Author: Amanda Loveland

Rep. Julie Alexander Response to Minimum Wage Increase

Update: 7/26/22

The Jackson Chamber works in partnership with local, state, and federal representatives to keep our Members updated on public policies and stances that affect their businesses. Due to the recent rulings on the Minimum Wage Increase, we asked Representative Julie Alexander to explain the expected appeals process and resources to express concerns. Her response is below.

July 26, 2022

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the state Court of Claims’ recent decision to declare two Michigan laws regarding minimum wage and paid sick leave unconstitutional. I understand many job providers in our community have questions about what this ruling means, and I will continue to closely monitor this issue as the situation unfolds.

In 2018, the state Legislature approved two plans on minimum wage and sick leave that protected Michigan jobs, state workers and their families, and our struggling economy. The issues were brought to light after out-of-state special interests helped bankroll two poorly written petition drives in our state. The Court of Claims recently ruled the Legislature acted unconstitutionally in passing these bills.

First and foremost, it’s important to note the controversial decision is not yet effective. Most civil judgments are automatically postponed for 21 days to give parties time to appeal. The decision was issued on July 19, so Aug. 9 is the first possible but highly unlikely enforcement date. If and when the enforcement date arrives, Michigan law would revert back to language in the original petition drives.

But there is a very good chance the postponement gets extended well past 21 days. An independent team within the Attorney General’s office — whom we support — has already filed a motion asking the court to postpone the ruling throughout the entire appeals process, which could take several years. In case the court denies the team’s motion, the team has also filed a notice of appeal, allowing it to make the same motion quickly in the Court of Appeals if needed.

Even though the laws in question were enacted in 2018, the current Legislature has been actively engaged with this case from the beginning. We intend to participate as much as possible at the Court of Appeals level, as well as at the state Supreme Court.  In the meantime, I can assure you we will continue to engage with impacted job providers to ensure your concerns and positions are heard.

Thank you again for contacting my office. I always encourage your feedback on important issues, as that helps me be an effective representative for our community at the state Capitol.

Sincerely,

State Representative Julie Alexander

64th District

Update on Minimum Wage Increase

Update: 7/21/22

Below is an update regarding the minimum wage, tip wage, and sick time changes happening at the State Level.

Craig Hatch, President & CEO of the Jackson Chamber, also posted an update on Facebook this morning. You can watch that HERE.

Tuesday night, Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro ruled that the adopt-and-amend strategy that was utilized during the 2018 legislative session for the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave ballot proposals was unconstitutional and that the laws that were adopted before being amended are now in effect. As a reminder, the legislature amended each of the two proposals, making them more tenable for the businesses required to implement them.
 
What does this mean?
While it is unclear at this time what the requirements are for implementation based on this ruling, a 21-day moratorium on the ruling exists, preventing its implementation until August at the very earliest. A summary of the two ballot proposals from 2018 that may be implemented as originally adopted by the legislature are as follows:

  • Minimum wage would be set at $12 per hour; the tipped minimum wage would be set at $9.60 (80% of full minimum wage). In 2023 the minimum wage would be adjusted based upon inflation and the tipped minimum wage would increase to 90% of the full wage and then match it in 2024 and thereafter.
  • Virtually every employer in the state, regardless of size, would be required to provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked (capped at 72 hours for employers with more than 10 employees and capped at 40 hours for employers with less than 10 employees).

What is next?
The state’s assistant attorney general leading the constitutionality argument filed a Motion for Stay on Wednesday afternoon, which would delay implementation of the ruling until all appeals have been exhausted if it is granted. The MRLA, through a quote from Justin Winslow picked up in the Detroit News, was referenced specifically in the motion to demonstrate the chaos and fallout that would ensue if the ruling were to be immediately impacted. If the stay is granted, it would essentially hold in abeyance implementation of the 2018 ballot proposal language detailed above until all legal appeals have been exhausted.

Source: Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association Newsletter, published 7/21/22

Immediately Increasing Michigan’s Minimum Wage

Update: 7/20/22

The MLC has sent out an important update to Michigan’s minimum wage, tip wage and establishing earned sick time. In an effort to update our Membership, we want to make sure you are aware of this change.

See the press release from the Michigan Legislative Consultants (MLC) below. We are speaking with our Public Policy & Advocacy Committee about what the Chamber’s role is on this matter.

