DBusiness Daily Update: Survey: Higher Costs, Supply Shortages Hurting Michigan Small Businesses, 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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Michigan small businesses are being hurt by supply shortages and rising costs. // Stock Photo
Michigan small businesses are being hurt by supply shortages and rising costs. // Stock Photo

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.

Survey: Higher Costs, Supply Shortages Hurting Michigan Small Businesses

Continually rising costs and supply shortages are the main challenges impeding Michigan small businesses success, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) in Lansing.

“Michigan’s small businesses are still facing significant obstacles every single day,” says Brian Calley, president of the SMAM. “Higher costs, supply shortages, and inflation are a constant roadblock for small businesses as they go above and beyond to be successful.”

More than 91 percent of survey respondents reported the challenge of higher costs as one of the biggest struggles facing their businesses. The survey, conducted July 12-21, of more than 300 small businesses also revealed that:

  • 82 percent of small businesses are experiencing supply shortages.
  • 69 percent said rising inflation is impacting their business.
  • 57 percent are experiencing supply chain disruptions.
  • 28 percent of small businesses surveyed are pessimistic about business outlook in the next six months, and 18 percent are pessimistic about overall business survival.
  • 64 percent of those surveyed said it is harder to keep their businesses fully staffed than before the pandemic.
  • 70 percent of small businesses have raised wages to attract and maintain employees over the past year.

Brilliant Earth Opens in Birmingham, First Location in Michigan

San Francisco-based jewelry company Brilliant Earth Group Inc. has opened in downtown Birmingham. It is the company’s first showroom in Michigan and its 21st overall.

Located on the corner of Pierce and E. Merrill streets, the showroom features architecture that matches the elegance of the products, according to Brilliant Earth. The showroom offers a personalized one-on-one experience with jewelry experts, supported by the brand’s online capabilities, including product visualization, create-your-own ring, and ring-stacking options. As Brilliant Earth expands its North American retail presence, the company’s showrooms continue to complement its digital channels, allowing for a seamless transition between the online and in-person shopping experience.

Amazon Partners with Versiti to Promote Blood Donation in Michigan

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, based in Grand Rapids with locations throughout west and northern Michigan, and Amazon have teamed up to help save local lives this summer through blood donation.

Aug. 1-12, Amazon will open several metro Detroit locations to the public to offer convenient opportunities for Michiganders to roll up their sleeves to help local patients in need.

“We are thrilled to partner with Amazon and grateful for their generosity to provide an opportunity for both employees and community members to donate much-needed lifesaving blood,” says Dawn Kaiser, area vice president and director of donor services for Versiti. “Blood supplies nationwide continue to be at historically low levels, and the Amazon Gives blood drive is a great way to help ensure hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients.”

Amazon Community Connections Leader Pariss Gray says: “Amazon strives to be a strong local community partner in metro Detroit and we are continuously looking for opportunities to support those who live and work here. We are more than happy to partner with Versiti in organizing a blood drive that will save lives in the local metro Detroit community Amazon serves.”

As a token of gratitude, all attempting donors will receive a Versiti water bottle and a limited-edition commemorative T-shirt while supplies last.

Blood drive dates and locations:

  • 1 (2-8 p.m.), Amazon – Livonia. Details here.
  • 4 (2-8 p.m.), Amazon – Livonia. Details here.
  • 8 (7 a.m.-noon), Amazon – Romulus. Details here.
  • 8. (2-8 p.m.), Amazon – Romulus. Details here.
  • 10 (2-8 p.m.), Amazon – Romulus. Details here.

Anyone 17 or older who is in good health and meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to donate blood. Parental consent is required for 16-year-olds to donate. Appointments are preferred to ensure a quick and convenient donation, but walk-in donors are also welcome. The entire process takes about an hour. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 866-642-5663 or visit Versiti.org.

Lowe’s Launches ‘Into the Blue’ Product Pitch Event

Lowe’s, the hardware superstore based in North Carolina, is launching “Into the Blue: Lowe’s Product Pitch Event,” the home improvement retailer’s largest product sourcing forum to date.

Entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes can apply for a chance to participate in this first-ever live event, during which Lowe’s plans to invest a target of $5 million in purchase orders to new suppliers with opportunities for products to be carried within the company’s more than 1,700 retail stores and online at Lowes.com.

Through Aug. 14, interested businesses with ready-for-market products can apply here. Businesses chosen for Into the Blue will have the opportunity to pitch directly to Lowe’s representatives and leadership executives Nov. 2-3 at the new Lowe’s Tech Hub in Charlotte, N.C. Opening this fall, the state-of-the-art facility serves as the leading center of excellence in Lowe’s retail technology and primary office for up to approximately 2,000 Lowe’s technology professionals.

“Into the Blue: Lowe’s Product Pitch Event gives entrepreneurs the chance to take their business to the next level,” says Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising for Lowe’s. “We are inviting businesses of any size to apply for Into the Blue because the more innovative products we uncover, the more solutions we can provide to our customers to make their homes and lives better.”

In addition to product pitches, Into the Blue will include extensive networking, a supplier fair and mainstage and breakout sessions. The sessions will offer a variety of business tips and topics to help educate participating business owners as they work to scale their operations.

CADIA DEI Accelerator Program Accepting Applications for Fall Cohort

The Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement (CADIA) in Livonia is accepting applications for the Fall 2022 cohort of its DEI Accelerator Program. The cohort will begin on Sept. 9 and participants will receive DEI certification from CADIA upon completion of the 13-week course.

