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ARC conference offers information on jobs for those with disabilities

As the unemployment rate in Michigan has improved one group of works has lagged behind. In the state, 81 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed.

"They want to work," says Ellen Stone, executive director of The Arc Community Advocates. The organization advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to help them achieve their goals for work, school, housing, or any other area of life.

Each year the Arc Community Advocates has an inclusion conference that explores ways to improve life for those with disabilities. On a three year rotation, the conferences explore education--how to get students the support they need in school, employment--how to make the transition from school to work, and life in general--how to access the systems and support needed to stay connected to the community.

For 2015, the recent conference focused on issues related to employment and transitioning from school to work for individuals with disabilities and included sessions for both individuals with disabilities and for employers.

The day drew about 150, including 10 employers and a number of service providers.

Those attending the sessions learned about ways to navigate the systems when receiving SSI or SSDI. "Being on disability does not mean you can't work," Stone says, but employees must understand the rules. 

The day included 20 workshops on a variety of topics such as sessions on how those with disabilities can access transportation, when and how to disclose your disability to potential employers, and what types of supports are available to assist people in gaining meaningful employment.

There were also sessions targeted at local businesses on how to make the workplace accessible, understanding employment law as it relates to working with individuals with disabilities, and how to build a business culture that is inclusive.

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services Executive Director Elmer Cerano and Lt. Governor Brian Calley gave updates on the many initiatives happening across Michigan to change the employment story for those with disabilities. (Calley was also in Kalamazoo four days later along with Michigan's first blind Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein as part of MI Hidden Talent Tour, a statewide tour showcasing the talents of often-overlooked individuals who have disabilities.)

Employers who say they have no jobs for those with disabilities were asked to consider their hiring practices and how they might be changed. For example, most employers require a high school diploma or GED. Those with disabilities graduate with a certificate, many of them after having been in school from age 5 to 26.

"Is the diploma what they need to do the job?" Stone asks. "If what the employer is looking for is someone who finished school, who did not drop out, these young people have gone to school for more years than their peers."

Stone says that there were examples at the conference of ways those with disabilities can be an asset to the companies they work for if time and effort is taken to match employees with jobs they have the skills to accomplish. For example, the major retailer Meijer had a distribution center in Lansing where annual turnover was 200 percent. "It was killing them," Stone says.

The company found that when it put those with disabilities in the job they came to work consistently and stuck with the job, Stone says. "It improved the profit of the company once they found employees who were willing to do the job."

Another success story came from Fifth-Third Bank, which found those with disabilities who helped with a data transfer project that was too boring for most employees without disabilities. One of them was able to recognize an error that could have been quite costly to the bank, but which most people would not have noticed.

"What makes them unique and different, if they find the right job, can make them a stellar employee," Stone says.

Michigan is working to implement more inclusive employment policies at the state level and is ready to encourage businesses statewide to do the same with the hidden talent tour, the Lt. Governor says.

"Hiring Michiganders with disabilities would change the dynamic for many companies across our state," Calley says. "There are more than 500,000 working-age adults whose talent could move a company to the next level--but they need to be given a chance first."

For more information on The Arc Community Advocates, visit their website or call 269-342-9801.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Ellen Stone, The Arc Community Advocates 

Washington Square Artistan's Market opens in time for Art Hop

Established organizations and new businesses in Edison are all welcoming the latest addition to the neighborhood, the Washington Square Artisan Market. Seven businesses and organization are collaborating on the spring hop that has everything from belly dancers and Middle Eastern dance to a poetry open mic.

The May 1 Art Hop will feature the grand opening of the Washington Square Artisan Market, operated by the People's Food Co-op, a place for local artisans to sell their wares.

This Art Hop also will offer a chance for art hoppers to move progressively from one spot to the next to take in all kinds of artistic endeavors. First there will be dancing and the Lost Frames Photography at Belly Dance Kalamazoo (at 6:15 and 6:35 p.m.). Rootead Drum and Dancing (at 7:15 p.m.) plus Fran Dwight Photography will be the next stop at the Washington Square Artisan Market, 1315 Portage. There will be live music at Tremolo. There will be art by T. Kifer (from 5-8 p.m.) and a poetry open mic at FIRE (at 8 p.m.).