Court Rules to Reinstate 2018 Citizens’ Initiated Law – Immediately Increasing Michigan’s Minimum Wage, Tip Wage and Establishing Earned Sick Time 

Late today, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the legislature’s 2018 “adopt and amend” strategy was unconstitutional and therefore, the state’s current minimum wage, tip wage, and paid medical leave laws are void and will be replaced with the 2018 citizens’ initiative ballot language. While an appeal of today’s decision is expected, the court’s decision was lauded by Attorney General Dana Nessel and many groups that lead the 2018 citizens’ initiative ballot drive. 

Background:
In 2018, after collecting enough signatures, two citizens’ initiatives were headed for the ballot when the legislature voted to approve of both in order to keep them off the ballot, where they would have likely been supported by voters. Soon after, the Michigan Legislature introduced two bills to amend and greatly reduce the impact of the citizens’ initiative which would have significantly raised the state’s minimum wage, required the tip wage by 100% of the minimum wage by 2024, and established an earned sick leave statute.

Based on today’s Court of Claims decision, the following is an overview of what will be instituted immediately:

Minimum and Tip Wage:
The first citizens’ initiative raised the minimum wage incrementally to $12/hour by January 1, 2022.  Beginning January 1, 2023, and on January 1 of each following year, the wage is adjusted by the rate of inflation with no cap. 

The tip wage was also increased incrementally – beginning January 1, 2022, it is 80% of the minimum wage; January 1, 2023, it will be 90% of the minimum wage; and starting on January 1, 2024, it will be 100% of the minimum wage.

Under the law that was voided by the court today, the minimum wage of $12.05/hour wouldn’t have been reached until 2030 and the tip wage was set at 38% of the state’s minimum wage.

Paid Sick Time:
The second citizens’ initiative expands the state’s earned sick time laws. It created the Earned Sick Time Act, providing workers with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, capped at 72 hours per year. 

While the outcome of the decision and the next steps to challenge the decision are currently unknown, MLC will provide additional updates as we learn more. 

Source: Michigan Legislative Consultants Insider Intelligence, published 7/19/22

Spring Arbor University Celebrates 150 Years

On September 2, 2023, Spring Arbor will officially be turning 150 years old. Spring Arbor will be hosting a variety of events throughout the entire school year to celebrate its sesquicentennial. Some new, some old, but all rooted in SAU’s tradition.

Despite being open for a century and a half, many of the traditions and values have held strong. SAU will be kicking off its school year with the Party in the Plaza on August 27. At this event, there will be a live concert, fireworks, food, activities for the whole family, prizes, giveaways, and even an unveiling of their new mascot. SAU will still be the Cougars we know, just with a new, updated look. This event is open to all ages and is completely free, so join the fun and celebrate what is only the beginning of their sesquicentennial year.

In honor of their sesquicentennial, SAU will be hosting additional events all year, some being exclusive to this year. Other traditions will be bigger and better than ever before, like homecoming festivities beginning October 1 and the Hanging of the Greens on December 2, which will include a live concert, wagon rides, cocoa, cookies, and fireworks.

SAU sets itself apart from other universities based on the foundations it was built on back in 1873, which are providing access to learning and welcoming everyone into their community. They also provide high-quality, Christ-centered education. Being a liberal arts school allows each student to learn outside of their major. No matter what path a student chooses at SAU, it will be something worthwhile in many ways outside of just education.

One of SAU’s unique traditions that the freshman will be participating in at the Parting at the Plaza, once they move in, is the group blessing where each student holds a piece of ribbon while gathered in a circle to signify the start of their journey together at SAU. At that point, the family leaves, and education begins. This event mirrors the night after the seniors’ baccalaureate and night before commencement, where each student participates in the Cutting of the Ivy. Each of these events bookends the students’ time at SAU.

If there’s any institution that can rock a name like sesquicentennial, it’s Spring Arbor University. SAU is proud to be a part of the community of Jackson and invite everyone to celebrate their 150th year with them. Join SAU in their sesquicentennial celebrations by going to SAU150.org.

Big Plans for a Community Staple

The Jackson Crossing Mall has been a staple of our community for decades. It’s where you may have bought your new shoes for the school year, your mom’s favorite Christmas gifts, or even made the quick Target run. There are huge developments coming and big dreams behind closed revolving doors.

