Learn more about the Good for Grand Rapids award recipients

Local First hosted our inaugural Good for Grand Rapids Awards ceremony last week. Thanks again for everyone who came out to help us celebrate business as a force for good! Thank you also to everyone to participated in the campaign this year. In case you missed it, here is a snapshot of each of the award recipients and the things they do to make our community great. You can also check out the highlights on Facebook!

Good for the Environment

Furniture City Creamery
nFurniture City Creamery handcrafts from-scratch, gourmet and unique ice cream flavors and frozen treats from its quaint storefront in the East Hills shopping district. Every flavor begins with its own recipe, which has been engineered until it becomes a work of culinary art. 
nFurniture City Creamery is “Good for the Environment” because they strive to engineer thoughtfully created and delicious products in a sustainable way, considering facets beyond the bottom line. They serve and sell their treats using compostable and reusable materials and use up-cycled furniture to build their ice cream carts. In 2017, owners researched compostable push pops to bring to Local First’s Fork Fest. 

Community Automotive 
nIn its 43rd year of serving Grand Rapids, Community Automotive is an automotive repair and service company located on Fulton Street. They were founded with a vision to enhance the surrounding neighborhood by providing auto repair services and making a positive impact on the environment. 
nCommunity Automotive is “Good for the Environment” because they are committed to continuously improving the products they offer, the customer care that is given, and the environmental impact they have. They recently became one of the only LEED certified auto repair stores in the U.S. They recycle all metal products from vehicles, old tires, electronics and paper and plastic parts. In addition, 95 percent of their shop’s heat is produced with waste oil from cars. 

Good for the Community

Hire for Hope
nHire for Hope is a socially-conscious recruiting firm focused on hiring sales and operations professionals for West Michigan companies. They partner with a diverse client base and assists with finding top talent for permanent mid- to senior-level positions. 
nHire for Hope is “Good for the Community” because giving back is a permanent part of their mission. They have a philanthropic focus, donating 10 percent of their revenue to Safe Haven Ministries, a local nonprofit and domestic violence agency located in West Michigan. As a survivor of domestic abuse, owner and founder Ashley Ward is dedicated to giving women and children access to the same services and resources that helped her thrive. 

Celebration! Cinema
nCelebration! Cinema and Studio C! are committed to creating space where magic happens.  They do this through their people, programing, community partnerships, and gathering spaces. 
nCelebration! Cinema is “Good for the Community” because of their intentional and inclusive practices. In addition to hiring individuals who reflect the communities in which they operate, they empower their staff through business transparency and training on the art of celebrated service. They bring the community together through partnerships with organizations such as DisArt, Mosaic Film Experience, Treetops Collective, Partners for a Racism-Free Community, WGVU and many others. Their space is often used as a hub for community events and fundraisers and their Sensory Showtimes make movies welcoming for individuals in the disabled community.

Good for Governance

Glamour and Grit Floral
nGlamour and Grit Floral offers beautiful, environmentally and socially conscious floral design. As a floral designer, Glamour and Grit is committed to reducing their carbon footprint by composting all flower clippings, using recycled glass vases and offering locally grown flowers and plants. 
nGlamour and Grit Floral is “Good for Governance” because they truly care about the Grand Rapids community and want to see it thrive. They practice financial transparency with their employees and constantly look for ways to improve their practices. They also set goals for social and environmental performance, which they share publicly with their staff and clients. 

Wolverine Coil Spring
nFor over 70 years, Wolverine Coil Spring Co. has manufactured springs, coils, stampings and forms for the automotive, office furniture and other industries. They are committed to being a great place to work and to also being involved in the community. 
nWolverine Coil Spring Co. is “Good for Governance” because they incorporated the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) into their mission statement and bylaws. They offer living wages, short-term and long-term disability, 401K benefits, and a workplace wellness program. Both the health and financial wellness of employees is part of their business structure. Every Friday, the Wolverine Coil Spring Co. team takes a walk along the river. They also provide an incentive-driven wellness plan that offers bonuses for employees who meet their health goals. 

