Tag Archives: Grand Haven

West Michigan & The Hardware Store – Take a Walk Down the Aisle

Hardware StoreMaybe you only visit your small local one, or perhaps you prefer the big box one, whichever type of hardware store you choose you’d be able to find an interesting array of West Michigan made products. With West Michigan’s manufacturing footprint, it is only logical that there are many local businesses that are filling the shelves at hardware stores. So lets take a nice virtual trip through a hardware store and see what we can find.

Usually the most brightly lit part of the store is the paint section. Although this company isn’t actually selling consumers anything, they have quite the presence at the paint counter. X-Rite is a company that produces color measurement equipment and software. They manufacture paint matching equipment called spectrophotometers (spectro), allowing hardware stores and paint stores to match the color of anything a consumer brings in, giving you a can of paint in the exact same color of your sample. So next time you are at a paint counter take a look around and see if you can spot the spectro.

Now, the one thing that you always need MITmore of and never have enough of are tools. Hardware stores are the perfect spot to add to your collection or get that one tool you just need to finish your project. Luckily Michigan Industrial Tools based in Grand Rapids produces over 2,000 different types of tools under 3 sub brands  – Tekton, Maxcraft, and Workshop. I will also have to say that I am quite the fan of their logo with how they still worked in an “I” and a “T” in the “M”, very subtle but well done.

Another company with a lot of sub-brands is National Nail Corporation in Wyoming. Although they do offer numerous nails, the company is really staking themselves on the following two sub-brands – CAMO Fasteners and Stinger Cap Systems. The CAMO Fasteners system is a way to screw down lumber decking without having the screws showing, a hidden screw system (the video showcases it quite nicely.) Stinger Caps is a new way of attaching insulation wrap on new construction which seems a lot easier than a nail hammer.

Since we just got done talking about decks and hidden fastening systems, we might as well go to the lumber yard. Universal Forest Products based in Grand Rapids, produces lumber for decking, and almost every other use, in additUniversal-Forest-Products-Inc.ion to a wide range of other wood based products. If you have any more questions you might as well spend some time playing around in their little city program here.

hexarmor-logoPerhaps these two should go hand in hand. We have Grand Rapids based Hexarmor who produces gloves, armbands, and other apparel for personal protection against cuts, punctures, and other injuries. Their technology is a competitor of Kevlar and they have been getting into similar industries, and their focus is on protecting people. Klever Innovations located in Grand Haven developed a new type of box cutter called the Klever Cutter. This box cutter was created in response to 9/11 because the traditional box cutter being used as a weapon. The group that founded Klever Cutter set up to create a product that would open boxes, but would not cut the anyone, or damage the goods inside the box. So with the Klever Cutter you wouldn’t need a pair of Hexarmor gloves now would you?

Shuffling over to the home improvement area, we have some redundancy with the following two products Quick Door Hanger and EZ-Hang, (though if I had been “klever” I would have worked both of these companies into my last post). Both these products allow for quick, easy and plumb door installations. Quick Door Hanger is produced by Express Products located in Grandville. The EZ-Hang door is based in Hesperia. Express Products also produces the Fix-A-Kink product that helps fixed kinked hoses. It seems that they have found quite the niche with home improvement products for consumers.

Alright logograbber75we made it through the store, now its time to checkout. But even the checkout aisle has a few impulse items for us to look at. Especially in the fall and winter season you will be seeing many displays for hand warmers like Grabber (not at all fond of the name) based in Grand Rapids. There is an extensive write up in Rapid Growth about how they are more than just hand warmers and how the company got started.

Lastly, who couldn’t use a pair of new shades, that is where Global Vision of Byron Center comes in. They are a wholesaler of sunglasses, safety glasses, and goggles which are perfect for the hardware store. Interesting side note, apparently both Global Vision and Grabbers have the same marketing person – Matt Pickel. Someone needs to update their website.

We finally got out of the store, except now we have a cart full of stuff that we didn’t come in here to buy. Oh well that is how it usually works anyways.  So what did I miss? Do we need to go to the home and garden section next?

Etsy in West Michigan in ShoreWest / Urban Street

West Michigan has a pretty active Etsy community, one of the cool things about Etsy is that you can search for vendors by location.  Which makes Etsy a great way to support local crafters and artisans this holiday season.  Read more about West Michigan Etsy in my latest article in ShoreWest /Urban Street

Handcrafted in West Michigan Dec10-Jan11 Urban Street

S Nightclub & Bosgraaf Family – Trust Me, It All Makes Sense

In early July 2010, Holland’s “premier” nightclub S Nightclub and Sol Lounge closed down (by the way the mlive article gives a much better picture than the Holland Sentinel article).  Bummer right?  So reading the articles about the closure I started noticing some interesting aspects, which I want to explore more, so here comes the shovel because I am about to dig.  Ready?