Jane Flores, General Manager of the Jackson Crossing, oversees the three sections of the mall. The first of those sections is the Jackson Plaza, which includes the restaurants and shops along Boardman Road like Texas Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Best Buy. The next is the Jackson Crossing Mall, which of course has your Target, Kohl’s, and TJ Maxx. Then, finally, the third of the triad is Jackson West located along Wisner Street, which includes places like the Michael’s, Office Max, and Xfinity.

Jane is new to the Jackson Crossing as of this year and absolutely loves it. She is all about what the mall gives to visitors, not just to maintain what’s already there, but to attract, improve, and repair the mall Jackson has known and loved for years. After spending the last 20 years in San Antonio, she’s excited to implement what she’s learned in her previous position and bring some of that excitement to the Jackson Crossing. So far, in the short time that Jane has been at the Crossing, she has made a more family-friendly area over by Jackson Popcorn Depot, to suit visitors of all ages. She has also resurrected some horses that were found in storage and used back when the mall had a carousel back around the time it was built in 1960.

Beginning in July, the Crossing will have food trucks for employees of the mall and shoppers to enjoy, and that’s only the beginning of some of the exciting things coming to the mall. Though she can’t reveal everything that’s in store, she hopes to bring in massage chairs for shoppers to kick their feet up after a long afternoon of walking the mall. Subtle aesthetic changes are coming, but as always, the mall will revolve around the same thing: fun for the whole family. With the expansion of what the mall has to offer, Jane is looking to hire a part-time social media manager to really showcase what’s going on. This position will offer flexible hours and plenty of creative freedom.

The Crossing has experienced some sleepiness in recent years. That can be attributed to the fact that we’re all used to online shopping since the pandemic, or because you may think you already know what’s there. However, slowly but surely, Jane has noticed an increase in foot traffic in recent months. She shared that there’s even a group of seniors who walk the mall in the mornings together. The mall is a great place to explore and see what’s new. Next time you run in for an errand or to return some clothes, take the time to walk the mall. You may come across a jewelry repairer who can fix that broken chain that’s been in your drawer for months or an acupuncturist who can fix that back pain that doesn’t seem to be going away.

Those at the Crossing are excited to see entrepreneurs and local businesses expand into the mall. There are a few vacancies waiting to be filled by local businesses. Jackson Crossing is a great place for a local business to thrive. There isn’t anything Jane and her team wouldn’t love to see open in the mall. The sky is the limit! It’s time to re-acquaint yourself with what the Crossing is and can be.

Kiosks Available!

Though Jane has a lot of new and exciting ideas for the future of the Crossing, she hopes to bring back tradition at the same time. The Crossing was once known as a place to spend the day to hang out with friends, socialize, walk around, and even grab some food. Jane hopes to see the Crossing become that sort of destination again in the future. She said proudly “If they did it then, I can do it now.”

If your business is looking to open a brick-and-mortar, or you or someone you know may be interested in becoming Jackson Crossing’s Social Media Manager, contact Jane at Jane@ShopJacksonCrossing.com. to take the first step.

H.B. Fuller Makes It Stick

These dumping machines have been used since the ’40s.

Would you believe there’s a massive plant in Jackson that makes products you use every day, but never thought about? The sticky stuff on your bandages, your tape, your windows, even the stuff that keeps your toilet paper together; it’s all made at H.B. Fuller.

A few Chamber team members had the opportunity to get the full behind-the-scenes at H.B. Fuller, led by Dan Dixon, Senior Project Engineering Manager. Dan works on the major capital projects, mainly at the facility in Michigan Center. The Michigan Center facility is H.B. Fuller’s largest. At this facility, they produce adhesives and sealants that you can find in some places that may surprise you.

Wind seal used in automobiles

H.B. Fuller produces everyday products like glue, superglue, PIB (polyisobutylene), caulk, roofing primers, and more. Some brands you may recognize, like Gorilla Glue and Red Devil, contain material made right in the Michigan Center facility. Odds are, if you look in your toolbox, garage, or even your junk drawer, you’re bound to find one of these things. However, you won’t see an H.B. Fuller label during your next trip to the hardware store. They create the material that makes these products sticky or sealed. A name brand you see on the shelf takes that material and sells it under their brand.

