From the Economic Development Desk of the
March 17, 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.
What a difference a year makes! I know that sounds cliché but last March all the news was bad. COVID cases and deaths were climbing exponentially, the stock market was in a freefall, people were hoarding toilet paper and food, and developer activity ground to a total halt. The only calls I received were from small businesses wanting to know what help was available. We were just getting started to roll out the first small business grant program through the MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) and the government was in the planning phases of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan, the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) and other grant programs. Those were trying times for many.

Today, the situation is very different. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate, for me, better days are ahead. As support for my claim, I offer the following:

  • The 600 Walnut project is now underway. The property at 600 Walnut Street was formerly part of Alpena Community College and is being redeveloped into an office building for lease to the State of Michigan. The redevelopment of the 2.14 acre site includes the removal of the existing building and construction of a 15,800 square foot one-story office building.  
  • A developer is working hard to bring APS a new bus garage and redeveloping the current site into an ALDI. Progress continues with all parties seeking a means to get this accomplished.
  • The same developer is also working on a Marshall store to be located on Bagley Street between Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union and Walgreens. There are still many details to work out to get this done, but all parties are working hard to make it happen. I am hopeful.
  • We have several developers looking to build a new Fish and Wildlife office and storage location within the city. Several of these developers have already secured property for this long-term federal government lease.
  • Target owns several lots on Commerce Drive. Recently I have been approached to sell two of the lots for a new business enterprise.  
  • A developer that owns property on M-32 between Culvers and the Meijer’s gas station called me recently to let me know they intend on executing their development plans for that site which will feature three new businesses that will be wonderful additions to the community. They have owned this site for four years and have determined it is time to move forward.
  • A local realtor has indicated they are working with a developer from the west side of the state that has expressed interest on our riverfront property that was formerly the Alpena Power site. While the developer has not reached out to meet at this point, they are indicating their development goals for that site include lower-level retail and upper-level condos. The lack of housing inventory and increase in real estate values make this project more viable. The cost of building and construction materials and lack of local contractors represent headwinds as most of our local contractors are booked well into the future.  

It is encouraging to see so much development interest and activity. Clearly there is pent up demand not just from us as consumers but from those that have the entrepreneurial interests.  

Of course, it goes without saying that these projects do not come together without the help and support of many different stakeholders including, buyers and sellers, adjacent property owners, township, city, and county officials. What I have found is that if those involved agree it is good for the area, then we all benefit from the development.  

What a difference a year makes! Hang in there, I truly believe better days are ahead. I feel very bullish on the future of Alpena! Join me in spreading the positive vibe. 

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
Huntington Bank
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
Sponsor Level ($475)
Alcona Health Center 
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 Crow Realty
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
Sixty Minutes to Freedom
Skiba Insurance Service
SkyWest Airlines
Specification Stone Products
Star Staffing Alpena
Straley Lamp & Kraenzlein P.C.
Stratford Group Ltd.
Sunrise Behavioral Health Clinic
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 National Marine Sanctuary
Thunder Bay Therapy & Sports Medicine
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
White, Wojda and Curtis
Wolgast Corporation
Young Appliance, Electronics, Furniture & Mattresses
Zen 24 Hour Fitness Center