At Jersey Subs you can see artwork by the Boys and Girls Club. The film Inside the Civic will premiere at Community Promise Federal Credit Union, and Sister Chimes will be at the Washington Square branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library.

The upcoming Art Hop shares the diversity of the Edison Neighborhood, says Kelly Clark of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, which has been instrumental is working to bring innovative business models to the business district on Portage Street.

Washington Square Artisan Market will feature the work of those creating items for sale in their own homes. The storefront at 1315 Portage offers a chance for smaller vendors to collaborate with one another in a setting that on their own they could not afford. Edison neighborhood vendors will have goods for sale in the market, and it is open to those across the community as well.

The market will be open two days a week initially and increase that as demand grows.

Clarke said the idea for the Artisan Market is to build on the success of the nearby Farmers Market at Bank Street. If the new market proves successful it could be part of a market district, Clarke says.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Kelly Clarke, Kalamazoo County Land Bank

 

NAI Wisinski announces new hires in Kalamazoo

Commercial real-estate firm NAI Wisinkski of West Michigan has expanded it presence in Kalamazoo with its office at 1803 Whites Road and has announced its staff.

Staffers are Bailey Aivars, Administrative and Marketing Assistant; Teresa Campbell, Kalamazoo Office Administration; Dane Davis, Associate Broker; Kara Schroer, Realtor Associate; and Marc Tourangeau, Associate Broker.

NAIWWM is affiliated with a global network of real estate providers, however, the company remains owned and operated in West Michigan. It has local offices in Grand Rapids, where it is based, and in Kalamazoo. It is part of a network of over 6,700 commercial real estate professionals and 375 offices in over 55 countries, that together manage more than 380 million square feet of property.

NAIWWM offers extensive services including corporate real estate services, brokerage and leasing, property and facilities management, real estate investment and capital market services, due diligence, and related advisory services.

NAI Wisinkski of West Michigan

AVB hires project manager and marketing intern

A new residential project manager and a marketing intern have been hired by AVB, a commercial, residential and property development company serving Southwest Michigan.

AVB has hired Jeremiah Boerman as a residential project manager and Emily Rininger as a marketing intern.

Boerman served as a Corporal and Squad Leader in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for six years and obtained his Associates Degree in Business from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 2002. Boerman went on to become a project manager, estimator and owner for Platinum Construction. He has experience in sales, pricing and project management.  

He will manage residential home construction for AVB clients, overseeing trade contractors while maintaining schedules, budgets and productivity.

Rininger is a junior at Western Michigan University. She plans to graduate with a Marketing major, and an English and General Business double minor in June of 2016. She will be actively involved in AVB’s social media, marketing, and brand management.

AVB has been building in Southwest Michigan since 1981. Its is made up of a commercial division focused on management in the healthcare, education, office and retail markets; a custom residential building division that specializes in single-family homes, condominiums and neighborhoods and a development group that focuses on property development for commercial, residential, and mixed uses.

Source: AVB Inc.

New child psychiatrist joins Delano staff in Kalamazoo

Robert Dempsey, DO, has joined DeLano Outpatient Clinic. He is its newest child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Dempsey comes to Borgess from Van Buren County Mental Health in Paw Paw, where he provided children and adolescents with psychiatric care.

He began his career as a pediatrician in hospitals and clinics in Michigan. He trained and was an attending physician at Cook County Hospital in Chicago before coming to Michigan.

Dempsey is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association. He is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He is board certified with the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and has a Michigan Controlled Substance license. He worked in community mental health organizations for the past three years.

Dempsey earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Mo., and completed a general psychiatry residency at the former Michigan State University/Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, now named the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. He also completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University.

For information on the DeLano Clinic or to schedule an appointment, please call (269) 321.7090.

Source: Borgess 

Battle Creek Unlimited hires Marie Briganti as new president and CEO

Following a community survey, an intensive nationwide search and a rigorous interview process, the Battle Creek Unlimited Board of Directors has selected Marie Briganti as its new President and CEO.

Briganti will be on the job May 1. She comes to the post with 14 years experience in the business world. Her resume includes serving as the International Business Development Manager with the Pure Michigan Economic Development Corporation, manager of the Michigan territory for a high-tech global marketing firm, and four years in risk assessment and account consulting for Dun & Bradstreet.