At the Michigan Center plant, they have around 300 employees, each working in three shifts. H.B. Fuller is a global facility that’s divided into three different business units or divisions:

1. Construction adhesive (This plant can be found right in Jackson County.)

2. Engineering adhesive

3. HHC consumer products (adhesives for diapers, toilet paper, and even makeup)

When you’re buying caulk for your latest home improvement project, you’re not thinking of the process of how it got to the shelf of your local hardware store. It’s surprisingly fascinating to watch it happen.

Butyl (rubber) pellets

Caulk starts out as a butyl rubber base, which is masticated (blended to break down) in process equipment. Out of this comes what Dan called a “master batch.” This then is made into pellets and put into another mixer where powder is added. Oil is added to help break the rubber down and is mixed until it softens. Powders are used as extenders to make the batch bigger, then a solvent is added. It’s at this point that the material won’t harden until it is exposed to air. That material is then put in a quart, pint, or tube, ready to be added to your toolbox.

Liquid rubber comes out at about 420 degrees and is used for products like bandages.

Beyond the machinery and materials of it all, H.B. Fuller does more than just create. Dan explained that H.B. Fuller is always working on making eco-friendly improvements. They’re currently looking into lower VOC (volatile organic compounds) for primers and caulks. Some solvents can be bad for the atmosphere, and H.B. Fuller is looking for more ways to replace things that are harmful while increasing safety and sustainability.

H.B. fuller also participates in Earth Day cleanups, recognizes a Volunteer of the Year, and organizes food and blood drives. “It’s a pretty giving organization,” Dan stated as he explained the many ways H.B. Fuller is involved in the community. Their generosity is seen continuously through volunteer work and community involvement.

Next time you’re looking through a window, wrapping a gift, or fixing a broken toy, you can thank H.B. Fuller for turning your sticky situation into a problem solved. You can learn more about H.B. Fuller by going to their website to see community involvement, what they do, and job openings.

Serene Community, Flourishing Wildlife, and Premier Golf in Your Own Backyard

The Grande Golf Club is undoubtedly one of the premier courses Jackson County has to offer. With scenic water features, forestry, and fairways as far as the eye can see, it’s a course that stands out among the rest not only the course, but the homes that line the course are truly jaw-dropping.

Photo by: WindowStill Photography

It’s any homeowner’s dream to reside in a secluded sanctuary. Now, at the Grande Estates, you can cozy up in your luxury home and quaint community, while still just being a short drive from the grocery store or your favorite local restaurant. The Grande Estates is run by two talented real estate brokers, Shannon Jackson, and Teresa Schenk, both of which wear many hats. Teresa is the builder and developer of the estates and golf club. She is the mastermind behind each beautiful home that becomes part of the Grande Estates. Teresa is accompanied by Shannon, who shows the homes, works on events and marketing, and assists Teresa on the projects that make the Grande Estates possible.

Photo by: WindowStill Photography

The Grande Estates is an on-course community located at the Grande Golf Club that consists of custom homes. Each home is built in a different variety of modern farmhouse styles. Those styles include ranch and cape cod, each with a view-out or walk-out and daylight basements. All homes fit the same feel but are completely unique at the same time. Each home is custom built in partnership with architect of Wayne Visbeen of Visbeen Architects.

The homes built within the Grande Estates each have an indoor-outdoor feel, having large windows that allow the beautiful nature scenes of the course to come in. Along with that is an open floor plan, designed to make every home feel open and airy. Each home is complete with a first-floor master suite, two to three bedroom floor plans, basements that allow for natural light to come in, and flexible spaces for offices, bedrooms, and entertaining. Teresa is able to take what each person envisions in their home and bring it to life. She is continuously trying to hit features that clients are looking for with modern features and open kitchens and living spaces.

Photo by: WindowStill Photography

The Grande Golf Club is an 18-hole course that has been originally rated as one of the top 10 courses in the nation. Over the past year alone, there have been a million and a half dollars put into improvements. It is an expansive course with elevation changes, highly rated course play, massive wetlands, rolling hills, and water features. Renovations and improvements won’t stop there, Teresa mentioned that they have big plans for the future. “Golf brings people together,” she explained. That’s why it’s important for the Grande Estates to have a place where residents can gather and further enjoy their community. One of the existing perks of living in this community is discounted golf for residents.

Photo by: WindowStill Photography

Even with the golfers that regularly play the course and residents who live in the community, those that live or even visit the Grande Estates routinely see wildlife, including deer, otters, sandhill cranes, blue heron, and ducks. This serene course and community is secluded enough to let wildlife roam, and the trees and wetlands that surround the course feed into the wildlife they regularly see. Houses at the Grande Estates aren’t side by side, so they allow for space for wildlife to roam and privacy for its residents.

