From the Economic Development Desk of the
June 16, 2021
You are receiving this email because your organization is at one of the economic development tiers with the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. As always, we encourage your comments and questions.
As you saw from my updates the last couple of months, there are some good things going on in our community. If you have heard any of my recent presentations, I have talked about three categories of projects: 
  1. those underway or soon to begin
  2. those in process/looking hopeful
  3. projects on the radar/being explored
I mention this in that each category will be influenced by market dynamics in a different manner. There are challenges to economic development in the market today. Let us look at market forces.

We are in a unique situation these days with the economy reopening after 15 months of lockdown helped with artificial support and stimulus, pent up consumer and corporate demand, households with enhanced savings to help fuel consumption, shortages of labor adding to supply chains already under strain, and many raw materials in short supply. Inflation appears to be at our doorstep. Prices are up and not showing signs of slowdown. In speaking with a builder this morning, ¾ inch OSB is now selling for more than $36 sheet. Less than a year ago it was just under $7 a sheet. Lumber prices rise in some cases weekly. Oil prices are up over $70 per barrel. Gas prices are the highest in over seven years. In late March of 2020, I saw gas for $1.13 a gallon in Oklahoma. In Alpena this week, $3.11 a gallon. Labor shortages are something I hear about daily in dealing with business owners. From laborers to truck drivers, to food service workers and all points between, willing workers are in short supply which is forcing up the price to attract them further adding to the cost of doing business and, of course and prices to the final consumer. I mention these economic issues to frame the impact they might have on the categories of projects I described in the first paragraph.

  • For group one, these headwinds will have the least impact. These projects are already underway so these projects might not be delayed or cancelled but the pricing of their products could be impacted which will affect us that do business with them. 
  • For group two, these projects might be more at risk since it is likely that when these projects were being considered, these economic forces were not in full swing. The cost of materials was lower and so the financial metrics likely still made sense. Clearly some of these projects will be impacted in a negative way causing delays until prices settle back and supply becomes available. 
  • For group three. These economic issues pose the greatest risk. Exploring the financial impact of the proposed investment will likely yield outcomes that do not make sense. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, the uncertainty of such a unique set of economic circumstances represents a further unknown that would be hard to measure as investors assess the level of risk.

The good news, prices are expected to retreat in the long term. Lumber, steel, and oil prices are expected to fall over time as more production comes on-line and as workers are hired and products and raw material begin to flow more freely. I suspect some of these projects will look more viable we move toward a more normalized operating environment. The question then will be is there still demand? Only time will tell. Enough of the economics talk! 

A few other quick updates:
  • Progress continues on the new daycare/learning center. The former K of C hall’s transformation is nearly complete, and the owner is hoping to be issued a license and open soon. They are pursuing a license to handle 100 children. 
  • The GSA was here last week to look at the potential sites for a new Fish and Wildlife office. It remains to be seen where the final location will be. What we know is that the site needs to be within the city limits and could be a new build or the repurpose of an existing site.
  • Glad to see the Habitat for Humanity Restore was able to secure additional land from Alpena Public Schools. Nice to see investment on the south end of town. 
  • The interest in the Commerce lots continues. More calls in recent weeks.   

Be Well, Stay Well,
We here at the chamber and economic development are still focused on our missions and continue to work for you.
Chairman Level ($3,201+)
Alpena Agency, Inc.
Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union
Alpena Community College
Alpena County
Alpena Power Company
Bannan Funeral Home
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Charter Township of Alpena
City of Alpena
Edward Jones – Andrew Kowalski
Edward Jones – Bryan Strong
Edward Jones – Charles R. Ingle
Edward Jones – Eric M. Ferguson
Edward Jones – Marc K. Ferguson
Edward Jones – Pamela Kirchoff
H.P.C. Credit Union
Huron Monuments and Memorials  
Lappan Agency
MidMichigan Health
Presque Isle County
Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op
Wolverine State Credit Union

Partner Level ($1,500) 
Alpena Community Credit Union
Alpena Public Schools
Bedrock Contracting and Excavating
Besser Company
Builders First Source
Clearview Car Wash
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan
Downtown Development Authority
Decorative Panels International (DPI)
DTE Energy
Employment Services Inc. (ESI)
ITC Holdings, Corp.
Keystone Rental Equipment
LeFave Pharmacy and Compounding
MI Stop Citgo/MI Stop Deli
Northland Area Federal Credit Union
Pennzoil Ten Minute Oil Change Center of Alpena
PNC Bank
Propane Plus Inc.
State Street Auto Wash
TCF Bank
Tier4 Technical Support
Timm Construction Company, LLC
Vintage Auto Wash
Sponsor Level ($475)
Alcona Health Center - Alpena
Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Alpena Beverage Company
Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
Alpena Events Complex
Alpena Glass Company, Inc.
Alpena News Publishing Company
Alpena Supply Company
Austin Brothers' Beer Company
Banner Realty
Besser Foundation
Boldrey, Senchuk, Rouleau & Williams, CPA's, PC
Bolenz Jewelry
Building Express Inc.
Capital One Spark Business
Century 21 Northland
Clark Construction Company
Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet Inc.
Cocoa Capital Corp
Compassus Hospice
Consumers Energy
Control Solutions Inc.
Cutting Edge Construction
Dean Arbour Ford Lincoln
Devere Industrial, LLC
Downtown Union 76 LLC
Everett Goodrich, Inc.
Fiber Char
H&R Block
Harbor North Dental Associates
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Huron Engineering & Surveying
Industrial Image, Inc.
Lewis & Lewis Professional Surveying, Inc.
McDonald's Restaurant
Meridian Contracting Services, LLC
Michigan Works Center
Midwest Diesel Service
Midwestern Broadcasting (WATZ)
Northern Abstract & Title Agency
Northern Eye
Omega Electric & Sign Company Inc.
Ossineke Industries
Plowman's Collision Service
Pompeyos Mexican Grill
Presque Isle Township
R.A. Townsend Company
R.S. Scott Associates, Inc.
Ramada Alpena
RE/MAX New Horizons
Real Estate One of Alpena
ServiceMaster Home & Office
Sherwin Williams
Skiba Insurance Service
SkyWest Airlines
Specification Stone Products
Star Staffing Alpena
Straley Lamp & Kraenzlein P.C.
Stratford Group Ltd.
Switzer Veterinary Clinic
Tarkington Family Dentistry
Team Elmer's
The Drug Store/Northern Exposure Framing & Matting
The Home Depot
Thunder Bay Accounting
Thunder Bay Electric, Inc.
Thunder Bay Eye Care
Thunder Bay Family Dentistry
Thunder Bay Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Thunder Bay Tree Services, LLC
True North Radio Network
W.G. Benjey Inc./S&A Company
Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
Werth Development, LLC
West Design Center, LLC
White, Wojda and Curtis
Wolgast Corporation
Young Appliance, Electronics, Furniture & Mattresses
Zen 24 Hour Fitness Center