A native of Fowler, Mich., Briganti received her BA from Eastern Michigan University in Language & International Trade. She received her certification as an Economic Development Finance professional through the National Development Council.

She worked and studied overseas for two years and has traveled extensively. She brings strong Japanese language skills and multicultural competencies to the role.

Within the next two-four weeks, BCU will evaluate governance, board size, and other aspects of its operations.

Briganti says, "I was impressed with everyone involved in the process. I am excited to have the opportunity to work closely with BCU's staff and the community leaders to make our evolving vision a reality.”

Battle Creek Unlimited is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development agency for the City of Battle Creek.

Source: Beth Brutsche, Battle Creek Unlimited

Grow-It-Yourself-Day returns to People's Food Co-op

What is important to the People's Food Co-op is access to food, especially healthy food and eating. So a day dedicated to education, participation and celebration of local food makes sense. That's why they've been doing it for seven years.

The 2015 Grow-It-Yourself-Day returns to the People's Food Co-op from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

The day includes live music, free workshops, plant starts for sale, and a chance to get your hands dirty in the garden next to the Food Co-op,  507 Harrison St.

The event is the kick-off to the market season--the Banks Street Market opens every Saturday beginning May 2 and the 100 Mile Market that takes place on the Food Co-op property starting May 6, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.

This year more community partners are participating in the day, says Chris Moore, of People's Food Co-op.

Community Homeworks and Read and Write Kalamazoo both are providing activities during the day. And Kalamazoo Wild Ones, the Michigan State Extension office and Trybal Revival will be back this year.
Crepes by the Lakes will be creating food throughout the day.

Celebration goers will be able to purchase plant starters such as herbs and vegetables, including kale and greens. Organic and heirloom seeds, as well as locally grown organic plant starts will be sold.

As a part of Owner Appreciation Days, Co-op Owners will get 10 percent off their plant purchases.

There will be live music provided from 10 a.m till noon by Pnuckhead. Read and Write Kalamazoo offers a children's writing activity from 11 a.m till 1 p.m. that culminates with a poetry reading by the participants.

Community Homeworks will provide information on container gardening in a workshop called "Garden Anywhere." Participants who register in advance will be able to create a garden they can take home with them that day. Trybal Revival and MSU extension also will help with the workshop, scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

There is no charge to participate in Grow-It-Yourself Day.

Source: Chris Moore, People's Food Co-op
 
 

Glen Oaks to host St. Joe county's largest job fair

Looking for a job?

What is typically the largest job fair in St. Joseph County takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Glen Oaks Community College, Thursday, April 23.

More than 35 employers have registered for the event and all of them have current openings or anticipate openings soon. A list of participating employers can be found at this website.

"Employers may be planning on filling one position or multiple positions which may be full-time or part-time, and they could be permanent, temporary and/or seasonal,” says Val Juergens, executive director of communications and marketing for Glen Oaks Community College.

For those who want to brush up on their interviewing skills, there will be a pre-job fair workshop from 10 a.m. till noon Monday, April 20, in the Dresser Business Development Auditorium on the Glen Oaks Campus. Participants will receive tips for navigating the job fair and advice on developing a sales pitch. Each attendee will receive a $25 voucher for interview clothing that can be used at Goodwill, Salvation Army or Building Hope Store.

"This is a great opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers,” says Juergens. "The free event is held each spring and affords employers the opportunity to meet qualified, talented and diverse applicants.”

The 2015 Job Fair is made possible through a partnership between Michigan Works!, the St. Joseph County Department of Human Services and Glen Oaks Community College. It will take place in the gymnasium at Glen Oaks Community College, 62249 Shimmel Rd., in Centreville. It is free and open to the public.
 
Source:
Valorie Juergens, Glen Oaks Community College 

Glen Oaks to host St. Joe county's largest job fair

Looking for a job?

What is typically the largest job fair in St. Joseph County takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Glen Oaks Community College, Thursday, April 23.

More than 35 employers have registered for the event and all of them have current openings or anticipate openings soon. A list of participating employers can be found at this website.

"Employers may be planning on filling one position or multiple positions which may be full-time or part-time, and they could be permanent, temporary and/or seasonal," says Val Juergens, executive director of communications and marketing for Glen Oaks Community College.

