2017 was a great year for business development in the Ludington Area and Mason County. In light of this, we thought we’d take a retrospective look at 2017 and touch on some of the highlights that made this such a landmark year.
10 | Mason County Launches College Access Network
In order to support the continued prosperity of our local businesses and industry, it is critical that we have a highly educated and skilled workforce. The Mason College Access Network will help to connect students with postsecondary education and training opportunities which are vital to the cultivation of a quality workforce. The Mason College Access Network will work alongside their counterparts in Lake, Manistee, and Oceana Counties to promote better postsecondary outcomes for local students.
9 | Growing Momentum
For the past several years, the Momentum Business Plan Competition has been a high profile event, promoting entrepreneurship in Mason County. In the past, this program has supported the expansion of local businesses like Starving Artist Brewing Co. and Kandyland Creamery. In 2017, the Mason County Growth Alliance partnered with Momentum to sweeten the pot with a $5,000 second place prize. In this year’s competition, All Occasions took home the $50,000 first place prize, and Ludington Spin and Yoga was awarded the runner up prize.
8 | House of Flavors Continues to Grow
House of Flavors ice cream is a hallmark of the Ludington Area, and this year the company announced that it will be making substantial investments into its manufacturing facility and adding 30 new jobs over the next 3 years. To help support this project, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation provided the company with a $240,000 Business Development Grant while the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development offered the company a $100,000 Food & Agriculture Investment Grant. The company will also be partnering with the City of Ludington to make upgrades to the municipal wastewater treatment facility to help accommodate additional production capacity.
7 | MDARD Awards Grant to Explore Trail Development
In 2017, Mason County began working with neighboring Lake, Oceana, and Newaygo counties to investigate opportunities to leverage the recreational trails within the 4 county area and promote regional connectivity of the trail systems. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development along with the local community foundations awarded the 4 county collaborative a $50,000 grant to assist with the development of a plan to help guide future investments in regional recreational
6 | Skills 4 Success
Increasingly, employers are demanding that students graduate from high school and college with the “employability skills” that they need to be successful in the working world. In 2017, the business and education community came together to start work on integrating the Skills 4 Success model into the classroom. The Skills 4 Success is a framework borrowed from Ottawa Area ISD, and forms the foundation of the Future PREP’d program. Click here for more information.
5 | Ludington Bay Brewery Opens Doors in Downtown Ludington
For a smaller community, the Ludington Area has its fair share of breweries. And in 2017, yet another brewery opened its doors in Mason County. Ludington Bay Brewing Co. opened the doors on its 8,000 square foot facility in the spring of 2017, and will have an annual production capacity of 3,000 barrels. In addition to beer, the brewery offers a great menu of appetizers and entrees, as well as a large patio which offers a great outdoor dining and eating experience.
4 | MCGA Announces Annual Placemaking Grant
People choose to come to Mason County because of the great quality of life our community has to offer. Between the numerous lakes and streams, great parks, and abundance of community events, the Ludington Area’s unique sense of place is what sets our community apart. In an effort to support the projects and initiatives which make our community special, the Growth Alliance created the Uncommon Spaces placemaking grant. These grant funds will go toward projects which aim to make Mason County a great place to live and visit.
3 | Students Explore Local Career Opportunities
Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce, and the MCGA wants to make sure that students are aware of the career opportunities available in Mason County. In order to raise awareness around opportunities in local business and industry, the Growth Alliance works with local school districts and other partnering organizations to put on events like Career Day, the Summer Job Program, and Manufacturing Day. These opportunities provide students exposure to a wide range of career fields and connect them to future employment opportunities in the local community
2 | ProAct Services Starts Construction on Headquarters in Pere Marquette Township
ProAct Services has a long history in the Ludington Area, and – after a year of tremendous growth – the company announced that it will be locating its national headquarters in Pere Marquette Charter Township’s First Street Business Park. This $18.6 million dollar project was supported by the MEDC, Michigan Works, and the Township, and is expected to result in 30 additional jobs.
1 | UAC J Whitehall Invests $30 Million in Pere Marquette Business Park, Creating 128 New Jobs
2017 was a great year for business expansions in Mason County, and the largest project was UACJ Whitehall’s expansion in the Sixth Street Industrial Park in PM Township. This manufacturer of aluminum extruded components for the automotive industry will be investing nearly $30 million in new facilities, and expects to bring on approximately 130 new employees over the next few years.
With all of the great things that happened in 2017, the Mason County Growth Alliance can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!