Planning an event? Hire a local caterer!

The season for celebration is upon us! If you are planning a holiday party and are hiring a caterer to chef up your food, make sure to keep your dollars local and support one of our fabulous West Michigan based caterers. Below is a list of a variety of food businesses who cater, many of them offering options that accommodate a range of dietary restrictions. Enjoy!

A Movable Feast – (616) 401-8574

Applause Catering + Events – (616) 940-0001

Backyard Grillmasters BBQ – (616) 724-5383

Beechwood Inn Catering – (616) 396-2355

Boatwerks – (616) 396-0600

Burnzies’ Kitchen – (616) 530-1200

The Cheese Lady – (616) 242-9880

Gettin' Fresh – (616) 308-1177

Gilmore Catering – (616) 356-2627 x116

The Grilling Company – (616) 295-4656

JK’s Bakehouse & Deli – (616) 298-2166

Joe2Go – (616) 395-5950

Kitchen 67 – (616) 272-3778

Luna – (616) 288-6340

Maddalena’s Catering Company – (616) 451-3663

Marie Catrib’s – (616) 454-4020

Martha’s Catering – (616) 459-0116

Masen James Bakery – (616) 514-8696

MudPenny – (616) 259-5353

One Trick Pony – (616) 235-7669

Pietro’s/Three Chefs Catering – (616) 452-3228 

Uccello’s – (616) 954-2002

Vault Catering & Events – (616) 454-3847

The Waldron – (616) 454-9105

Thinking Outside the Box – Moving Your Business From ‘Good’ to ‘Great’

Merriam-Webster defines greatness as “exceptionally high quality” and equates it to excellence, perfection and distinction.

When it comes to business, it is easy to think about bottom line profits, growth, scalability and outperforming the competition. While those are all important aspects, there are countless other factors that impact what can make a business great. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Art of Celebrated Service event, which featured speaker Bo Burlingham. Among multiple roles and accolades, Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big. During his presentation, he discussed factors that impacted how he determined the companies that were highlighted in Small Giants. Here are three takeaways that I found to be very impactful:

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    Being big and being great are two different things – We need to recognize the difference. It is easy to take on the mindset that a business must be large to be successful, exceptional and impact those around them. When you take a step back, however, it is quite clear that this is not the case. Individuals have the opportunity to positively impact their colleagues, customers, suppliers and communities every day. No matter the size of the organization, we all have the opportunity to be distinct and excellent.


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    Be intentional and strategic with your decisions and planning. Once you have a vision, stand by it! Having a mission and purpose is crucial to your long-term success. You can liken it to having a road map. By being able to refer back to your vision and goals when new opportunities present themselves, it will make it easy to say, ‘yes, this is in line with our vision’ or ‘no, this isn’t a good fit for us’. It will also make for better team cohesion and communication.


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    Businesses help shape the community and must hold themselves to a higher standard. Whether it is through your actual products or services, charitable giving, volunteering or sustainability initiatives, we all have an impact on our community at large. This is something to be cognizant of. By being deliberate and intentional with your planning and actions, it can lead to a much further reach and impact that you may realize.


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We all have the power and opportunity to positively impact those around us, while holding fast to our vision and, in turn, being Good For Grand Rapids. As you review your performance this year and plan for 2018, keep these things in mind. We would love to hear what will you do to move the needle from ‘good’ to ‘great’.


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 Follow us today on Facebook and Twitter for more helpful tips!

Holiday happenings in Grand Rapids and Holland

The turkey has been carved and the decorations are up. It's safe to say the Holiday Season is upon us. There are so many events going on around you that you may want to check out! Here are just a few of the events to look forward to.To find out more about the local businesses to explore, visit the Local First member directory

Grand Rapids Area Events

Blanket the Community November 21 thru New year’s day
nMany families in the Grand Rapids area struggle to meet their basic needs. This blanket drive hosted by United Bank Branch is a chance to do something about it. Donations can be brought to any United Bank Branch in your area. Learn more

Light Up Downtown December 1, 5:00–7:00pm
nThe annual lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Grand Rapids. Along with the opening of a wonderful winter attraction, Rosa Parks ice rink. Learn more

29th Annual Holiday Artists Market Presented by Steelcase December 2, 10:am–6:00pm
nShop for crafted gifts and goods from regional artists. There will also be music and beverages provided by local musicians and vendors. Learn more

Uptown Shop-Hop December 7, 4:00–10:00pm
nThis event has been taking place for over 20 years. It introduces patrons to four unique uptown shopping districts: East Fulton, Eastown, East Hills, and Wealthy Street. Free shuttles will be provided throughout the day to get between districts. Over 150 businesses participate in this event. Learn more

Holiday Pop-Up Market December 9, 12:00–5:00pm
nThe Sovengard will host artists, businesses, and makers to curate some fantastic one-of-a-kind gifts that you can feel good about. Dining and beverages will be available before, during, and after the market. Learn more

Last Chance Holiday Market December 10, 4:00–8:00pm
nLocal artists and vendors pack the front and back of the Pyramid Scheme. Check out their goods and get ideas for everyone on your list. Learn more

Holland Area Events

Tree Lighting in The Square December 2, 11:00am–8:00pm
nThe businesses in Washington Square host a day of holiday fun. Learn more

Up on the Rooftops December 8, 6:00–9:00pm
nThis event gives visitors a chance to tour the rarely seen second story of downtown Holland. Businesses participating in this event will be open for self-guided tours. There will also be a dessert reception either before or after the tour at the Fifth Third Bank building on 8th street. Learn more

Holiday Kerstmarkt November 18–December 8
nThis outdoor European-style market features holiday items such as trees and ornaments, amazing food, and artisan demonstrations located in the 8th street marketplace. Learn more

Downtown Holland's Annual Shopping Jam December 9, 8:00–10:00am
nShop between 8:00 and 9:00 and save 30{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} off. Shop between 9:00 and 10:00am will save you 25{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} off at least one item. Learn more

Shop small: It matters

Small Business Saturday is on November 25 this year. This nation-wide event is just one way we can show some much-deserved love to the local businesses that make our community unique and our economy strong. As we always do, Local First and our members encourage the West Michigan community to shop local before, during, and after the holiday season. 