For those who want to brush up on their interviewing skills, there will be a pre-job fair workshop from 10 a.m. till noon Monday, April 20, in the Dresser Business Development Auditorium on the Glen Oaks Campus. Participants will receive tips for navigating the job fair and advice on developing a sales pitch. Each attendee will receive a $25 voucher for interview clothing that can be used at Goodwill, Salvation Army or Building Hope Store.

"This is a great opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers," says Juergens. "The free event is held each spring and affords employers the opportunity to meet qualified, talented and diverse applicants."

The 2015 Job Fair is made possible through a partnership between Michigan Works!, the St. Joseph County Department of Human Services and Glen Oaks Community College. It will take place in the gymnasium at Glen Oaks Community College, 62249 Shimmel Rd., in Centreville. It is free and open to the public.

Source: Val ?Val Juergens, Glen Oaks Community College 

Lakeland appoints senior leadership

Two new senior leadership team members have joined Lakeland Health.

“We recognize a clear opportunity to align all of leadership with the transformational tasks that lay ahead,” says Loren B. Hamel, MD, President and CEO, Lakeland Health.

Those include achieving "exemplary" outcomes, services and value, Hamel says.

To help Lakeland meet these goals, Kenneth O’Neill, MD, has been named Vice President of Clinical Integration for Lakeland. In this newly-created role, Dr. O’Neill will be responsible for ensuring that patients and community members receive consistent, coordinated care not only throughout the Lakeland system, but also with other healthcare providers in other settings.

An Ohio native, Dr. O’Neill earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University and completed his medical studies at the University of Cincinnati Medical School and a residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Dr. O’Neill treated patients as an internal medicine provider at Southwestern Medical Clinic’s Stevensville office, and served in an administrator as the Medical Director for Lakeland Medical Practices and as Medical Director for the Lakeland Care Physician Hospital Organization (PHO).  He has also been a longtime member of Lakeland’s Board of Directors and chair of the Lakeland Care Board of Directors.

Kendall Troyer has been appointed Vice President of Diagnostic and Outpatient Services for Lakeland. He will assume many of the responsibilities now handled by Laurie Fleming, RN, who will retire after more than 40 years of service at Lakeland. Troyer will oversee all of Lakeland’s outpatient services in southwest Michigan, including post-acute care, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, and the Heart Center.

Since starting his career in Lakeland’s laboratory nearly 20 years ago, Troyer has served the organization in a number of positions, including as Director of Outpatient Services at the Lakeland Health Park and as Project Director ofLakeland’s electronic health record system.

Most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Lakeland Medical Practices, Troyer oversaw daily operations and guided the strategic direction for 34 physician office locations throughout southwest Michigan. Troyer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from Michigan State University.

Source: Lakeland Health

Kalamazoo College president announces retirement plans

Kalamazoo College’s strategic plan is in place, its fund raising campaign is closing in on its goal and President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran says she’s had her Medicare card for several years.

That’s why now is the time to announce her retirement coming in June 301, 2016, she says. 

Enrollment has grown to nearly 1,500 students, the goal for 2017, according to the strategic plan she has helped move forward. She says the overhaul of the college’s signature curriculum, the K-Plan, has been updated so that it now serves students for the 21st century. 

“The next person builds on a wonderful platform and the only way to go is up,” Wilson-Oyelaran says. Her remarks came in a press conference called to announce her plans to retire.

She has led the most successful fund-raising campaign in the college’s history--the Campaign for Kalamazoo College. The drive is in its final stages, having raised $123 million of its $125 million goal. The school has raised $19 million that will be earmarked for scholarships.

Spaces on campus that have been renovated or erected during President Wilson-Oyelaran’s tenure include the Hicks Center, the athletic fields and field house, and the highly regarded architecture that houses the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Construction of a new fitness and wellness center will begin at the end of summer, and preliminary design of a new natatorium is complete.

But as important as the physical improvements to the campus, are the changes that have come about in the classroom. The school has revised graduation requirements, implemented a Shared Passages Seminar Series, which helps students reflect upon and integrate their academic opportunities and their experiences, and added three new academic majors--business, critical ethnic studies, and women and gender studies.

The college also is more diverse than when she arrived 10 years ago--26 percent of K students identify as U.S. students of color and international students (those seeking degrees and those visiting) are nearly 10 percent of the student body. 