“We’re excited to begin the third cohort of our DEI Accelerator program,” says Cheryl Thompson, founder and CEO of CADIA. “The program was founded because we believe DEI champions are stronger together, and we wanted to provide a forum for professionals to explore and learn together.”

The Fall 2022 cohort offers a structured opportunity for automotive industry professionals to learn diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices, solve complex organizational challenges, and build a DEI professional network. Sessions are designed to fit the needs of participants and are facilitated by experienced DEI professionals.

To learn more about the CADIA DEI Accelerator or submit an application, visit here or contact info@automotivediversity.org.

Ludington Meat Co. Open for Vacationers in Northwest Michigan

Ludington Meat Co. officially opened for business this month giving people vacationing in northwest Michigan a new place to shop for their meat and barbecue needs.

The 14,600-square-foot meat company operated by brothers Alec and Corey Sanders is at 3815 US-10 off of US-31 in Ludington. It offers a premier meat market, butcher block, deli, smokehouse, barbecue, and bar — serving as both a convenience for local shoppers and a culinary destination for visitors to west and northern Michigan.

In addition to selling meat, Ludington Meat Co. manufactures, processes, smokes, and prepares its product on site.

“We are thrilled to bring a new brand of quality meat products to this part of Michigan to serve our community and those who visit,” says co-owner Corey Sanders. “We are more than a meat store — we’re a meat manufacturer. We’re constantly keeping up with the latest meat trends in the industry. We currently have over 60 flavors of bratwursts. Our goal is to be that one-stop-shop with everything you need for a perfect meal or special occasion.”

Ludington Meat Co. offers an extensive variety of fresh and smoked beef, pork, poultry, fish, and seafood. It also serves as a specialty grocer, offering grilling accompaniments like spices, sauces, marinades, condiments, charcuterie boards, dips, cheeses, fine wine, and craft and domestic beer.

“The reception we have already received from customers since our opening has been absolutely incredible,” says co-owner Alec Sanders. “People come in and are blown away by the size, scope, and attractiveness of our business — not to mention the quality, large variety, and competitive price points for all of our products.”

For more information, visit ludingtonmeatcompany.com.

Total Health Care Foundation Grants Rocket Giving Fund $150K for Connect 313

Priority Health’s Total Health Care Foundation has awarded the Rocket Giving Fund a $150,000 grant to benefit Connect 313, a collaborative organization that aims to close Detroit’s digital divide and make the city a model for digital inclusion nationwide.

The check presentation took place Tuesday during the AREA 313 Celebrity Scramble at the Detroit Golf Club on Tuesday, July 26, which is part of the activities leading up to the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

“The inability to access the internet has been identified as a super determinant of health and can have a significant, long-lasting impact on people’s well-being,” says Shannon Wilson, executive director of the Total Health Care Foundation and vice president of population health and health equity at Priority Health. “The Rocket Community Fund and Connect 313 are helping shine a light on this critical issue that often impacts our most vulnerable citizens. Along with other dedicated community partners, Priority Health and the Total Health Care Foundation are committed to ensuring that all people have access to the resources they need to live their healthiest and most prosperous lives.”

Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and are evaluated by the Total Health Care Foundation board quarterly. Those interested in learning more about the Total Health Care Foundation or would like to apply for a grant can visit here.

Pine Rest Academy, Grand Valley State University Partner on Nurse Training

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State University in nearby Allendale are partnering to address the national nursing staffing shortage.

The Pine Rest Academy is offering nursing students financial support of up to $40,000 to each student who qualifies. Grand Valley students who participate in the academy and graduate will then work at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services for at least two years.

This is the first such agreement between Pine Rest and a west Michigan university. Several others are expected to sign similar agreements.

“We are thrilled to build partnerships with so many local schools for the academy program, offering students both academic excellence and in-person experience in the behavioral health field,” says Bob Nykamp, vice president and COO of Pine Rest. “The impact that this program will have on our current and future patients, as well as our community, will be instrumental in meeting the growing need for behavioral health care in Michigan.”

Grand Valley President Philomena V. Mantella says: “We know our nursing graduates will enter the workforce well prepared for patient-centered care. This partnership will positively impact the care of patients for years to come. I’m grateful to the teams that recognized a problem and found a solution.”

Pine Rest currently employs more than 240 registered nurses who specialize in psychiatric nursing and 20 psychiatric nurse practitioners that help assess, address, and monitor patients’ mental health and behavioral conditions. The psychiatric nurses promote well-being through prevention and education, in addition to the assessment, diagnosis, care and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

“At Pine Rest, we believe that the best way to develop a knowledgeable and compassionate staff is to offer support and mentorship,” says Gretchen Johnson, chief nurse executive at Pine Rest. “The Pine Rest Academy will not only remove financial barriers for college students seeking a nursing degree, it will also provide hands-on behavioral health training and create a smoother path to employment. This model will ultimately make a big impact on patient care.”

Current Pine Rest employees who are seeking a nursing degree at one of the four participating schools will automatically receive tuition assistance and all students interested in entering the Pine Rest Academy can join at any time after being accepted into a nursing program. Students who complete their nursing programs will maintain active employment at Pine Rest and commit to two years of employment in a full-time capacity (at least 30 hours) at Pine Rest after graduation.