If you're looking for other places to support for Small Business Saturday, the Local First Membership Directory is a great resource. All of our members are locally-owned, privately held, and headquartered in West Michigan. Which means more of your dollars stay here.

Here are just a few businesses who have special events this weekend:

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    Art of the Table is a specialty food, beverage, and table top retail store. They provide delicious products for entertaining and makes the big and small moments of life more memorable. For Small Business Saturday, customers will be able to taste desserts from one of their vendors, Sweetaly Dolceria, from 11am-2pm. Learn more


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    Ball Park Floral has been creating distinctive floral designs since 1904. This Friday and Saturday, they'll have mini poinsettia plants for $5, 20{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} off Christmas Crunch, and 10{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} off any custom Christmas centerpiece order.


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    Field and Fire Bakery specializes in artisan breads and croissants, made with organic flours and grains. To celebrate Small Business Saturday, their bakery location will be offering a $5 gift card with any purchase over $20. 


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    Fustini’s of Holland offers quality oils and vinegars so it can be a part of great food, culinary creativity and the nourishment of the foodie inside everyone. Head to the Holland location, try some samples, and take a selfie of your Fustini's purchase. When you tag Fustini's Holland on Facebook or Instagram, you'll be entered to win a 200ml 4-bottle “Taste of Michigan” gift set. 


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    JabberDesign Mobile App Development is a offering 20{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} off either their Power Marketing Package or their Advanced Mobile App Package in celebration of Small Business Saturday.


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    Lindo Mexico is a Mexican restaurant specializing in fresh food. From November 23 to December  25, they will give you an extra $5 gift card for every $25 gift card purchase.


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Shop small!

Lifting up great businesses!

Local First wants to recognize those using business as a force for good. Help us call out local entrepreneurs and celebrate the ways they use their business to create a positive impact in our community. Lakeshore business owners will be honored at the Lakeshore Annual Meeting in February. Grand Rapids businesses will be honored at the first Good for Grand Rapids Awards in March.

Lakeshore LocalMotion Award nominees must fit the Local First membership criteria (they do not have to be a member of Local First). The Good for Grand Rapids Awards encompass a broader spectrum of businesses. Any business in the greater Grand Rapids area is eligible. 

All nominees will be asked to complete the Quick Impact Assessment, which will be used to determine the award recipients. Deadline for all candidates is December 1, 2017. 
nNominate your favorite Lakeshore business (or your own!)
nTake the QIA if you're a business owner in Grand Rapids
nAlign yourself with these awards (tax deductible)! Packages for the Grand Rapids and Lakeshore Annual Meeting available. Good for Grand Rapids Awards sponsorship package coming soon! Email for more information.

#MIKidsCan Snack Time! Kid-Approved Smoothies from Malamiah Juice Bar

Content courtesy of

How often have you reached for pantry snacks like chips and pretzels, knowing they were your family’s favorite but not necessarily all that nutritious? On those hectic days where you’re rushing from work to school to soccer games to band practice, you don’t always have the time or energy to convince your kids to eat something healthier for a quick bite. But what if you could get the younger members of your family to snack on a wide array of fresh produce without complaints?

Teaching children healthy habits from a young age is important (about 80 percent of overweight adolescents grow up to become obese adults), and there’s no better place to start than in the kitchen. The secret to getting your young ones to be mindful eaters is to show how fun it can be to make nutritious foods that also taste amazing. This has been one of the core missions of #MIKidsCan for years. Our search for Michigan-inspired healthy dishes that kids will love took us to Grand Rapids, where Malamiah Juice Bar founder Jermale Eddie demonstrated the tasty power of juicing!

A child’s taste buds are quite sensitive to bitterness, which is why they don’t always love green veggies. To encourage kids in eating their daily servings of this important food group, we recommend blending dark leafy greens with sweeter fruits and creamy yogurt. Malamiah’s Spinach Kale Fruit Juice, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, and Avocado Pineapple Blend are all yummy examples of how to (somewhat sneakily) get kids to eat their veggies—and even ask for seconds! These concoctions are each packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, which are essential for reducing flu and cold symptoms should they catch something at school.

Making juices and smoothies can be the first step in your child’s journey toward becoming a real cooking pro. Creating meals from scratch is a perfect opportunity for elementary-age children to use math skills while measuring out ingredients like flax, coconut milk and chia seeds. They can also learn techniques like how to form a claw with their hands when cutting foods with a knife.

Consider getting a good collection of fruits, veggies and other mix-ins (or a full-on produce box delivery), and to enable kids to experiment. Their creativity and selections could surprise and amaze you! Our videographer, who hadn’t eaten fresh produce since he was a child, got the chance to try out the #MIKidsCan juices and even he was blown away by how simple and satisfying they were.

Special thanks to Jermale, his family and Malamiah Juice Bar for helping #MIKidsCan inspire the next generation of healthy Michiganders. Interested in tips, recipes, contests and sweepstakes? Learn more!

A Healthier Michigan's mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.