Cruises, Coffee, and “Cashing In”


Cruise Ships are Coming!
peopleYour Chamber has been advocating for cruise ships to dock in Muskegon during the summer tour season. Hard work is paying off, because the
Pearl Seas Cruise Line’s beautiful passenger vessel, the Pearl Mist, plans to dock in Muskegon as part of their 2016 summer tour season.

Chamber President Cindy Larsen just got back from the Seatrade Conference in Ft. Lauderdale where she was meeting ship owners, learning more about the industry and advocating for cruise ships to tour the great lakes.

Muskegon’s deep-water port and numerous nearby attractions and amenities make it very attractive to cruise ships sailing the Great Lakes,” says Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, which advocates for passenger cruise ships on the Great Lakes.

The ship’s arrival dates will be posted soon. Click here for more information on Pearl Seas Cruise Line.


“Coffee King” to Keynote E-Awards

coffee kingBob Fish, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of
BIGGBY COFFEE will talk about his entrepreneurial journey at this year’s E-Awards Entrepreneur Luncheon on April 27.

Bob Fish and Mary Roszel started the coffee café franchise in 1995 with a single location in E. Lansing. They now have 204 locations in nine states. CNBC calls the franchise “the fastest growing coffee chain in the United States“!

Fish is Past Chairman of the Board of the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan. He is also a founding board member of MiQuest, a Michigan entrepreneurial incubator, and a current board member of the National Small Business Association.

Special thanks to local BIGGBY COFFEE Franchise owner, Peter Gawkowski for helping secure this year’s keynote speaker! The Annual E-Awards Entrepreneur Luncheon celebrates the spirit of Muskegon’s entrepreneurial community by recognizing the area’s most innovative entrepreneurs. Click here for event details.


Advocating in DC with Great Lakes Metro Chambers

DC fly inLast week your Chamber Advocacy Coordinator, Rachel Stewart, was busy lobbying during a DC fly-in with West Michigan Chamber leadership and other members of the Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition. Together, this coalition represents 40 Chambers of Commerce and 150,000 businesses in the Great Lakes Region.

Over two days in DC, participants had 28 appointments with federal legislators and their staff to advocate for appropriations that benefit our economy including the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“The Great Lakes Region has a tremendous impact on our nation and our federal legislators take notice when we come to DC for these discussions,” said Stewart. If the twelve states and two provinces of the Great Lakes trading region were a country, it would have the 3rd largest economy in the world, with estimated annual output near $6 trillion.

“It is always a pleasure to serve the members and advocate for issues to support our local economy, especially things that impact the Great Lakes Region,” added Stewart. I encourage our business leaders who are also passionate about our region to consider attending a fly-in with the coalition in the future.”


Your Chamber’s “Watch Muskegon” Role

watch muskegonAn annual survey of Chamber members told us that Muskegon’s image should be our number one priority this year. To help sustain an environment for business success and aid in your recruiting efforts, we decided to take a leadership role in the Watch Muskegon campaign.

While a large committee representing over 25 organizations is working together on the campaign, your Chamber has taken the administrative role, handling the fundraising, budgeting, ad buys, website, social media and committee coordination.

We are thrilled at the community and corporate buy-in of this campaign, as none of it would be possible without you! To date, more than 100 chamber members have made financial contributions to the campaign totaling over $162,000!

Please continue to help us spread the message. Click here for ways in which you can get involved in the grassroots campaign that’s sweeping our town and region.


Chamber members receive $165,620!

accident fund check35 member businesses are receiving dividend checks totaling $165,620 thanks to safe work practices and their participation in a workers compensation group program from Accident Fund Insurance Companies.

The 16% dividend amount returned is the largest in the program’s history. The dividend amount returned is based on each participant’s premium costs. An average dividend of over $4,871 was returned to each member.

Safety at work leads to fewer injuries and fewer workers compensation claims. Congrats to our members who finished the year with so few claims!

For more information on this cost-saving member benefit, contact Dawn Johnson at 231-724-3175.