Teresa expanded on being a builder for the Grande Estates and Golf Club. She mentioned that builders have pride and attachment to what they build, and seeing visitors being in awe of what they’ve built is such a rewarding feeling. Walking into a home she’s built and worked on from start to finish, from framing to interior design, it’s hard to believe one person can create something so beautiful in such a short amount of time. It only takes about four to six months from the initial point of contract to being able to move in, based on what’s currently being built. Another piece of that is being able to purchase a lot and start a new build within a year, and clients can even bring in their own builder if they prefer.

Photo by: WindowStill Photography

Judging by the look of the existing homes at the Grande Estates, you won’t have to look far with Teresa already on the project. Shannon explained that she’s never worked with someone with the same amount of drive and passion that Teresa pours into her projects. She continued that she is constantly being inspired by Teresa, being as strong as she is in this industry. Being a female builder for as long as she has and building something so incredible has been she’s always admired. Right when they met, Shannon continued, it was as if they were in sync.

Homes at the Grande Estates start in the upper $300 thousands and go up from there and are typically sold at $480,000-$550,000. Phase one is currently being developed, with some beautiful lots still remaining. Teresa and Shannon are inviting all prospective residents to come take a look and reserve one of their own. You can contact the Grande Estates by phone, (517)921-5290, or on their website. You can also follow the Grande Estates on Facebook and Instagram, where they’re continuously posting updates on showings, models, and more.

Focus On Your Bigger Picture with T. Smith Business Consulting

It’s no secret that Jackson has seen a surge in startup and entrepreneurial culture in recent years. This new wave comes with opportunities for people who never thought they could achieve their small business dreams. It’s overwhelming to be a business owner of any kind, that’s why T. Smith Business Consulting is here, to save you time so you can focus on your bigger picture.

T. Smith Business Consulting, run by Toneka Smith, is a consulting company tailored to small business owners. Toneka supports small business owners by helping them grow, providing structure, and essentially getting their business off the ground.

Toneka has always had a passion for helping others and subsequently decided to go back to school. While studying at Jackson College, Toneka took on an internship at the Launch Pad as a business coach, helping start small businesses. With the Launch Pad being based on helping minorities, Toneka fell in love with the process of hearing other entrepreneurs’ stories and how they don’t have the resources to turn their idea into a business. Business coaching was something that was completely new to Toneka, something she had never seen before. Upon graduating, she realized she wanted to take on business coaching herself.

T. Smith Business Consulting offers social media management, social media planning, business consulting, event promotions, project management, as well as the “Build a Business” plan. These services, according to Toneka, are something all small business owners should take advantage of and are unique to helping clients build a business. Toneka has seen that social media has been the most popular service the local business owners. She also works with clients to add on services as they go, to create a plan that best suits their business; she’s done her research and has come up with strategic business plans for each service to work for each individual client.

In Jackson, it’s rare to find a business consultant who offers social media management, where you sit down one on one with a business consultant to go over trending hashtags and designing content. T. Smith Business Consultant offers just that. Toneka wanted to be her own kind of unique; other consulting firms can offer a business plan, but a lot of it is based on a much bigger scale. She offers more of a personal service that tailors exactly to what the client’s business is.

Toneka firmly believes every small business owner has a need for a consultant. From project management to event promotion, T. Smith Business Consultant can handle it all. She explains that it’s easy to hire a big event planner, but they can’t offer the same opinion as someone who is looking through the eyes of a small business owner. There are plenty of benefits to hiring an independent consultant, vs. the big-name company that doesn’t know your business through and through.

Toneka credits her early success to a few things. First, rather than sitting behind a desk, Toneka is constantly bettering her business by being involved in local nonprofits and participating in Chamber events. Second, Toneka is a very active patron of Lean Rocket Lab, which she excitedly shared was a huge resource to her when it came to starting her business. It’s become a home away from home and the perfect place to meet great, entrepreneurial minds alike. A piece of advice Toneka shared was that her favorite Chamber event is Live at the Lab because it’s the perfect setting for members and nonmembers to introduce themselves in a laid-back setting.