S Nighclub & Sol Lounge opened in October 2008 was created and owned by Brett Flipse, left, and Brett Flipse Jr. (lovely image available courtesy of the Holland Sentinel).  Brett Flipse is also the former owner of the Ottawa Beach General Store.  He owned the general store for 12 years until the bank foreclosed upon the property in 2009.  I am going to go out on a limb and venture to say that perhaps the reason the Flipse lost the General Store (read about the controversy here & here & here) was because of his $2.4 million investment into the S Nightclub.  What a horrible position to be in leveraging one business to fund a new business and then being left with neither a mere two years later is quite a shame.  I won’t go into speculation on the validity of having a nightclub in Holland, especially in a less than ideal location of Lakewood Avenue (along Lake Macatawa or downtown might have helped out the business more) but I do wonder about the due diligence of this project.

Anyways Flipse gave up ownership of the nightclub back in late 2009 because of financial difficulties, and ended up giving the nightclub to the owner of the building who is Scott Bosgraaf.  According to the former general manager of the nightclub “Scott never wanted to operate the nightclub. He wanted to be a landlord. Instead of closing down, he wanted to continue operating to make sure the liquor license would stay, all the operational  audio-visual equipment would stay …now he can sell it as a nightclub.” According to the Mlive article, they seem pretty confident that someone will buy the nightclub and keep it running. Bosgraaf’s approach makes sense, pool everything together and sell it as a package, and by getting out of the day to day management of the club, he is sticking with what he know and what he does well.  Researching more into Scott Bosgraaf, it seems like he does a lot of things well.

Scott Bosgraaf has the following “projects” and business under his control:

Impressive no?  Well Scott is only one of 4 siblings who were born to Ted & Pat Bosgraaf, and if you start pulling back the peel on the Bosgraaf name, you will find a whole family of business owners.  Luckily a lot of light is shed upon this subject by visiting the Bosgraaf Homes website, where Amy (Bosgraaf) Alderink wrote up a family history  which goes a little something like this.  It all started with Ted and Jack Bosgraaf, who were brothers.  Ted was married to Pat, and they had four children – Mike, Brian, Scott, and Amy.  Ted and Jack were originally sod farmers who got their way into creating communities, such as Shady Pines in Allegan County, by converting their existing sod farms.  They built upon their experience to create Summergreen in Hudsonville, Spring Lane development in Holland, and in Grand Haven they created Sandpiper and redeveloped the Story and Clark Piano Factory, all under the Bosgraaf Sales and Leasing.  Eventually the brothers split and Ted started Bosgraaf Homes with his son Brian.  Soon the whole family was working in some capacity in Bosgraaf Homes.  Right now Bosgraaf homes is owned by Amy and Mike who bought out their father Ted for the business.  Alright so now we have some more Bosgraaf names we need to sort out.

Amy (Bosgraaf) Alderink has her hands in the following:

Then there is Mike Bosgraaf who along with Amy is a co-owner of Bosgraaf Homes.  Mike is married now divorced to Veronica, who is the entrepreneur behind Pure Bars (blog, twitter, facebook) company by creating vegan health bars for her vegetarian daughter.  More stories about her venture here & here.

Lastly, that leaves us with Brian Bosgraaf who owns Cottage Home (facebook & twitter), a custom home builder focused on building million dollar homes on Lake Michigan (feel free to drool over here), and additionally he also owns DwellTech (facebook & twitter), which is an home & commercial energy auditing company based in Holland.  He also worked for ICCF in the past as well.

Yes the Bosgraaf family has many layers as you can see here, maybe one of these days I will tackle the other famous Lakeshore families such as the DeVos or the Princes.  But you guys have probably have heard enough about them.

So are you guys going to miss S Nightclub?  Anyone ever been – thoughts?  Any more Bosgraaf businesses that I missed?

Welcome Urban Street Readers & Everyone Else

I just wanted to extent a welcome to any Urban Street Magazine readers who stumbled their way onto my blog. As an introduction, I blog about West Michigan business news that I find interesting, odd, or cool, check out my About page for more details. To those who haven’t stumbled on my blog through Urban Street, please go pick one up along the Lakeshore (any of the downtown stores in either Holland, Saugatuck, Douglas, or Grand Haven would be a good bet – email me if you can’t find one or if you are not from the area).

The reason why I am telling you to grab a free Urban Street Magazine is because I wrote an article in the latest issue on Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven. It was an opportunity that afforded itself to me through this blog, so it was quite cool knowing that my blog lead to getting an article published. Here is a PDF of my article in Urban Street.

So thanks for stopping by and reading, and let me know your thoughts on the article.

NeoCon 2010 and the Other West Michigan Companies

Hard to believe but yes, there are plenty of West Michigan companies besides Steelcase, Herman Miller, and Haworth who will be participating in this year’s NeoCon show on June 14 through the 16th in Chicago.  It always surprises me how one tradeshow in Chicago, year in and year out gets the local West Michigan media into a frenzy about office furniture.  I guess it makes sense.  According to my informal research through LinkedIn Companies Function – Haworth, Herman Miller, and Steelcase all  have over 500+ employees in West Michigan, so 1,500+ total, plus their families, retirees, and the number of people interested in these companies, the list goes on and on.