Good for Employees

Lindo Mexico Restaurant
nLindo Mexico is a restaurant that exists to provide an exceptional experience to all its customers and accomplishes this by using high-quality ingredients, offering unique beverages and live music, and through their commitment to supporting the community. Lindo Mexico is founded on a culture that offers growth for employees to develop their skills so they can better serve themselves and the local community. 
nLindo Mexico is “Good for Employees” because they believe when they invest in employees, they are investing in family. They are committed to helping their staff grow and doing so through education. Gricelda Mata, owner of Lindo Mexico, says that she is happy to provide jobs, but is even happier when she is able to offer her employees a workshop that focuses on development.  

Malamiah Juice Bar
nMalamiah Juice Bar is a family-owned business that specializes in creating delicious juices and smoothies. They strive to provide a joyful environment that enhances the mood of all who interact with their business. They respect the planet by making choices that prioritize sustainability and intentionally contribute to local economic growth. 
nMalamiah Juice Bar is “Good for Employees” because they provide meaningful youth employment opportunities that help develop important life skills. They design their employment framework to provide young people with work-based mentoring and leadership development. In addition to building character and confidence, their employees are also learning the value of nutrition and healthy living.

Use Your Passion to Define Your Purpose

This week marks the first Good For Grand Rapids awards. The March 8th reception will acknowledge the 70+ local businesses that have completed the Quick Impact Assessment to date, the award finalists, and eight award recipients.

My company, Stingray Advisory Group, has completed the assessment and found it to be very insightful. It was helpful to see all of the moving parts within our business coming together and the impact they can have on those around us. It was also rewarding to see where we are excelling and how we can continue improving.

Completing the assessment internally and hearing about the awards made me curious about other organization’s thoughts about Local First membership and their insights on the Good For Grand Rapids campaign. So I decided to reach out to some of the companies being recognized.

Even though the companies I reached out to are all unique, several commonalities clearly shone through.

Networking is more than just business – it is connecting. If you have read any of my other blog posts or keep up with us on social media, you probably know that I (we) are huge proponents of networking and community involvement. I am not the only one.

Co-owner of Romence Gardens, Katey Romence says, “I appreciate the programs and opportunities that Local First offers its members. The networking has been my favorite part. I have met so may great business owners and employees and have loved the advice and friendships that I have built.”

We all have the opportunity to have an impact and to be impacted. No matter if it is large or small, each one of us can leave an imprint on the community. Our community can also help us grow and thrive.

“We love our community. Without the community, we wouldn’t have a business,” says Heather Berry, owner of gallery and event space, Lions & Rabbits.

Passion is powerful. Some of the best ideas come out of identifying something that is missing.  When you find your passion, greatness can happen.

This was what helped launch Lions & Rabbits. “I wanted to promote art awareness throughout the community. I think too often artists get looked over as far as the professional sense goes. Creating a space where artists can actively engage, grow and flourish has been extremely rewarding,” Berry shared.

Grand Rapids Natural Health Practice Owner and Director, Kelly S. Hassberger, ND, sums everything up beautifully.

“The reality is that one needs money to survive. This is the nature of our world, however, I also believe that you can find a career and gain financial success in a business that supports your passions, that supports you, supports your community and makes those around you better for being a part of what you are doing,” she says.

“I like to use the word ‘purpose’. My business has purpose and I have created it to better the lives of those that come into our space. That is being a force for good – doing what you love, loving what you are doing and bettering the world around you through your passions,” Hassberger elaborates.

What is your passion? And how it is helping you fulfill your purpose?

Hopefully, this week’s awards reception will provide an opportunity to learn more about these businesses and others within the community that are using their passion to do great things!

About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com. Follow us today on Facebook and Twitter for more helpful tips!