Photo Credit: Loveland Farms Photography

Finally, working with her business mentor, another Chamber member, Felicia Carter from Shortie’s Sweets, Eats, & Treats, who she met through the Launch Pad. She explained that it’s great to have someone similar to her who she can bounce ideas off and brainstorm with. Having a mentor like Felicia has been great for someone who is an independent business owner, like Toneka.

Toneka primarily works through her Facebook page for bookings. She also is available by email at tsmithbusinessconsultingllc@gmail.com and by phone at (734)210-0218. She prides herself on her quick response time; she’ll even answer a quick Facebook message, as she likes to make each experience with clients and potential clients personal. Toneka is local to Jackson, the best networker your business will find, and ready to work with you.

T. Smith Business Consultant’s Chamber membership is made possible by the help of Monster Motors. Monster Motors has said time and time again that they see so much value in being able to work one on one and support the small business owners in the community.

County National Bank is More Than a Bank

A bank is something every person is familiar with. You stop by the ATM on your way home from work. You call them when there’s a problem with your card. You set up a savings account for your future. County National Bank (CNB) does so much more than a traditional banking institution. Celebrating its 88th birthday, CNB proudly serves small businesses and corporate offices alike. Headquartered in Hillsdale, CNB has opened twelve branches over the past 88 years and plans to open their thirteenth on Spring Arbor Road very soon.

Melissa Stroede has been with CNB since 2002. She is the definition of “moving up the ladder.” Starting out as a teller in college, Melissa is now the VP of Treasury Management and has 20 years of banking experience. This department is newer, starting in 2017, and covers all business banking needs; from business online banking to fraud prevention, Treasury Management can be beneficial to your local mom and pop to a worldwide corporation.

CNB sets itself apart from your big-name commercial banks. The difference between CNB’s philosophy and that of commercial banking is not only on the deposit side but also the lending side. Melissa explained, “We strive to make sure that business wants for nothing when it comes to a banking relationship.” With that, CNB is able to cover commercial loans and deposits, talk to owners about their investments, and even help with 401Ks and retirement plans. Melissa further said that it’s more than just an account number with CNB, they’ll offer anything a business owner needs guidance with financially.

Banking locally, especially for businesses, has countless benefits. CNB has seen tremendous growth in Jackson’s market, and still has flexibility when it comes to loan approval because of community bank philosophy. They’re able to consider the individual business and work to make a financing plan that suits their needs. Whether you’re a small business ready to expand or a large corporation needing increased line of credit, CNB works to accommodate the individual business.

For a small business, there’s a lot of value in banking with a local institution, simply based on the fact that they know your area and can offer local decision making. They have the ability to think outside the box, rather than just go through the motions of creating an account for you. Melissa shared that being able to see a small business grow firsthand is the most fulfilling thing for CNB to see. Utilizing CNB and having someone on your team that’s also local can be a huge benefit because they live and work here too. If you have a small business, CNB has a huge portfolio of loan types they can help with. There’s rarely something they can’t do, no matter the size.

On the deposit side, CNB also works differently than your typical commercial bank. Commercial banks often charge clients a fee per transaction. CNB has a hard monthly charge that is a fraction of what other commercial banks charge for services. They’ve found ways to build a better, stronger business, without charging additional fees to your local shops, restaurants, and businesses. Therefore, businesses’ relationship with CNB can be focused on strictly helping their business, rather than sweating over the small fees.

CNB also assists with wealth management. For a long time, CNB has had a wealth management department, which specializes in business banking. CNB has a great team of financial advisors local to Jackson, and just like they personalize banking, they give that extra, personalized effort to manage the wealth of their clients. To have one business owner have one holistic relationship with one bank can be huge, and there’s not a lot that CNB can’t handle when it comes to business owners big and small managing their finances.

Aside from being different than commercial banks, CNB is so much more than a place to deposit a check. Melissa took the time to explain CNB’s deep commitment to the Jackson community. All employees serve on boards, volunteer for local nonprofits, and more. Their work culture is based highly on community involvement. Their involvement translates to the events they sponsor; they choose sponsorships very specific to community needs. For example, CNB is the presenting sponsor of the Art, Beer, and Wine Festival, because they find huge value in helping sustain the Ella Sharp Museum. It gives them the opportunity to be really involved in big, local events.