Her successes come at a time when liberal arts colleges are struggling to convince students and their parents of their relevancy in today’s world. Which makes her accomplishments that much more impressive. 

She began her duties in July of 2005, having been unanimously elected to the post. She is the first woman and first African-American to serve as president of the 182-year-old institution. Prior to the presidency of K she served as vice president and dean of the college of Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

She says she and her husband, Olasope (Sope) Oyelaran, plan to return to North Carolina to escape the brutal Michigan winters, but she plans to return to Kalamazoo when she can. “I don’t want to miss a Gilmore” Keyboard Festival, she says. 

The search for a new president of Kalamazoo College begins immediately. Chair of the Board of Trustees Charlotte Hall says the search committee would include trustees, alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

Hall says Wilson-Oyelaran leaves the college in a very strong position, thanks to her "vision, passion, and humanity." Wilson-Oyelaran is a "really brilliant strategic thinker," who at the same time is viewed with admiration and affection by the faculty, staff, and students.

"She can do it all," Hall says.

Source: Kalamazoo College Press conference and Jeff Palmer, Kalamazoo College

Celebration of Spring blooms at Inn at Harbor Shores

The new season is coming to St. Joseph in a big way with the kickoff of the first Spring Into Michigan celebration that highlights speakers, chefs, adventurers, authors and artists.

The six-week celebration of culinary offerings that are not just local, but mircro-regional, described as cuisine from the immediate environment.

Like what? Think locally spring-fed "land raised" Coho salmon. Think organically grown and local farm cuts of meat and meat cured in house. Wild morel mushrooms and Michigan’s spring asparagus. (The usual offerings at Plank's also will be available.)

The celebration will be a chance to explore the tastes of lakeshore boutique wineries, micro craft-breweries and micro spirits-distillers, who are making rye whiskies, vodkas from grapes, and even bacon cured rums.

Following an inaugural kick-off reception at The Inn at Harbor Shores on April 17 at 4 p.m., each week boasts programs and events open to the public and welcoming all ages, including:

• April 17: Spring into Michigan Kick off and Open House.

• Ongoing--Spring into Michigan menu in Plank’s.

• Ongoing--Art exhibit entitled Spawned by the Great Lakes; etchings from the watersheds of Michigan by Ladislav Hanka and sculptures by Jana Hanka.

• April 23--Wine and Swine Dinner featuring local farmers organically fed livestock from Benton Harbor’s 1936 Meadowbrook Farm.

• April 24--Creations with House Paint; A day of painting with Michigan Artist, Kristin Hosbein

• April 2--Made in the Mitten: Savoring Michigan’s Rich Foodie and Agricultural History. Hosted by Promote Michigan’s Dianna Stampfler, Made in MI food samples provided.

• April 29--Nature Bird Walk with Sarett Nature Center.

• April 30--Small Plates and Local Micro Distillery Spirit Tasting.

• May 1--Gesture Drawings; Sit for a Sketch with local Michigan Artist, Kristin Hosbein.

• May 2--Fly Fishing Great Lakes Salmon and Trout symposium by Angler, Author, and Outdoorsman, Matt Supinski.

• May 7--Morel Mushroom Risotto Demo- Chef Will Jachim, Plank’s.

• May 8--Department of Natural Resources Michigan and Indiana Kicks off the St. Joseph Summer Challenge Fishing Tournament.

• May 9--Jean Klock Park Beach Wellness Workouts benefitting overall wellness and your golf swing, by former triathlete and Beyond Fitness Founder, Vikki Armstrong.

• May 11--May 15: Michigan Craft Week--Featuring daily craft beer and micro-distillery specials from Michigan.

• May 15--The Inn at Harbor Shores Celebrates its 1 year birthday with harbor fireworks and live music.

• May 15--Art exhibit closing celebration titled Spawned by the Great Lakes; etchings from the watersheds of Michigan by Ladislav Hanka and sculptures by Jana Hanka.

• May 21--Host like a Chef: Charcuterie demonstration by Mike DeSchaaf 1936 Meadowbrook Farm.

For more details on the events, please click here.

