COVID-19 Update: GrowGeneration Acquires Michigan’s Big Green Tomato, Study Shows Steady Economic Improvement in 3Q, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Nov. 3

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

GrowGeneration Acquires Two Big Green Tomato Stores in Michigan
Denver’s GrowGeneration Corp., one of the nation’s largest chains of specialty hydroponic and organic garden centers, has acquired Big Green Tomato, which has stores in Taylor and Battle Creek. Terms were not disclosed.

Big Green Tomato was founded in 2011 by a team of executives with 25 years of combined experience in the industry, said it generated close to $16 million in annual revenue. As part of the transaction, GrowGen purchased the 10,000 square-foot retail property in Battle Creek.

With the BGT acquisition, the Michigan market is expected to generate annual revenue well over $40 million for GrowGen. It also brings the total number of GrowGen hydroponic garden centers in Michigan to six. In addition to Taylor and Battle Creek, GrowGen has stores in Grand Rapids, Livonia, and two in Lansing.

“Michigan’s recreational cannabis market is growing exponentially,” says Tony Sullivan, COO of GrowGen. “We’re encouraged by new state regulations that will allow for more cultivation licenses, which in turn will fuel continued expansion and growth for GrowGeneration’s customer base in the state.”

Michigan market and projections:

  • Currently in Michigan there are 250+ class C medical grows of 1,500 plants each and 50+ class C adult use grows of 2,000 plants each (adult use has only been in effect in Michigan for fewer than than nine months).
  • Michigan has the second-highest medical marijuana market in the country, behind California.
  • Michigan’s 2020 adult-use sales are estimated to total between $400 million and $475 million.
  • Michigan’s recreational cannabis market is on track to surpass $1 billion over the next couple of years.

Citizens Bank Study Shows Steady Economic Improvement in 3Q
Economic conditions showed signs of improvement during the third quarter of 2020, the first gain during a year dominated by impacts of the pandemic, according to the Detroit-based Citizens Business Conditions Index.

The index climbed to 61.2 at the end of the third quarter, up from 60.3 at the end of the second quarter, with some sectors, such as manufacturing, faring better than others as the U.S. economy started to get back on track.

Citizens’ proprietary measure of business activity among clients showed particular strength in the industrial and government services sectors. The fourth quarter may pose continued challenges for some sectors, however, as the number of COVID-19 cases rises in many states.

“It’s obvious to everyone that life is not back to ‘normal’ in the United States with the ongoing battle to contain COVID-19,” says Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank. “Still, businesses are proving to be incredibly resilient. The support from the Fed has been a huge factor. The capital markets are operating well, and we are seeing a lot of effective adjustments made by small and medium-sized companies as the government weighs possible additional stimulus.”

The Index is derived from a number of underlying components, most of which improved during the third quarter.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Indexes were up for the quarter. Manufacturing rose more sharply while the broader services sector recovery held steady.

Employment increased during the third quarter, but wage growth decreased, impacted by the growing rate of job gains in the lower-wage workforce.

Proprietary measures of business activity among Citizens’ more than 7,000 clients across the United States were down slightly with a few sectors improving and others still languishing.

The Index draws from public information and proprietary corporate data to establish a unique view of business conditions across the country. An index value greater than 50 indicates expansion and points to positive business activity for the next quarter.

Gerber Collision and Glass Acquires Three Locations in Michigan UP
The Boyd Group Inc., the Chicago-based company that operates Gerber Collision and Glass in Michigan, has acquired three collision repair centers in the Upper Peninsula.

The repair centers, located in Escanaba, Kingsford, and Marquette, previously operated as Classic Auto Collision Centers originating in 1984 in Escanaba. A new repair center was built in 1990 and a second location opened in Marquette. The Escanaba location relocated to a newly built facility in 1992 and the Kingsford location was added in 1996.

“We are excited to expand our footprint to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and look forward to delivering high-quality repairs to this region,” says Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision and Glass. “The teams at these repair centers are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and we welcome the opportunity to continue that while serving these communities and our insurance partners. This acquisition is another example of our commitment to growing our brand.”

The Boyd Group says it is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S.

Loves Furniture and Mattresses Opens Grand Rapids-area Locations
Warren-based Loves Furniture and Mattresses has opened two new stores in the Grand Rapids area.

The stores, at 4375 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids and at 4273 Alpine Ave. NW in Comstock Park, will feature home furnishings, including mattresses, sofas, loveseats, dining furniture.

“Loves continues our rapid growth throughout Michigan and the Midwest, tripling our geographic footprint in two months,” says Matt Damiani, CEO of Loves. “We created Loves because we think everyone deserves to love where they live. We saw a better way to build a furniture buying experience – one that is personalized and designed to encourage exploration, imagination, and discovery of the perfect pieces to help create memories at home that last.”

The stores will carry a selection of well-known brands, including Tempurpedic, Beautyrest, Serta, Stearns & Foster, Lane, Bassett, Flexsteel, Jonathan Lewis, and Bernhardt, as well as brands available only at Loves.

Loves also announced a partnership with Kids’ Food Basket, a childhood hunger relief organization providing daily evening meals, Sack Suppers, to food-insecure children in greater Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland. Loves will donate $5,000 to Kids’ Food Basket and a portion of sales in its Grand Rapids location Nov. 6 – 8.

Direct Marketing Association Hosts Webinar by Ford’s Ad Agency Nov 12
The Direct Marketing Association of Detroit is hosting a webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Nov. 12 with presenters from GTB, Ford Motor Co’s advertising agency.

Clare Meridew, GTB’s chief creative officer, and Stacey Dunn, who leads U.S. strategy for the agency, will discuss how marketers are adjusting as quickly as possible to the changing conditions of 2020 in a webinar entitled Marketing in the Age of Post-COVID.

“Change has always been part of the marketing landscape,” says Dunn. “With COVID as the catalyst, that change is happening more quickly. We’re going to look at these key trends, demonstrate what to expect in this post-pandemic world, and show how to gain a competitive edge right now.”

Cristina Cecchetti, president of DMAD, says, “These are two of Detroit’s brightest marketing minds addressing a landscape where insight is critical to success. This really aligns to DMAD’s mission of educating and empowering our members and helping them become better marketers.”

To register, visit here.

MSU Hosting a Virtual Forum on First and Last Mile for Autonomous Mobility
Michigan State University in East Lansing is hosting a virtual forum titled “Accelerating the First/Last Mile for Autonomous Mobility” at 1 p.m. Nov. 19 via Zoom.

This webcast will feature:

  • An overview of Michigan’s recent mobility progress from Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer for the state of Michigan.
  • A 45-minute panel discussion complete with industry experts at the OEM and Tier One supplier level. MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. will moderate the panel.
  • A presentation of the latest MSU Mobility research, achievements and collaborations.
  • A message from Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

Panel participants will discuss how their respective companies – and the industry as a whole – are addressing the future of an autonomous first mile, last mile, and helping solidify Michigan’s position as the true leader in mobility. Questions and answers will follow the panel discussion.

To register, visit here.