Cherry Republic a top workplace

DETROIT — Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor was named as Top Workplace 2020 by the Detroit Free Press.

Cherry Republic was ranked No. 41 among midsize companies by the Free Press. It was the only company based in northern Michigan to make the list for large, midsize or small companies.

According to a release from Cherry Republic, the list “is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC.”

The survey measured “15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization including alignment, execution and connection.”

“The fact that this award is based on a survey by our own staff means so much to us and tells us we are reaching the initial goals we set forth to achieve,” Cherry Republic CEO Todd Ciolek said in the release.

Several companies with offices in the region made the list. The top-ranked workplaces by division were Plante Moran of Southfield (large), Service Express of Grand Rapids (midsize) and Jeff Glover and Associates of Plymouth (small). The complete list is available at

ITC donates to Regional Resiliency

TRAVERSE CITY — ITC, an electric utility company based in Novi, has contributed funds to the Regional Resiliency Program administered by Venture North Funding and Development.

The Regional Resiliency Fund works with local partners from the 10-county area and grants funds to small businesses with nine or fewer employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this extraordinary time, there are tremendous humanitarian and economic needs across our home state,” ITC Michigan President Simon Whitelocke said in a release. “We’re proud to support organizations like Venture North that are making a positive impact on the small business community that is so vital our economy.”

The Regional Resiliency Fund has made grants of up to $5,000 to more than 150 small businesses in the region since the program began, according to the release.

Bellaire Holiday Open House set

BELLAIRE — Downtown Bellaire will hold its third annual Holiday Open House on Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Participating shops, restaurants and tasting rooms will feature product samples, specials and other discounts during the event. The event is coordinated by the Downtown Bellaire Group of Merchants.

More information is available on the Downtown Bellaire Holiday Open House Facebook page or from the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce at

Creative Coast Guide now on sale

TRAVERSE CITY — A guide highlighting the creativity and diversity of northern Michigan industry is on sale now.

“The Creative Coast Guide: A Guide to Great Creatives of the Grand Traverse Region” is available for $20 at and at local retailers. Creative Coast is a Traverse Connect initiative.

The 200-page guide is a partnership between Traverse Connect and The Boardman Review. According to a release, the guide has interviews with more than 100 creative professionals in the area.

Michigan’s Creative Coast talent attraction website should launch later this month.

Priority extending virtual care, telehealth

GRAND RAPIDS — Priority Health will continue to offer $0-cost-share virtual care and telehealth services into 2021 “for nearly all fully-funded (Health care saving account) HSA and non-HSA plans ahead of deductible,” the company announced in a release.

The release stated this also will be a standard benefit “for most fully-funded employer-sponsored (Affordable Care Act) ACA plans.”

Priority Health has encouraged members to use virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the spread of the illness. Priority said extending the no-cost share virtual visits will “not only ensure that high-risk members have affordable access to care, but also help enable the transformation to more virtual health care services.”

Priority Health has launched new MyPriority Telehealth Primary Care Physician plans that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Members can download the Priority Health app or log into their member account to access virtual care. More information is also available at

Frey Foundation donates to program

PETOSKEY — The Frey Foundation contributed $10,000 to the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation to assist small businesses in Emmet County.

The contribution from the Grand Rapids-based foundation will be used for the Regional Resiliency Program for businesses with nine or fewer employees in Emmet County. The Regional Resiliency Program, created in May by Venture North Funding and Development, recently expanded into Emmet.

More information about the Regional Resiliency Program is available at by calling Venture North Executive Director Laura Galbraith at (231) 357-6776 or David Jones at (231) 348-5820.

Century 21 Northland holds blood drive

TRAVERSE CITY — Century 21 Northland sponsored a blood drive Oct. 21 and was able to donate nine pints to Versiti Blood Center of Michigan.

The blood drive will support local patients, Century 21 Northland Broker/Owner Brad Platt said in a release.

Century 21 Northland has hosted the Versiti blood bus in its Traverse City parking lot since 2018. Century 21 Northland has collected a total of 58 pints during that time.

More information on Versiti is available at

TBACU drop-off sports for Toys for Tots

TRAVERSE CITY — TBA Credit Union is serving as a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots collects and distributes new toys to children in need in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. TBACU will accept donations of new, unwrapped toys at both of its branches until Dec. 14.

Toys for Tots has assisted more than 265 million children since it was founded in 1947. More information is available at

mBank earns honor from SBA

MANISTIQUE — mBank was named the 2019 Community Lender of the Year by the Michigan District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to a release from the bank.

The award recognizes the SBA lender that offers services and engages in activities that promote and support community development in Michigan, the release stated. According to the release, mBank made approximately $20 million in loans to back SBA lending initiatives and assisted entrepreneurs start or expand businesses in Michigan and northern Wisconsin.

“We will continue to be a leader in providing loans and banking solutions for small businesses throughout our footprint to ensure needed capital and financial resources are provided timely, even more so in light of the ongoing pandemic,” mBank President and CEO Kelly W. George said in the release.

Meijer fleet wins EPA award

GRAND RAPIDS — Meijer’s vehicle fleet received a SmartWay Excellence Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the third straight year, according to a release from the retailer.

The release adds the retail company’s fleet “is the only four-time recipient of the distinct honor nationwide in the mixed carrier category.”

The SmartWay Excellence Award “recognizes the top retail and manufacturing carriers and shippers that demonstrate how their logistical operations make a measurable difference in reducing carbon emissions, while also effectively managing fuel costs as they move goods around the country,” according to the release.

The standalone fleet comprises 250 semi-trucks and nearly 400 drivers. The release said the retailer has a total network of 750 trucks that log more than 1.3 million miles per week.

Among the improvements Meijer has implemented are telematics to maintain quality and temperature control in refrigeration systems and backhauling measures to reduce “empty miles on the road.”

Christmas meal fundraiser underway

LUDINGTON — West Shore Bank’s 12th annual Christmas meal fundraiser is underway.

The Christmas meals are donated to local families in Benzie, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties. The fundraiser provided 786 meals to area families in 2019.

Grocery partners provide special pricing for a complete meal ranging from $10.50 to $15. West Shore Bank will match the first $2,500 raised.

Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation at West Shore Bank during regular hours. Donations can also be made at or mailing a check payable to “Spirit of Giving Fund” to West Shore Bank, Attn: Spirit of Giving, PO Box 627, Ludington, MI 49431. Donations are accepted through Nov. 27.

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