Source: Brianne Schmidke, Inn at Harbor Shores

Responsible Business Award goes to Radisson

From the Department of Things We Were Surprised to Learn: Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites has been ranked the No. 1 contributor to Clean the World, a nonprofit organization that recycles discarded soap and shampoo from hospitality companies and distributes it to impoverished people around the world.

In 2014, the Radisson Plaza Hotel donated 618 pounds of used soaps and shampoos, distributed 2,358 bars of soap, recycled over 133 pounds of plastic, and provided over 352 plastic bottles to countries in need.

It also participates in multiple philanthropic efforts, such as the backpack program for its associates, a mentoring program with KRESA students, and volunteering with Ministry with Community and Kalamazoo Habitat for Humanity.

Those are some of the reasons Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites, of the Greenleaf Hospitality Group, has received a Responsible Business Award.

In addition to an award, the Radisson Plaza Hotel was presented with a $5,000 check from the Worldwide Carlson Foundation to be donated to the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Don Jones, Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity executive director. says the gift will help Habitat provide more housing solutions in the community.

"It's an honor to be recognized by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group as the 2014 Responsible Business Award winner," says Tim Rayman, general manager at Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites. "This award showcases our company's efforts to make a lasting impact on our team members that work for Greenleaf Hospitality Group, our local community, and the larger effort around the world."

Source: Sarah Lee, Greenleaf Hospitality

UFCU celebrates opening of Niles office

United Federal Credit Union continues to grow. It most recently celebrated the opening of its second corporate office building in Niles.

The credit union cut the ribbon on the Niles office on March 24 and had a celebration at the new flagship branch in St. Joseph on March. 25.

UFCU opened new branches in Nevada and Arkansas in recent weeks and branches in  Arkansas and one in North Carolina will open in coming months.

President and CEO Gary Easterling says he is proud of the new facilities, though it is the effect the credit union has made on members’ lives that he finds most gratifying. Over the past three years, in Berrien County UFCU has helped place nembers in 485 new homes, helped them purchase approximately 7,800 new cars, and provided financing for 136 businesses.

"We have enhanced members lives in all of the six states where we are located,” Easterling says. “Although we have grown tremendously in recent years, we have never forgotten that our real purpose is to serve our members wherever they are and help them prosper.”

UFCU is headquartered in St. Joseph, Michigan. It has more than 130,000 members worldwide, and manages assets in excess of $1.83 billion. It was formed through the merger in 2006 of credit unions started by employees of Whirlpool Corporation in St. Joseph and Clark Equipment Company in Buchanan. Since the merger, UFCU’s assets have doubled and membership has grown by 81 percent it is now  the 100th largest federally- insured credit union in the nation based on assets.

Source: ?United Federal Credit Union 

Tibbs 'nano-brewery' ready to triple in size in Kalamazoo

Tibbs Brewing Co. is about to triple in size. The little brewery at the corner of Lovell and Burdick will soon expand by taking over space formerly used by the bar, Kegger's.

Tibbs will be able to consolidate its entire brewing operation in the bar and kitchen formerly used by Kegger's, directly below the Kalamazoo State Theatre. The brewery has been making all its beer upstairs.

Since the space is already built for bar operation, it is a natural fit for the expansion needs of Tibbs. Tibbs says it plans to begin using the kitchen area within the next month.

By expanding into the lower lever, Tibbs will be able to brew more times each week. It also could allow him to move from a two-barrel system to a four-barrel system, moving from 62 gallons to 124 gallons within the next year.

The move also frees up more space to accommodate patrons, now up to 120 people.

Kevin Tibbs, owner of Tibbs Brewing Co., says the expansion was something the company envisioned when it first leased the space from the Hinman Co. The idea was to start out small, prove the business could make a go of it, and then expand.

"We've had our eye on the downstairs since we first looked at our current space early in 2013," says Tibbs. "The ability to expand onsite was very appealing to us and one of the deciding factors in choosing this location. It allowed us to open up small upstairs and use the current space as a ‘proof of product.'"

Tibbs Brewing Company is located in the State Theatre Shoppes at 402 S. Burdick Street. The shops are owned by Roger Hinman and managed by the Hinman Co.

Tibbs is now open seven days a week: Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m.-12 p.m., Friday: 4 p.m.- 1 a.m., Saturday: 2 p.m.-1 a.m., and Sunday: 2 p.m.–10 p.m. 

Source: The Hinman Co.
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