The latest economic news from around the region.
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NLEA Annual Showcase set for May 21
Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) is known for our annual event when we showcase area businesses, organizations, and people who help drive the economic vitality of our region. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID and this year we are back - virtually! The showcase will be hosted on the interactive, virtual platform Remo.

Save the date May 21 11:00 am- 1:00 pm.
NLEA Annual Showcase May 21
We are securing some fabulous presenters and are happy to announce the keynote speaker will be the legendary Bob Jacquart, CEO/owner of Stormy Kromer.

Bob Jacquart began his career with his father at Jacquart Fabric Products in the early ‘70s, and then took over the company in 1983. He became a successful entrepreneur and the company became a “jack of all trades” making pet beds, boat covers, industrial covers, commercial and industrial upholstery and playground equipment covers. With a successful business already under his belt, Jacquart was made aware of another possible business opportunity in the summer of 2001 – Stormy Kromer.

When his local dealer told him that production of the legendary Stormy Kromer cap would soon cease, Jacquart made a call to Milwaukee and, a few months later, relaunched Stormy Kromer from its new home at Jacquart Fabric Products in Ironwood, Michigan—still made in the USA, still crafted by hand. According to Bob, it was the best business opportunity that could ever pass his way.

Stay tuned for more event details, coming soon!
Manufacturers - Don't get left behind
MMTC flyer cropped
Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) is offering an MEDC grant-funded Industry 4.0 assessment for manufacturers and processors. This $1,600 value service is free to Michigan manufacturers and processors. To learn more about how The Center can assist in your technological implementations, contact or call 888.414.6682.  
Industry 4.0 from MEDC
How can Industry 4.0 technologies help small and medium-sized manufacturers grow and thrive?

MEDC’s Natalie Chmiko talked with Tom Kelly of Automation Alley about the impact that automation is having on manufacturing, and new resources available for Michigan manufacturers to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.
Help available for energy bills
Consumers Energy wants to let the community know that help is available for customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Whatever you’ve faced this year—job loss, extreme weather, or other challenging circumstances—help is just a phone call away. Here are four options to help if you are struggling to pay your energy bill:
  1. Call 2-1-1 or go to
  2. Contact your energy provider for flexible payment options. For Consumers Energy customers, that number is 1-800-477-5050
  3. Apply for State Emergency Relief directly for bill payment assistance at
  4. Apply for a Home Heating Credit. Visit to see if you qualify.
Consumers Energy assistance graphic
Get on Board!
Serving on a board can be intimidating as an elected or appointed official. Whether meeting virtually or in person, effective board meeting are essential to good governance. Michigan State University Extension is offering a virtual webinar series where participants will learn the role and purpose of elected and appointed boards, best practices for meeting process, and Parliamentary Procedure based on Roberts’ Rules of Order. Participants will have the opportunity to explore scenarios and practice skills, such as how to make a motion.  This three-webinar interactive series is designed for new or seasoned board members. 

Sessions will be Mondays, April 12, 19, and 26 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. All sessions will be recorded and provided to registrants. Cost is $50/person or $200/board group (up to 10).
Truestream virtual update
Watch the playback of Julie Bailey providing the latest updates for internet and phone provider Truestream, powered by Great Lakes Energy. Learn more about the company and construction updates.
Coalition to "Reopen Michigan Safely"
Reopen Michigan Safely
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance along with several others have created Reopen Michigan Safely, a newly formed coalition of business leaders focused on reenergizing Michigan’s economy.

In anticipation of the April 14th expiration of Michigan Occupational Safety and
Administration (MIOSHA) emergency rules that prohibit the reopening of business office spaces, the Reopen Michigan Safely coalition called on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to end the office ban an and allow job creators and employees
across all industries to work together toward reopening safely.

The coalition is sounding the alarm that Michigan jobs are being permanently lost due to current restrictions, and is asking others to join the movement to reopen Michigan now.
Videos you will want to share
We like to motivate and educate with these videos, so good you'll pass them on! If you have one or see something inspirational, send it our way. We like to share!
How to change careers without fear.
A throwback to the annual NLEA showcase.
COVID-19 Helpful Resources
We encourage you to contact and visit the websites of your local Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Development Authorities (DDAs), and Main Street organizations for the most updated information pertaining to your community.

Click here for a short list of resources and information for businesses and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions please call our office at 231-582-6482 or email us at and we will direct you promptly. 
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