Tag Archives: pets

Business Schism in West Michigan

I was once told by a business adviser that when entering in business with a partner, you better know everything about your partner, because you will be “sleeping with your partner”.  Rereading this statement, I think he stated it much more clearly and concisely, but the point is things are about to get really intimate with you and your partner, so you better know them inside and out, have a similar vision, and be able to work together well.

Inevitably lots of times these business partnerships do not always work out for one reason or another.  But wouldn’t you love to know why?  What happened? What are the grievances?  Well I have compiled a short list of businesses in West Michigan which were started by two partners (in most cases or families) and now they have split up and each partner is doing their own thing, most often in the exact same line of business as the one they worked with their partner in.  Awkward!

Case 1:  New Holland Brewing Company & Brewery Vivant

New Holland Brewing Company was started by two friends (grew up together in Midland, and both attended Hope College) Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding in 1996.  Spaulding sold his shares in NewHolland in 2008. The only reason I could find on why he sold his shares was to “focus on economic development work with Lakeshore Advantage.”, where he worked as Vice President of Business Services. After his stint at Lakeshore Advantage, Spaulding attended a brewing school in Munich, Germany and after that we worked as a bar manager at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. Now just  two years later, Brewery Vivant, a Spaulding creation at 925 Cherry Street SE Grand Rapids, MI has a scheduled opening of December 2010.  Could it be a non-compete agreement has expired?  Luckily to avoid some of the awkwardness, the breweries are located in different cities.  And what is up with Rooster logo – I like roosters (here & here) as much as the next guy but roosters are like this year’s “it” corporate animal.  I would what will be next – perhaps the stately Goat.

Case 2: Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon and Salt & Pepper Savory Grill & Pub

In 1997, Mark Herman and Mike Karas became co-owners of Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon in Holland, MI.  After 12 years of ownership Karas sold his share in the restaurant to Herman, in 2009.  Then in summer of 2010 Karas opened up Salt & Pepper Savory Grill & Pub at 11539 E. Lakewood Blvd in Holland.  Of course Karas declined to provide any details on why he sold his ownership in Crazy Horse, and he had the following quote from the mlive article on his new restaurant “I think he wishes me well.  I wish him well” regarding Herman.  It is not hard to read between the lines and assume that there might be some bad blood there, either that or someone is taking the high road.  Not surprisingly Karas got right back into restaurant business by opening up his new place just about a mile away on the same street as Crazy Horse.

Case 3: Holland Transplanter & Mechanical Transplanter

Yes this is the second time I have mentioned these companies in my blog, and yes I am just as surprised as you are.  Both these companies produce transplanting equipment for the agriculture industry are both are located in Holland.  Holland Transplanter was founded in 1927 and Mechanical was founded in 1953.  From what I gathered, the current owner, and descendant of one of the founders of Holland Transplanter, has a brother-in-law who runs Mechanical Transplanter.  Those family get togethers must be quite interesting.  This is almost as bad as it can get.  Not only is the company a direct competitor, but they are in the same city, and they are in your family as well.

Case 4:  Wild Dog Rescue and Wishbone Pet Rescue

Alright  I am having a hard time nailing this one down, but here is what I know (I did get an update from Chuck who is involved with Wild Dog- see comments below).  Laine Mossey founders set up the Dog Rescue operation in Saugatuck and also ran a dog shop in the area.  The original name was Wild Dog Rescue, which was later changed to Wishbone Pet Rescue.  The Wishbone Pet Rescue was involved in the very unfortunate Chance story.  The dog was savagely beaten, poisoned, and hung to die, fortunately the dog survived and was left in the care of Wishbone.  At some point during this process Laine (the president) brought on a board of directors to help out with the pet rescue portion of the business.  But apparently there was a difference in philosophy between the president, who wanted to solely rescue pets and the board, who wanted to help the Allegan County Animal shelter.   Now there are two Dog Rescue organizations in Saugatuck area, Wild Dog Rescue (which also runs the Wild Dogs store, and a kennel called Mossey Hollow) and Wishbone Pet Rescue.
One more side note I found this website – http://wilddogsaugatuck.com/ which looks like it was started by the owner Wild Dog, the rescue and pet store, and their issue with the Douglas restaurant called Wild Dog Grille.  Though I think they can choose to name their restaurant the same name, since they are not in the same industry, but it still smacks of poor taste to take on the same name especially in a small community like Saugatuck/Douglas.

Case 5:  Gary Crane UPick Farm & Cranes Orchards

Drive down M-89 in Fennville and inevitably you will come across a stretch of road with orchards on both sides of the road, and with signs on both sides talking about Crane’s U Pick Orchards.  Well although they share the same name (kind of) they are not the same.  In fact ask anyone working at either place and they will definitely tell you they are not associated with the other.  I wonder what happened.  First here are the players – The Gary Crane U-Pick Farm or “Crane’s U-Pick”at 6017 124th Ave is on the North side of the street, and can be recognized with their large white barn.  Cranes Orchards is located on the South side of the street at 6054 124th Ave, is highlighted by the large red Crane’s restaurant.  Interestingly enough both Gary Crane UPick and Crane Orchards offer a detailed history of the family and the two farms.  Here is Gary Crane UPick version and here is Crane Orchards version.  I am not going to dig into this one too much because it hurts my head but it looks like the grandsons of the original founders, ended up going out on their own and operating their own farms in 1985.

Special Case: Adidas & Puma

Some of these stories are eerily similar to the Puma and Adidas story.  The Dassler brothers (Adi and Rudolf) who founded the original company, eventually split up and created separate companies in Puma and Adidas.  Now both companies are located in the same small German village of Herzogenaurach.  Raise your hand if you knew that Puma and Adidas were founded by two brothers, and if you did, let me know and next time I see you, I owe you a high five.

Apparently these individuals were not too please at having to go to bed with their partners.  Does anyone have any more examples of schisms with business partners?  At risk of sounding very tabloid-esque or gossipy… does anyone have any details on what caused these above splits?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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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

ClipCleany – Why is This So Difficult?

ClipCleany… chances are you have never heard of it.  I just became aware of ClipCleany after reading the “Innovation Michigan” section of the West Michigan Business Review. Well the ClipCleany is a new product for dog owners to attach onto leashes, here is more info off of their website:

“It is a small egg shaped container that fits directly on the leash that keeps doggy do-do bags—the ones you want to use- from plastic grocery sacks to any number of doggy waste bags on the market today.   The ClipCleany™ also has a wet chamber to carry wipes and a dry chamber for money or dog treats.”

Since I have three dogs this device sounds interesting, and I want to see the product and examine this “egg” for myself and see the size, the compartments, and how it works.  So I visit ClipCleany’s homepage – no pictures.  I go to ClipCleany store – well that is weird, no ClipCleanys for sale, just apparel and accessories.  OooooooK well I guess the ClipCleany logo design is kind of cute, but I am not sure if I would want to purchase any apparel without actually seeing or knowing or owning the actual product, but some people might.  Alright so let’s see where else this elusive product might be hiding on this website, a ha the “Benefits” tab.  Wait nope nothing really in there which hasn’t already been discussed on the homepage.  Wow this is frustrating, why can’t I find this product.  Next stop, “Media” eh forget it, I don’t want to watch a video right now, lets move on to “Blog.”  Hey look there is a picture of the ClipCleany, cool, let me click on the image to get a better view.  Well did not help, I think the picture got blurrier.  Alright I guess I will resign myself to start watching some video, so I click one the Fox 17 news videos.  Finally success! They show the product, and even better, they actually cover why they  have been so secretive about the ClipCleany – patent was still pending, concerned with foreign rights (both of which sound like valid concerns).

But if they can show the product on TV how come the product is not yet visible on the website?  Especially since she is looking for manufacturers and retailers to carry the product, wouldn’t you want it visible to the public so they can start asking their retailers for it and hopefully start to create a demand?  Or at least make a comment on the homepage as to why the product is not being shown.  Because that would have been extremely helpful when I was first seeking out information on the ClipCleany, and I would image other visitors have similar thoughts as well.  Anyways good luck to ClipCleany and hopefully we will see the product on shelves soon.

A Deterrent Made By Tanglefoot

I came across the company Tanglefoot, based on this story in the Grand Rapids Press.  Interested in what this company was about, I quickly visited their website to find out more.  Well Tanglefoot has many interesting products to eliminate pests (mainly insects) in your home and outside.  But there is one product that really caught my eye.

Behold the Doggie Doo Doo Sign, I wonder if it is effective as their other products.

Spin off product idea, a “Kitty Doo Doo” sign for the kid’s sandbox.
Update:  Tanglefoot was acquired by Contech Products and unfortunately it looks like they discontinued the product.