Local First names LocalMotion winners

The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit presented the awards to nine organizations last night at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids.

LocalMotion awards are given to organizations for their commitment to social, environmental and economic responsibility.

ACTPhotoMedia | Naturally ACT
nC2C Gallery
nEcoBuns Baby + Co.
nJoJo’s House of Beauty
nManagement Business Solutions
nMindful Vinyasa School of Yoga
nMixed Staffing & Recruiting
nThe Romence Family (Local Legacy Award)

Elissa Hillary, president of Local First, said the organizations recognized are “excellent examples” of what it means to use business as a “force for good.”

“We applaud them for their commitment to positive social and environmental change in Grand Rapids and beyond,” Hillary said.

Winners of the seventh-annual awards were selected from a pool of 50 nominees.

To measure their impact, all nominees were asked to complete a Quick Impact Assessment, which was created in partnership between Local First and B Corporation certifier B Lab. The assessment quantifies a business' positive impact through a number of practices such as philanthropic efforts, employee satisfaction and responsible waste management.

Full Article by Charlsie Dewey

Building a new connection to place

If you had asked me a couple of years ago what home is, I would have said, “well, where my family is” or “West Michigan – I’ve always lived here.”

But what really makes home home?

Just over a year ago, I went on a big adventure. Four day road trip from Michigan ending in Ventura, California – my new town. I quickly realized that I had taken for granted the other elements of what makes a home – a supportive community and local businesses.

So I began to explore and meet people who have helped me build connection to place.

When I first moved and was searching for a job, I would start my mornings with a walk from my house down the beach to this darling coffee shop (Kay’s Coffee Shop) and talk with the owner. Not only is their coffee fantastic, they locally-source their coffee and teas, and sell handmade pottery from a neighborhood artist (Lorna Christian).

I know my waitress by name at my favorite breakfast joint (Pete’s Breakfast House) and leave with a smile and a fully belly every time. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Nature’s Grill and The Farmer and The Cook – two of the best natural food restaurants in town).

I used B Corporation’s “Find a B Corp” search tool to find out businesses that are a part of the movement in my town. So far Ventura has two B Corps – Patagonia (of course) and The Refill Shoppe, a body and home bulk liquids store on Main Street.

I’ve spent a couple Fridays last fall picking and then canning my own raspberries and Roma tomatoes from Underwood Family Farms. I love this farm because they are community-education oriented (and have lots of opportunities for family fun on the farm). This January I became a CSA member with one of my coworkers. We split a huge box of veggies every week and I love experimenting with new recipes and adding variety to my diet.

On weekends I like to take advantage of the area bike trails and head up to Ojai, with a pit stop at The Ojai Beverage Company (where you can sometimes find Founders on tap). Or I might go for a long hike in the mountains in Malibu and refuel at the iconic restaurant and surf spot Neptune’s Net.

I got plugged in at my local library and found a community service opportunity and new friends through their adult learner program.

Through local businesses, I connect to my place in a new way. I’ve met so many interesting people and become a regular at a few shops and local hangouts. Most importantly, I’m becoming more rooted in this new community that I call home.

Local First initiates more inclusive LocalMotion Awards

Local First is changing up its LocalMotion Awards in 2017. In an effort to be more inclusive to West Michigan’s diverse range of ownership, Local First has eliminated the previous award categories and will recognize businesses in a more equitable way. 

nMore than 50 businesses will be celebrated at the Annual Meeting and LocalMotion Awards on January 25, 2016 at the Goei Center. These businesses have been nominated for LocalMotion Awards by their peers, customers, clients, friends, colleagues, and employees for their work in the community.

This year, Local First will award eight businesses for their positive social, environmental and economic effects in West Michigan. To measure their impact, these businesses were asked to complete the Quick Impact Assessment, which quantifies their positive impact through business practices such as philanthropic efforts, employee satisfaction, and responsible waste management. This assessment, created by Local First and B Lab, was reformatted in 2016 to be easier to complete. The more user-friendly platform has resulted in a record number of candidates.

“We wanted to let businesses share their innovative practices with us, rather than prescribing specific award categories,” says Elissa Hillary, President of Local First. “Since the launch of the awards six years ago, some of the most pressing issues in our community have changed.  We want to recognize businesses who are addressing these needs.”

nThe LocalMotion Awards began in 2010 as a way to recognize local businesses and individuals for their achievements in making our community more vibrant and resilient. Since then, hundreds of businesses and individuals have been nominated and dozens have been honored.

nFor the first time, the Annual Meeting will feature live art provided by Picardo Art, Sanctuary Folk Art, and The Collect Artspace. Each artist will create pieces of art during the pre-award reception. Erick Picardo hopes this will help those who watch gain a new appreciation of what artists do.

“Experience in relation to art creates an active emotional response in the spectator,” he says. “This could not occur without feeling emotionally involved in it.”

Live music will be provided by local band Desmond Jones.

nAll awards will be given during the Annual Meeting. Tickets are $40 presale; $50 at the door. Admission includes a strolling dinner and live entertainment. Cash bar and non-alcoholic beverages will be available.