But I am here to shed some light on the other players in the furniture industry here in West Michigan, that are participating in NeoCon, and I was quite shocked by the size of the list.  Here we go:

  • 2/90 Sign Systems – Grand Rapids – Sign design, wayfinding, manufacturing of both interior and exterior signs and sign systems, project management, installation and post-installation maintenance
  • American Seating – Grand Rapids – Seating from auditorium to stadium to office to education and transportation
  • BIFMA International – Grand Rapids – A not-for-profit organization that leads, advocates, informs and develops standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry
  • Compatico – Grand Rapids – Manufactures and supplies new office furniture systems and parts
  • Configura – Grand Rapids – HQ in Sweeden, with their US location in Grand Rapids, provides software solutions Commercial furniture
  • Flexible Montisa – Plainwell – Features file, storage, and furniture product offerings to facilitate innovative solutions for corporate, educational, and medical institutions.
  • FreshFolios – Byron Center – Pre-designed portfolio websites for photographers, interior designers, architects, artists and all members of the creative community who rely on a well sorted portfolio to display their work
  • Gibraltar – Zeeland – Metal manufacturing company serving the office, institutional, and hospitality furniture industries
  • Gill Industries – Grand Rapids – A full service supplier of engineered, mechanical assemblies to a wide variety of markets such as automotive, furniture and multi-use vehicle markets
  • Grand Rapids Chair Company – Grand Rapids – Besides chairs, they also provide tables for commercial environments
  • Great Openings – Ludington -Provider of quality metal filing and storage products to the office furniture industry
  • Gross Stabil Corp -Coldwater – Manufacturer of casters, bases, and gas cylinders for office chairs
  • GT Industries – Byron Center – Foam products, lots and lots of foam based products
  • Guilford of Maine – Grand Rapids – Surprisingly they are headquartered in Grand Rapids, they are a textile provider
  • Izzy+ – Spring Lake – Officer furniture provider for a variety of industries
  • Knu Healthcare – Zeeland – Manufacturer of healthcare furniture, and part of Industrial Woodworking Corporation
  • Leland International – Grand Rapids – Contemporary seating and tables manufacturer whose products are built to order and provide project designers the opportunity to customize features such as color, finish, trim, size and cut out design
  • Light Corporation – Grand Haven – Design and manufacture fluorescent task lights and ambient light fixtures for office furniture industry and high bay fluorescent fixtures for industry, gymnasiums and retail.
  • Nucraft – Comstock Park – Design and manufacture furnishings for conference rooms, lobby and reception areas, private offices, and training areas
  • Pulse Design – Grand Rapids – Manufacturer of a desktop connection system with touch-control electronics to hide or reveal the unit on a desk
  • Sparkeology – Holland – New line of office furniture developed by Worden in collaboration with Via Design and Square One Design.   The products target locations are  public buildings’ lobbies and lounges, even libraries because of their flexibility and mobility, and being able to be used in multiple functions and configurations.  Plus based on their twitter feed looks like they are going to give away a lot of loot bags.  Wonder what is inside- anyone want to get me one?
  • Stryker – Kalamazoo – This was an odd one but looks like they are providing some furniture solutions for the healthcare industry
  • Symbiote, Inc.- Zeeland – Manufactures laboratory and technical furniture systems emphasizing custom product solutions, looks like they feature ergonomic solutions
  • Trendway – Holland – Not officially at NeoCon but they will have something going on in their showroom at the merch. mart.  Office furniture manufacture famous for their On Time guarantee.
  • VanerumStelter – Grand Rapids – Provider of products and services for their interior environments.  Chairs, desks, tables, workstations for all levels of education and for office environments.
  • Workstuff – Grand Rapids – Provider of adjustable keyboard systems and ergonomic workplace solutions.

So what do you think?  I am really surprised by the number of companies from Zeeland representing.  Anyways this just goes to show that there are plenty others in West Michigan besides the Big 3 who are part of the office furniture business (even though some of these companies are not directly related to the industry).

Additionally, here is a short list of other players in the furniture industry who are not attending NeoCon.  Do you have any more companies to add to the list?

  • Avian Boards – Grand Rapids – Manufacturer of lightweight board to be used for a variety of applications
  • Charter House Innovations – Holland – A seating and decor company with a wide range of solutions for a variety of industries.  Big focus on sustainability.
  • OMT Vehyl – Holland – The result of a merger of two German companies to provide products for the office furniture industry
  • RT London – Grand Rapids – Has a emphasis on furniture for the education segment with learning and dorm room solutions
  • Worden – Holland – Maker of furniture for the educational and library markets, also behind Sparkeology.