DBusiness Daily Update: Oakland County Grants $6M to 1,350 Small Businesses, Aspen Dental Opens New Practice in Sterling Heights, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Feb. 20

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Oakland County Grants $6M to 1,350 Small Businesses
Oakland County has allocated about $6.1 million in grants to nearly 1,350 small businesses disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priority went to businesses which had not received previous funding from the county. The state of Michigan is funding the grants through its $55 million Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program.

Grant allocations range from $1,825 to $7,500. Small businesses may use the grants for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses related to reopening a business incurred between Nov. 18, 2020 and April 30, 2021.

The 1,395 awardees include restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, catering, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tea shops, banquet facilities, boutiques, bookstores, hardware, gyms, studios, pool facilities, and ice skating rinks, among others.

In addition to demonstrating an income loss due to health orders, eligibility requirements included a company size between 1-100 employees as a for-profit or nonprofit company. To view a list of recipients, visit here.

Aspen Dental Opens New Practice in Sterling Heights
Aspen Dental has opened a new facility in Sterling Heights, the 34th Aspen Dental practice in Michigan.

Located at 15032 Hall Rd., the office is led by Dr. Adam Yazback, a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. Yazback and his team will provide a full range of dental services ranging from preventive care and general dentistry to dentures and restoration.

Office hours will be Mondays through Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information, visit here or call 586-722-1560.

Aspen Dental offices are independently owned and operated.

Construction for EV Production Underway at GM’s Spring Hill Complex
Steel construction for a new body shop is underway at the General Motors Spring Hill Complex in Tennessee, beginning the assembly plant’s transition to become the company’s third vehicle manufacturing site to produce electric vehicles.

Spring Hill joins Factory ZERO in Detroit and Orion Assembly in Orion Township as plants that will produce electric vehicles for GM.

Last year, GM announced a $2 billion investment in Spring Hill to build fully electric vehicles, including the all-new Cadillac LYRIQ. The new body shop will consist of 324,000 square feet dedicated to building major sheet metal components for that vehicle. The new building, along with new tooling, equipment, and automation will comprise the advanced body structure for the LYRIQ.

“This is a historic moment for Spring Hill and the first major building expansion for our vehicle assembly space since initial opening in 1990,” says Jeff Lamarche, plant executive director of the Spring Hill facility for GM. “The LYRIQ will be the first of many EVs to be produced at Spring Hill and we’re honored and excited to be a part of GM’s all-electric future.”

The Spring Hill Complex builds both vehicles and engines and has more than 3,200 employees. The facility will produce traditionally powered vehicles along with EVs.

For more information, visit here.

Ultium Cells in Lordstown Reaches Construction Milestone
Ironworkers at Ultium Cells’ battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio marked a construction milestone last week with the final beam installation at what soon will be a 2.8-million-square-foot operation.

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors Co. in Detroit and Korea’s LG Chem, which has an office in Troy, will mass-produce Ultium battery cells at the facility to advance the push for a zero-emissions, all-electric future.

GM and LG Chem are investing $2.3 billion in the facility to support EV manufacturing in the U.S., and in turn, local jobs, education, career training, and infrastructure.

“This is a significant milestone for the Ultium Cells team and our construction trade partners as we continue to build our physical foundation through the construction of our site, and our cultural foundation as we stand up our workforce,” says Tom Gallagher, operations director at Ultium Cells. “Ultium Cells is on track to achieve our vision of an inclusive and engaged workforce as we add 30 more launch team members in March. It is exciting to see the team coming together to support the launch of this important business.”

In addition to the final beam “topping out,” work crews have spent more than 500,000 hours on the facility, which is slated for completion in 2022. This includes creation and installation of the USA-made steel structure. The building’s framework allows for an innovative open floor plan environment, with a main corridor spanning the width of the building interior and creating a natural connection point across the operation. The plant will equal the size of 30 football fields and will have annual capacity of over 30 gigawatt hours with room to expand.

“We are pleased construction at Ultium continues to progress safely and on schedule,” says Kee Eun, president of Ultium Cells. “While we faced unprecedented challenges from the very beginning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to execute successfully according to plan thanks to the collaborative efforts between General Motors and LG Chem, as well as the support and commitment from our contract partners and the local community.”