“What’s cool,” Melissa continues, “is hearing CNB mentioned on JTV or the radio.” Everything they do is local, so it’s easy to be involved on a local board. People who work at CNB are local and are involved in the community organizations and are visible to those in the community. Visibility is what sets them apart, and it’s something they pride themselves on. Melissa shared that John Waldren, President of CNB, doesn’t want to see the employees in their offices. He expects them to be out, involved in the community.

When asked “What one thing you want the people of Jackson to know?” Melissa said “We were there during the pandemic. Flexible and quick with implementing loans, and I firmly believe that we saved some small businesses.” Melissa then went on to say that CNB doesn’t do what they do for accolades, they do it because they care. From commercial business owners to small businesses downtown, County National Bank is highly committed to Jackson and the people and businesses who call this home.

The Chamber and Experience Jackson: How Are They Different?

Have you ever stopped by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, or maybe Experience Jackson? If you have, you ended up in the same office. What comes as a surprise to most, however, is that the Chamber and Experience Jackson are two completely separate entities. This can be confusing, given that some of the team members overlap and each organization collaborates on some of the same projects. However, even with their similarities and overlap, the Chamber and Experience Jackson offer two entirely different purposes to Jackson.

Rachel Buchanan, Marketing & Development Director of Experience Jackson, described the two the following way: The Chamber is here to equip and grow your business and grow your professional connections. Experience Jackson is meant to attract people to those businesses.

The Chamber puts on events meant for networking and growing your business. It also provides business resources, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, legislatives support, and leadership development to its members. The Chamber is member-based, whereas Experience Jackson focuses more on the promotion of all local attractions.

Experience Jackson draws people to the community by promoting what Jackson County has to offer. They do so by sponsoring events or highlighting local restaurants and attractions to those that may not be familiar with the area.

Experience Jackson enjoys taking a hands-on approach when sponsoring and promoting local events, rather than just being a recognizable brand. Playing a role in the growth of Jackson is a large part of their mission, and they love seeing just how many visitors come to explore events like Bright Walls, Museum Day, Gus Macker Tournament, downtown events, and many more. The organization develops deep relationships with tourism locations and offers support where needed, to make sure new faces and returning visitors have plenty of reasons to return.

Photo Courtesy of JTV

Outside of event promotion, Experience Jackson also works closely with the local hotels and can set visitors up with hotel blocks, private meeting spaces, or recommend beautiful local venues to host your next event. Experience Jackson also offers golf packages to help bring visitors from all across the Midwest to Jackson’s award-winning courses. Golf is just one thing Experience Jackson focuses on throughout the year, they also push campaigns for fishing, hiking, festivals, food and beverage, and more. Maybe you’re simply wondering how you can fill your weekend plans? Experience Jackson sends out monthly newsletters and weekly updates about local events and happenings. Sign up here.

Experience Jackson specializes in staying involved with the community by investing in the Chamber. Since the Chamber is naturally recognized as a huge professional asset to the community, Experience Jackson takes advantage of its partnership by taking the opportunity to network with other members at Chamber events. By doing so, this opens the door to new partnerships and chances to continue to help bring people to those local businesses.

A must-visit destination is made by having healthy businesses. Therefore, Experience Jackson plays a role in helping those businesses thrive and keep the community vibrant by continuing to highlight them on their social media pages, blog, in publications, and their website. Say you have a friend from out of the area staying for the weekend and you want to plan a visit full of local eats, one-of-a-kind entertainment, and unique nightlife, look no further than ExperienceJackson.com.

Photo Courtesy of JTV

There are plenty of ways that Experience Jackson makes the most of their Chamber membership. Experience Jackson loves being a part of is the MLK Diversity Celebration. Not only did Experience Jackson help sponsor, but the team also helped promote professionally and did some assisting behind the scenes. Experience Jackson is also excited to be the presenting sponsor of Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement, put on by the Chamber. If you kept tabs on Community Awards Week, you may have noticed that the Omotenashi Award was also sponsored by Experience Jackson.

Experience Jackson has a Community Champion-Level Membership, which means that they proudly sponsor a few Chamber memberships as well and bring that opportunity to a business that may be just getting started or needs some financial assistance to get their foot in the door and their name out into the community.

The Chamber is proud to have an organization dedicated to the growth of Jackson’s tourism, and to have it “in-house” at the Chamber makes the team feel especially lucky. To learn more about what Experience Jackson does for the community, click here.

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Contact

134 W Michigan Ave.
Jackson, MI 49201
517.782.8221

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