors were already filling in Forrest Hanson’s sketches of Muskegon-area landmarks. The boards are located in the traffic circle at the intersection of Third Street and West Western Avenue.

Artists TerriLynn Lake and Sarah Landstrom were already hard at work on their creations for the festival. Lake is creating a 4 foot by 11 foot chalk art replica of Edward Curtis’ Thunderbirds & Whales on Clay Avenue along the exterior of Hackley Park. Landstorm is in the traffic cirlce at Third and West Western painting a kayak donated by KL Outdoor, which will be auctioned off during the festival.

Lakeshore Art Festival to feature over 300 artists in downtown Muskegon

The Lakshore Art Festival is back, and this year the even promises to be even bigger and better.


Over 300 artists will be featured at the event, showing off a variety of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the shoreline.


New to the festival this year, there will be a Wine and Craft Beer Garden where visitors can enjoy a nice adult beverage while shopping for art.


There will also be other new events such as the K-12 Student Art Showcase, Kayak Painting with Sarah Landstrom, and Chalk the Walk.


The Lakeshore Art Festival is happening on July 7 and 8 in downtown Muskegon.


For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook.

Get your art on at the Lakeshore Art Festival!

MUSKEGON, MICH. – The Lakeshore Art Festival gets underway July 7 and 8 in downtown Muskegon.

The festival features nearly 300 fine art and specialty craft exhibitors, children’s activities, specialty food items, street performers and multiple interactive art stations.

Carla Flanders joined us from the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to tell us more about the event, which has been recognized by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of the “200 Best” in the country and by as “Favorite Small Town Art Fair.”

June 2017 E-news

June 2017 E-news

Muskegon’s Future 15 young professionals announced!

Fifteen of the Muskegon Lakeshore’s up and coming young professionals are being recognized by the business community. These individuals contribute to the growth and success of their company/organization and are making a positive impact along the Muskegon Lakeshore.


In its fifth year, a record number of 68 nominations were submitted for young professionals that live or work in Muskegon County.  “We were not surprised by this increase in nominations, as the young professional community is growing and thriving along the Muskegon Lakeshore,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “The next generation of professionals is becoming more influential in our community and it is important they are recognized for the contributions being made to the area’s economy and quality of life.”


A selection committee, consisting of young professionals that were among the 2016 Future 15 award recipients, gathered to determine who this year’s Future 15 would be. After careful review of the nominations, this year’s Future 15 emerging young leaders are as follows:


  • Bryan Lambert, Brightway Insurance
  • Arisha Coffee, Community enCompass
  • Jason Bertoia, Every Woman’s Place
  • Heather Halter, Family Financial Credit Union
  • Lauren Meldrum, HealthWest
  • Walter Christophersen, IBEW Local 275
  • Michael Ramsey, Mercy Health
  • Corey Davis, Muskegon Area Transit System
  • David Fredrick, Muskegon Family Care
  • Tim Lopez, Muskegon Rescue Mission
  • Jared Passchier, Norton Shores Police Department
  • Brian Leibrandt, Parmenter O’Toole
  • Spencer Boertman, Steak ‘N Egger
  • La Tonya Beene, United Way of the Lakeshore
  • Ami Gongalski, West Michigan Law


These 15 finalists will be recognized at a Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce member event later this month. Additional information for the Future 15 Awards is available online at or by contacting the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce at 231-722-3751 or

“Watch Muskegon” campaign unveils progress report

As Muskegon officials are trying to change the public’s perception of the city, a progress report on the effectiveness of the ‘Watch Muskegon’ campaign were released Friday. Acknowledging there is “still a lot of work to do,” Muskegon Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen says she has never been more encouraged by the direction the city is heading.


“The most exciting thing that is happening is the fact that there is so much happening,” Larsen said. “As a matter of fact, there’s a total investment in Muskegon County right now in excess of $1 billion. And I have never seen that in my career. To get up into the B’s, that is something,” she said.


The results of the mid-campaign found that residents who already live in Muskegon County and nearby are more likely to live and work in Muskegon. However, outside of the area, West Michiganders still have reservations about living or working in Muskegon due to concerns about safety and urban challenges.


“We’re an old community, and we went through some hard times. But that was 25 years ago, and I think a lot of people still think of Muskegon that way,” Larsen said. “Which is why we started the Watch Muskegon campaign, to change people’s way of thinking about the city.”


Chris Burnaw is a co-chair of the Mercy Health Seaway run and Lake Michigan half marathon June 24th. After 30 years in Muskegon, the finish line of the race has been moved to Downtown Muskegon this year to showcase the city’s progress.


“I think it’s the energy,” Bernaw said. “I’ve been here for 17 years, and just to see the change and the progress and the energy and the excitement downtown,” she said. “You know, it seems every time we turn around these days, there is something new going in. Everybody says ‘Muskegon, why go there?’ There a thousand reasons to come to Muskegon.”


Larsen said this summer the Muskegon Lake will undergo a huge transformation as the vacant Windward Pointe paper mill will be demolished in an effort to return the lake to its natural beauty.

Watch Muskegon Campaign Making an Impact


May 19, 2017


Watch Muskegon Campaign Making an Impact


MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon’s image as a great place to live, work, and play has improved according to an independent research firm. The Watch Muskegon mid-campaign results were presented to the community during the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s Business for Breakfast event.  Avenue ISR, an independent research firm, conducted a perception survey to determine the effectiveness of the Watch Muskegon Campaign in improving the perception of Muskegon County. Survey results indicated that the Watch Muskegon Campaign has made a positive impact on the image of Muskegon, both locally and throughout West Michigan.


The survey revealed that within the Muskegon community 95% of respondents were familiar with the Watch Muskegon Campaign and that 38% of respondents throughout West Michigan recall seeing or hearing the campaign messaging. In addition, residents of Muskegon County and its surrounding counties are more likely to see Muskegon as a place to live, work, and play compared to before the campaign launched.


“We are thrilled to see that the campaign is moving the needle and positively affecting the overall perception of Muskegon County both locally and regionally,” says Carla Flanders, Director of Watch Muskegon. The survey also identified some of Muskegon County’s greatest assets which are its natural amenities, cultural amenities and diversity.


During the presentation, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s President, Cindy Larsen, adds that there is still room for further improvement. “We need to get to the point where Muskegon’s image is cemented. Ongoing funding is needed, as well as help from the general public. For the next stage of this campaign, we are challenging you to take 100 photos of Muskegon and post them on social media using the hashtag #ThisIsMuskegon during the month of July for the chance to win big,” says Larsen.


The Watch Muskegon Campaign is in its last year of the initial campaign. However, due to the commitment of its stakeholders, the campaign is expected to continue for another 3 years. For more information, visit

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.

More Information

Join Watch Muskegon

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

More Information