As construction continues, so does hiring. The company will hire 30 new Ultium Cells team members on March 1. Ultium Cells will create more than 1,100 new jobs in Northeast Ohio and is hiring to fill those positions.

Interested job seekers can visit here.

BetMGM and Topgolf Announce Partnership
BetMGM and Topgolf Entertainment Group announced a new partnership centered around an integrated sports betting and entertainment experience.

The two companies will collaborate on marketing and promotional offers through the BetMGM platform at select Topgolf venues and within online golf game WGT by Topgolf.

“We look forward to introducing Topgolf guests to the immersive sports betting experience that only BetMGM can provide,” says Matt Prevost, chief revenue officer at BetMGM. “Topgolf is known for offering unique and interactive entertainment options, which our loyal BetMGM users can now access through a variety of exclusive and customized packages.”

The partnership will allow Topgolf and BetMGM to engage with consumers on a large scale while reaching new audiences, both digitally and in-person.

“We are thrilled to partner with BetMGM as we continue to energize and grow our entertainment communities,” says J.F. Prata, COO at Topgolf Media. “Topgolf has always been committed to providing new and exciting experiences to our guests, and this partnership delivers on that, while providing our longtime fans, as well as those less familiar with Topgolf, an introduction to a complementary experience with BetMGM.”

Treetops Resort Secures C-PACE Funding for Energy Saving Projects
Treetops Resort in Gaylord has secured a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) loan to fund energy saving projects. Work on the C-PACE ace qualifying initiatives has already begun at the Gaylord, Michigan resort. The amount of the loan was not disclosed.

“With this C-Pace project funding we will be able to make improvements which our guests will not only see — but also feel,” says Barry Owens, general manager of Treetops Resort. “These improvements include HVAC systems, improvements to building envelopes, interior and exterior lighting, plumbing and domestic water controls, irrigation controls, and additional improvements.  Of equal importance, this project will reduce Treetops Resort’s carbon footprint through the reduced needs of energy resources.”

Treetops said it worked closely with Lean and Green Michigan, the PACE program administrator for Otsego County.

The project assessment and funding was made possible by partnering with several entities including Plug Smart, which specializes in helping properties lower energy and overhead costs by improving the facility’s energy efficiency.

Also contributing to the success of securing the clean energy funding is Ebee Management Group, which specializes in financial procurement, while developing, engineering, and completing energy savings projects for commercial, industrial, and governmental spaces.

JVS Human Services Offers Free Credit Rebuilding Webinar Feb. 23
JVS Human Services in Southfield is offering a free webinar to metro Detroiters needing to build or rebuild their credit score damaged by the pandemic on Feb. 23.

The webinar, titled “The Road Ahead: Building and Rebuilding Credit,” will take place at 10 a.m. and is part of “The Road Ahead” webinar series launched by JVS Human Services last summer, providing information aimed at employees, employers, job seekers, and those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Tomorrow’s webinar will provide participants with tips, tools, and resources on how to rebuild their credit score. No registration is necessary, and the webinar will be streamed on the JVS Human Services Facebook page.

“Many in our community have had their income adversely effected by the pandemic — whether because of job loss, furlough, reduction in hours worked or because the businesses they ran have seen a dip in revenue,” explains Laltsha Cunningham, financial education supervisor at JVS Human Services. “However, with some simple tips and changes in behavior, many people can work their way to improving their credit score, which is so important for good financial health.”

Cunningham’s top five tips for improving a credit score include:

  • Become an authorized user on a credit card, for example on a spouse’s or other family member’s card. This allows you to benefit from the card holder’s payment history if it is in good standing.
  • Choose a secured credit card which is guaranteed by a down payment. The credit line will match the down payment and the card holder will not go over their card limit.
  • Look for credit builder loans to pay off debt – these are typically loans secured by a credit union. When the consumer makes a payment on their loan, these numbers are reported to the credit bureau.
  • Keep credit cards open even when you have paid down or paid off a credit card, as this will help with payment history. A long payments history is helpful to improve credit scores, plus it also assists with credit availability.
  • Consumers should make timely payments on credit card and loan bills, which will help improve their overall credit score, save money by avoiding late fees, and will keep the account from going into collections or being closed.

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