The individual aspiration and creativity of the entrepreneur is the cornerstone of business growth in Mason County. Our Entrepreneurial Cluster is comprised of a growing number of locally owned businesses from large-scale manufacturing to specialty boutiques, and more. The thriving year-round economy of our county is further enhanced by the strength of our tourism industry. In 2014, an estimated $119 million in tourism dollars was injected into the local economy supporting growing demand for lodging, restaurants, and retail establishments.
Offering the setting for a coveted lakeshore lifestyle and substantial business resources to support vision of the entrepreneur, Mason County is positioned to capture the interest of the growing entrepreneurial market. The MCGA focuses it’s efforts on sustained local impact. Our vision for the Entrepreneurship Cluster is to create a thriving hub for visionary individuals to implement and grow niche business models.
Annual Prize DOLLARS for Business Start-Ups through Momentum Competition
Number of Small Businesses (Under 15 Employees) In Mason County
After leaving a large metropolitan city, where my wife and I were fully engaged with the arts and music scene, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Ludington community teeming with artists and musicians. The new creative friends that I have made have not only empowered me personally, but my whole family. I feel more free than ever before to leave my comfort zone and explore new and exciting creative pursuits.Chris VanWyck
The Mason County Region is situated in West Michigan along the Lake Michigan shoreline with easy access to the major metropolitan areas in Michigan and the Midwest Region. Driving distances to the larger metro areas are as follows:
Grand Rapids 1hr 28min | Traverse City 1hr 50 min | Chicago 3hr 47min | Detroit 3hr 36 min
A Business Supportive Community
Ask any business owner what the greatest advantage is to doing business in Mason County and they will likely share a personal story of the impact the supportive community has had on their business. Both fellow business owners and the community at-large rally around locally owned businesses to support their efforts and ensure success. The people of Mason County understand that working together they create enhanced opportunities for impact throughout every facet of the community.
Recognizing the demands of developing a business, the MCGA has partnered with regional economic development entities to provide the resources needed to support business development from concept to market and beyond.
- Location Services
- Zoning & Planning
- Business Planning
- Workforce Development
Imagine living and working in a thriving coastal town known for its natural beauty. 28 miles of sandy shoreline, distinctive historic buildings housing boutiques and local cuisine, abundant natural resources throughout the county, and a growing arts scene make Mason County a great place to work and live on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Not only are there business opportunities, there are funding opportunities to support your next Mason County business venture
If you are a first time business owner, or seasoned investor/owner/entrepreneur, we can assist you in bringing your business ideas to a reality. Simply put, WE WANT YOU! MASON COUNTY WANTS YOU, and you can succeed when you partner with the Mason County Growth Alliance and our team of partners.
Leverage our vast knowledge base, and utilize local, “boots on the ground” support in growing your business idea. Here is a recent Target Market Analysis study completed in the Mason County region, showing current market share and gaps, illustrating where an entrepreneur can make an impact point in the market.
Looking for additional information on business assistance or funding? Tap into these local resources for more information. Select one of the options here to find creative ways to fund your project/idea.
RETAIL MARKET GAP OPPORTUNITIES
Big Success in a Small Thai Restaurant
Lupe Rangel (owner of Thai Mango) credits his hometown community for contributing to the wild success of his new restaurant, The Thai Mango. And of course his wife’s superb cooking.
A Ludington native, Rangel spent 11 years in the Army Special Forces in overseas posts, including Thailand, where he met a woman named Ning and married her in 2001. They returned to the United States in 2004 and worked a few years in Grand Rapids, but they were drawn back to his hometown to fulfill a dream of opening a take-out Thai restaurant.
One challenge was that Thai cuisine is unfamiliar to many Ludington residents. Yet Rangel was unfazed. “There was a void in the market, and I had confidence in my wife’s cooking. I also knew we’d have tourists from towns where Thai restaurants are common.” He had to open in the summer to tap into that crowd, yet also attract residents who would keep the business open year round. Rangel mobilized his plan. Ludington’s community development director connected him with an investor looking to back a new restaurant. And Mason County’s food service inspector rushed to accommodate him so he could open Memorial Day weekend.
Rangel moved into his restaurant May 15 and opened 10 days later. An early indication of success, Rangel ran out of 80 percent of his first week’s food supply on the first day and sold out of food on the second day. And business has been booming ever since. “Everything fell into place. It was the right time for a restaurant, but a long time coming. I couldn’t imagine it would take off like it did.”
Starving Artist Brewing:
An Entrepreneurs Blank Canvas
“This is a great town to do business, especially during the proof-of-concept period. It’s fairly low risk. Plus, you have supportive community leaders and business owners; tools at your disposal like the local West Shore Bank, Ludington & Scottville Chamber of Commerce and SCORE; and plenty of freedom.”
Andy is living proof. In 2006, while working at Ludington’s then Artists Market after studying art in college, he approached the owner to ask if she would ever sell the business. She said yes, and the rest is history. Andy and his wife bought the store, added a gallery to display and sell art, and renamed it A.M. Galleries. They opened up in the heart of downtown, soon becoming a cultural hub in the community.
A few years later, Andy is replaying the scene, but this time his new endeavor is a small-batch, production-only brewery. Once again, Andy credits Ludington’s vibrant business community. “I don’t know if I’d try this in a bigger market. Here, I can be one of two breweries in town, versus one of many. And the community is so excited and supportive.”
Andy and Starving Artist Brewing was the winner of the 2015 Momentum Business Competition and $50,000 towards their business venture.