Nominations for the awards were submitted by community members and businesses. Anyone could nominate a local business or an individual who exemplifies the qualities a specific award honors. Nominees then filled out an application and took the Quick Impact Assessment in order to provide sustainability metrics. An award committee made up of business owners and community stakeholders selected the winners. For a list of previous winners, visit www.localfirst.com/sustainability/localmotion-awards.

n7th Annual Meeting and LocalMotion Awards
nWednesday, January 25, 2017
n5:00-9:00 pm
nGoei Center
n818 Butterworth Street SW
nGrand Rapids, MI 49504

See who's coming on Facebook


1-800-Dry Clean

616 Lofts

834 Design & Marketing

ACTPhotoMedia | Naturally ACT

Art of the Table

Arts in Motion Studio

Balanced 4 Life Chiropractic

Becker & Sanders Quality Construction 

The Bitter End Coffeehouse

Blushing Goddess Salon


C2C Gallery

Cascade Chiropractic Clinic

Celebration! Cinemas

Chocolates by Grimaldi

Confident Living | Confident Wear 

The Cottage Bar & Restaurant

Donut Conspiracy  


EcoBuns Baby + Co.

Field & Fire Bakery and Café

Fish Lads

Glamour & Grit

Gold Coast Doulas

Gordon Water Systems

Grand Rapids Natural Health

Grandview Orchards

Holland Aquatic Center

Horrock's Market

Ideal Bodyworks 

JoJo's House of Beauty, Inc.

Lightfast Café



Make Me Up Foundation

Management Business Solutions

Marie Catrib’s

Meanwhile Bar

Mindful Vinyasa School of Yoga

Mixed Staffing & Recruiting

Novo Chiropractic Sports & Wellness Center

One World Diversity 

The Piano Cottage 

Porteen Gear

Ron Jackson Insurance Agency

Rowster Coffee 

Shelley Irwin, WGVU Morning Show

Sugar Mommas Bakery

The Sovengard

Tripelroot Brewery

United Bank of Michigan

Wealthy at Charles

Well Being LLC

WYCE–88.1 FM

YT Galleria

The #1 Challenge For Small Businesses in 2017: Hiring

As the economy continues to grow at an ideal rate, many small business owners (SBOs) will find themselves fully immersed in the growth cycle in 2017. Employing high quality employees will be essential to sustain and support that growth.

However, with unemployment at its lowest since 2008, and over half of all businesses planning to hire in 2017, finding the right talent is becoming increasingly difficult.

As a result, hiring and retaining top talent will be one of the biggest challenges SBOs face this year.

So, how can you stand out from large competitors, and ensure your company is able to sustain and support future growth?

1. Strategize methods for attracting potential candidates.

Use various methods to find and reach applicants. To improve your chances of finding top talent, add variety to your recruitment sourcing. Post job ads on local websites and publications; utilize targeted social media campaigns; recruit on college campuses, through networking efforts, etc,

Don't downplay the importance of the job description. Equally as important as a detailed cover letter for job seekers, is developing and advertising the perfect job description. A job description should be viewed as an introduction to potential employees, one that can either drive further interest or propel great candidates away.

Implement an effective Employee Referral Program (ERP). ERPs offer a quick, low-cost and high-quality way of finding staff. And unlike other methods, they offer access to passive job seekers – qualified people who, under the right circumstances, may be good candidates for open positions.

2. Develop strategies for acquiring top talent.

Maximize the candidate experience through the job application process. Talent acquisition has become a seller's market, making it increasingly important to have an efficient application process. Today's job seekers know their worth and are aware of the competitive landscape. If one employer takes too long to respond or makes it difficult to apply, they'll quickly pass it up for another job opening.

Develop a consistent, thorough interviewing process. All businesses should have an efficient and effective interviewing process that includes, among many steps, a thorough screening process. Focus on 3 main items when screening potential candidates: verifying the validity of their resume, testing for role fit as well as cultural fit.

Don’t be afraid to hire an independent contractor vs. an employee. Hiring employees is both expensive and time consuming. As an alternative, you can hire an independent contractor or freelancer to fill a temporary need, or on a trial basis to see how you like having assistance.

3. Focus on retaining high performing employees long-term.

Seek Employee Feedback. Regular communication creates an energizing, healthy work environment. Collecting feedback from employees provides insight into how workers think of the company they represent, giving clues as to the cause(s) of employee turnover, and ways to improve employee retention.

Offer a compelling benefits package. Benefits provide additional value to employees, and encourage them to stick around long-term. Offering a compelling benefits package helps reduce employee turnover. potentially boosting revenue. Utilize employee feedback to determine which benefits will prove most effective.

Invest within your organization. The younger generation of workers sees career change as constant. In fact, nearly half of millennials expect to change jobs every 1-3 years. To retain quality employees, create significant growth opportunities for existing employees, and promote from within before seeking new applicants.

About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a proud Local First member. 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, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!

Contact us through email at info@stingrayadvisorygroup.com today!