Posted in News on January 31, 2018

1/31/2018 - Zeeland, Michigan – Lakeshore Advantage, the non-profit business development organization serving employers in Ottawa and northern Allegan counties, shared year-end regional economic successes at the organization’s annual investor gathering this month, attended by nearly 400 business and community leaders. Themed FORWARD, Lakeshore Advantage shared 2017 achievements in the context of collaboration and partnership, as the organization prepares to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year.
“While working with current and future primary employers to maintain a robust business base, and tackle talent challenges to diminish barriers to growth, a key component of economic development is looking toward the future - imagining a vibrant, sustainable future where next generations will experience an even better quality of career and living than the one we currently enjoy,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “This reality is achieved through vision, creative thinking, partnership and working together.”
2017 Regional economic successes include:
  • Eighteen successful business expansion projects that resulted in $90 million in private investment and created more than 650 new jobs.
  • Leveraging $25.3 million in business support funds, benefitting 89 area employers directly. These funds include property tax abatements and state and federal grants for business expansion, new job creation, upskilling new and current employees, infrastructure improvements, entrepreneur support and trade expansion efforts.
  • Engaging more than 300 teachers on regional strengths and in-demand careers.
  • Launching SURGE, a one-stop resource for entrepreneurs who need a powerful boost forward to achieve their next milestones. Fifty-three entrepreneurs were served through SURGE in 2017. The Entrepreneurial Support Network in partnership with West Coast Chamber members provided $29 thousand in in-kind services to complete six projects for startup companies.
  • Extending the outreach of talent attraction brand Michigan Smart Coast to five new partners and 210 summer interns attending Michigan Smart Coast educational and networking events.
Among the major business expansions receiving Lakeshore Advantage assistance with local approvals and tax abatements was the newly constructed Hutt Trucking cold storage facility in Hudsonville. This 80,000 square foot cold storage warehouse, a logistical optimization center with room for 19,000 pallets stored at -20 degrees, supports the distribution needs of Hutt’s growing clients including Hudsonville Ice Cream and Ludington-based House of Flavors.
"Hutt Trucking and Logistics is very fortunate to be a part of the Lakeshore community. We received timely, reliable guidance and cooperation from the City of Hudsonville, Lakeshore Advantage and the MEDC,” said Curt DeJonge, president of Hutt, Inc. “In the end, it took great teamwork between local and state government, key stakeholders and the private sector to hold schedules and budgets, and together create nearly 20 new jobs by the end of 2017.”  (Curt sharing his story at the Lakeshore Advantage, pictured here.)
Lakeshore Advantage reports a return on investment of $74 for every one dollar invested in the organization in 2017. A digital version of the full Lakeshore Advantage investor guide, complete with a list of major business expansions and economic successes achieved for the region in 2017, is available online at: